24th January 2022

On a busy beginning to October the virtual show kicked off with a case in the headline’s midweek from Germany where the Trial of Irmgard Furchner, a 96-year-old former Nazi death camp secretary was to commence before a youth court in Hamburg, the accused failing to show up at court on the first day. The Question of Justice being served was addressed by Seamus Gunn this morning who had misgivings about the Trial proceeding in its present format. He made the point that while there were 10,000 murders at this camp, outside Gdansk, that the lady before the court, was a secretary and acting under orders at the time. It was questionable as to what knowledge she would have had of the events or what responsibility, if any, she had for them. He explained the requirements for a murder charge and the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt and that Men’s Rea and Actus Reus had to be proven against the accused. He said that up to 2011 it was virtually impossible to bring such charges before a court, the Proofs required for a Murder conviction in the federal Republic of Germany in respect of War crimes were that the specific crime had to be alleged, a specific victim had to be identified and it also had to be proven that the crime was motivated by racial hatred. He said that with the passing of time that this became virtually impossible but that after the conviction of a concentration camp guard in 2011, they had adopted a policy that persons who were accessories could be brought before the court to account. He said that he anticipated that there would be a robust Defence when this matter went to Trial. He accepted the point that time did not frustrate the investigation of a crime and the matter being brought to Trial but that it was questionable whether Justice was being served in this case when the Burden of Proof had been changed. Gregg Hughes made the comparison to Irish Courts and three Judge Courts presiding over a specific type of cases, but our contributor said that regardless, that the Burden of Proof remained the same and that it was a high threshold that had to be met. He said that there was also the very practical point that time was moving and would run out. 


The Britney Spears conservatorship was then discussed in the context of a Wardship Application in Ireland, Seamus Gunn being of the opinion that the Draconian measures and the manner in which the conservatorship was handled in the USA would not occur in this jurisdiction due to the accountability regime in place in the High Court in respect of Wardship cases. He was of the view that this matter would garner a lot more publicity and be a source of further proceedings before it ended but that finally Britney Spears was on the right road to regain her freedom.  

The Full Broadcast can be listened to below including the Q & A that followed. 

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