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  • #91
    Another point to remember is that had the suspect been identified after being committed to an asylum, that evidence would effectively have been useless because a person "deemed insane" could not be put to trial.

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    • #92
      Hi John

      Regardless of what order the identification and the asylum committal came in, wouldn't it have been worthwhile taking Kosminski into a court, in order to ensure that he went to Broadmoor rather than Colney Hatch? It wouldn't have been necessary to put Kosminski on trial - Thomas Cutbush was found unfit to plead, but was still sent to Broadmoor rather than Colney Hatch.

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      • #93
        That's an interesting thought Robert. What was the actual verdict with Cutbush? Since Broadmoor was for criminal lunatics, was he found "guilty, but insane" or something like that? I think, in the case of Cutbush, the evidence was compelling, whereas without testimony from an eyewitness, bringing Kosminski before a court would have risked an acquittal. In that case the suspect might have escaped incarceration altogether. That's just one thing that comes to mind. Does that make sense? Clearly, without that supposed eyewitness testimony, the police didn't think they had enough to charge Kosminski, and even watching him "by day and night" (assuming it was Kosminski they were watching), they risked letting someone they believed to be a murderer kill again. I'm afraid I'll never be able to come up with a clear enough picture of this suspect and the events surrounding him to satisfy even my own "biased" beliefs. Won't stop me from trying though!

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        • #94
          Hi John

          That might be it, yes : if he wasn't showing clear enough signs of lunacy to be incarcerated, and he couldn't be charged without the eyewitness testimony, the police were snookered.

          In Cutbush's case, the jury found him unfit to plead :

          http://www.casebook.org/press_report.../18910415.html

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          • #95
            Thinking back though, what I was trying to say was that if the witness had agreed to testify, they could either have brought the suspect to trial, or have had him sent to Broadmoor.

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            • #96
              Why would the witness identify the suspect but then refuse to testify against him? Ostensibly because the suspect was a fellow Jew, but in that case, why identify him in the first place?

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              • #97
                The story is that the witness initially identified the suspect as the man he had seen, but on learning that the suspect was Jewish like himself, the witness backpedalled.

                This would imply that the suspect didn't look stereotypically Jewish, nor was he known to the witness socially.

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                • #98
                  Originally posted by John Malcolm View Post
                  That's an interesting thought Robert. What was the actual verdict with Cutbush? Since Broadmoor was for criminal lunatics, was he found "guilty, but insane" or something like that? I think, in the case of Cutbush, the evidence was compelling, whereas without testimony from an eyewitness, bringing Kosminski before a court would have risked an acquittal. In that case the suspect might have escaped incarceration altogether. That's just one thing that comes to mind. Does that make sense? Clearly, without that supposed eyewitness testimony, the police didn't think they had enough to charge Kosminski, and even watching him "by day and night" (assuming it was Kosminski they were watching), they risked letting someone they believed to be a murderer kill again. I'm afraid I'll never be able to come up with a clear enough picture of this suspect and the events surrounding him to satisfy even my own "biased" beliefs. Won't stop me from trying though!
                  When we try to make sense of 1888 we do it for our own understanding in 2017 at the risk of speculating.

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                  • #99
                    Originally posted by John Malcolm View Post
                    That's an interesting thought Robert. What was the actual verdict with Cutbush? Since Broadmoor was for criminal lunatics, was he found "guilty, but insane" or something like that? I think, in the case of Cutbush, the evidence was compelling, whereas without testimony from an eyewitness, bringing Kosminski before a court would have risked an acquittal. In that case the suspect might have escaped incarceration altogether. That's just one thing that comes to mind. Does that make sense? Clearly, without that supposed eyewitness testimony, the police didn't think they had enough to charge Kosminski, and even watching him "by day and night" (assuming it was Kosminski they were watching), they risked letting someone they believed to be a murderer kill again. I'm afraid I'll never be able to come up with a clear enough picture of this suspect and the events surrounding him to satisfy even my own "biased" beliefs. Won't stop me from trying though!
                    I think that's roughly what Anderson indicates may have happened. As I understand it, the police could have brought charges against the suspect, who would then have appeared in the magistrate's court where the evidence of the police would have been heard and where he would have been declared unfit to plead and been sent to Broadmoor. But the public would have known the police had got their man. This didn't happen because the police had to release the suspect. Anderson wrote, 'And if the Police here had powers such as the French Police possess, the murderer would have been brought to justice.' This is thought to refer to the ability of the French police to hold a suspect almost indefinitely while they built a case. The British police couldn't do that and according to Anderson the reason they had to release him was because 'the only person who had ever had a good view of the murderer unhesitatingly identified the suspect the instant he was confronted with him; but he refused to give evidence against him.' The police then had to release the suspect and before they could persuade the witness the suspect's family had him committed, an act which effectively deprived the police of having their evidence heard.

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