I wanted to post some final comments on this trial. I’ve been hearing a lot of talk in the past few days, about the “winners” and the “losers” in this case. I think that’s highly misplaced language, and mis-prioritized thinking. Yes, it can be said, in a colloquial sense, that the prosecution “won” their case; and that the defense “lost” theirs. Also true, in a not-so-behind the scenes fashion, careers have been enhanced here. Of necessity, many people became prominent in the public eye during this case, due in part to their hard work on this case. I would not think it unlikely that the increased visibility and stature that such a public profile brings, may advance the careers of more than one person involved in this case, even police investigators and members of the media. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, at all. Such players didn’t ask for this tragedy; they were injected into this for various reasons, and most did an admirable job.
But let’s be clear: There are no “winners” here. Two lives were snuffed out cruelly, with the same frigid touch that enveloped the outside of their house that cold January 2006 day. The survivors’ lives have been torn apart forever, never to be the same again. And once again, we have been shown in garish detail how unknowable the human mind (or heart) is: What it is that enables human beings, who otherwise give off not the slightest hint of mental illness or evil, to commit such acts with seemingly no remorse. It is equally horrific – and shameful – to have witnessed Neil Entwistle’s mother, Yvonne Entwistle – stand before a bank of cameras and microphones, and publicly accuse Rachel Entwistle of “murdering” her granddaughter, despite more evidence convicting her son that any prosecutor could ever dream of. How grossly egotistical, and pathetic. But we witnessed the same in the Eddie O’Brien murder case here a few years back, when that defendant ‘s father, following the guilty verdicts against his son, was literally dragged out of the courtroom by court officers, screaming that his son had been framed. “Framed”, with his own fingerprints left in blood all over the walls of the murder victim, and his DNA on the knife.
But the “next” heinous case will soon be here, too soon for most of us. And when that happens, whoever is accused of that crime should receive the strongest defense possible, as did Neil Entwistle here. That is our judicial system. It is the best we have. And for those who argue otherwise, they should ponder these questions first: Would you want anything less for yourself? Would you rather have a system where you are presumed guilty until proven innocent? If you couldn’t afford a high-priced lawyer, would you rather be told, “tough luck”?
Neil Entwistle had the benefit of that system, and he will now be punished for life, never again to walk a free man. No, there are no “winners” and “losers” here – only the lost and the dead. But one thing that must never be lost, is the system of justice that we saw work so well in this sad, memorable case.