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Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted!

The Law, in England and Wales, like almost every other aspect of Society is full of ‘Americanisms’ – that is Brits who prefer to walk on the ‘sidewalk’ rather than the ‘pavement’!  There are, however, a whole host of American Legalisms, which don’t actually make any sense in English Law! Take for example the expression ‘Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted!’ This would be true if trespass was a criminal offence in England and Wales. It generally isn’t unless you happen to unlawfully enter a civil nuclear installation or places where Royals or senior politicians live! The list is a really short one. A sign, on private land, which declares ‘no trespass’ is more or less, simply a polite request.

The expression to ‘press charges’ falls to a similar analysis. Private individuals cannot press criminal charges in England and Wales. Only the State can do that. Therefore, a declaration that a private individual ‘has no intention to press charges’, is pretty much a statement of the obvious, as he or she has no ability to do so anyway!

The real problem is that what we see on the ‘silver screen’ lulls us into an animated state of false reality. This is exemplified by the fact that if matters do get prosecuted by the State, in England and Wales, witnesses are required to ‘go into the witness box’ not ‘take the stand’, and also custodial sentences take place in ‘prisons’ not ‘goals’! If anyone remembers seeing a Judge bang a gavel just before the hapless prisoner is escorted away, they’d probably been watching a film!

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