DO THE ENDS EVER JUSTIFY THE MEANS ?.......( Article by Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi )
The answer has to be an emphatic " NO ".
Take for instance the criminal justice system. Should a man who is clearly guilty of a crime walk free because the trial itself was flawed in some way ? The answer here has to be an emphatic "YES ". For what matters most is the reliability and integrity of the criminal justice system , which must be preserved at all costs. Trials need to be fundamentally fair and impartial, such that an innocent person can have complete faith in the fact that his/her innocence will be surely established, and that a " not guilty " verdict will be the obvious and inevitable outcome. The price of bending over backwards to ensure innocent people walking free is , I'm afraid , the outrage of seeing rogues and villains also escaping punitive consequences.
Any verdict or sentence which has been brought about by a perverse trial has no legal validity whatsoever. Judges must be seen to be completely impartial , juries unbiased and untainted by bribes or threats. The evidence presented by the police must never be fabricated , false or doctored in some way. Defence evidence should never be suppressed or ignored. Witnesses should never be tricked or confused by sharp silver-tongued lawyers. Justice is best served by fairness , objectivity , impartiality and honesty.
So what of bridge clubs and disciplinary hearings , which are so often conduced as quasi-criminal trials ? Should the same criteria apply ? Again the answer is " YES ". If an unruly club member is guilty of say assaulting another member, following a heated argument , he/she is entitled to a fair and open hearing by an open-minded , impartial committee. However , if that hearing or disciplinary process is flawed in some way , then the validity of the decision to suspend or expel that member is clearly open to question. Any defects in that process automatically raises doubts about the fairness of that decision , and therefore the best course of action is to retract that decision straightaway.
Again it is the integrity of the process that matters , and not the fact that an unruly member is allowed back into the fold. Members must have total confidence and faith in a disciplinary procedure , which guarantees their membership cannot be terminated on just a fanciful whim , or by false or unproven evidence of a wrongdoing seized upon by a committee with personal axes to grind.
So once again I say hats off to Plymouth Bridge Club for doing the right thing.