Few people realise that an important government consultation is taking place, with only until today (Jan 31) to respond.

As someone with years of work in the legal system, I feel obliged to speak out.

Our legal tradition is one of fair trial by one's peers. Innocence is presumed in the absence of evidence of guilt.

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Far from being 'modernisation', some of the proposals in the Auld Report would take us back to the Dark Ages.

Most sinister of all are moves towards allowing convictions based not on evidence but on 'hearsay'.

It is doubly worrying in regard of proposals towards centralised trials by professional judges (as in continental systems) at the expense of trial by juries and lay magistrates, who are ordinary people.

Through agreeing the European Arrest Warrant, the government has already jettisoned the protection of our legal system by permitting holiday-makers to be dragged abroad without any evidence.

Like the plane-spotters, they stand to be detained for long periods before being tried for relatively minor crimes.

Readers should write, opposing these measures, to: Criminal Courts Review, Lord Chancellor's Department, Selbourne House, Victoria Street, London, SW1A 6QW.

For a fuller summary, please send me a SAE to the address below.

Anne Palmer

C/O New Alliance

PO Box 13199

London

SW6 6ZU