The latest Tory attack on justice will be against trial by jury, it seems.
The standard of criminal justice, under which anybody accused of a crime is judged by a jury composed of 12 people taken at random from among the general public, is accepted across the world as a paragon of fairness.
The result of the so-called “Colston 4” trial in Bristol has been taken as an example of that. The four defendants had admitted toppling the statue of slaver Edward Colston from its plinth during a demonstration in mid-2020 but, after hearing all the evidence, a jury of their peers acquitted them of criminal damage.
That should be the end of the matter.
But it seems the Tories didn’t like it so – as with the finding of corruption against now-former North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson – they want to change the rules. Here’s Attorney General Suella Braverman, showing that she has been promoted far beyond her abilities:
Without affecting the result of this case, as Attorney General, I am able to refer matters to the Court of Appeal so that senior judges have the opportunity to clarify the law for future cases. I am carefully considering whether to do so. 2/2
— Suella Braverman MP (@SuellaBraverman) January 7, 2022
Confusion? There was no confusion in the Colston case. We can see this clearly because Braverman could not explain the nature of the confusion she was trying to describe. Without that, her reasoning for referring the case to Appeal Court judges falls apart.
I tend to believe the following is a more accurate interpretation of Braverman’s – or at least, Tory government, reasoning:
Without affecting the result of this case, as Attorney General, I am able to refer matters to the Court of Appeal so that in future senior judges can prevent people or campaigns we don't like 'Getting away with it'. I am carefully considering whether to do so. 2/2
— EthicalRenewal (@EthicalRenewal) January 7, 2022
And Rob Baron makes a solid point, too:
You have just admitted you have no grounds for thinking there has been a mistrial, so you are indeed throwing suspicion on the judgement of an independent jury. That is precisely to attack on our trial by jury system. Your comments are scandalous and require your resignation.
— Rob Baron (@RobBaron10) January 7, 2022
Yes. With no grounds to suggest a mistrial, Braverman is attacking the judgment of an independent jury. That is not acceptable behaviour for anybody working in, or with, the justice system.
Pete Milford explains the reason:
Every day we are slipping closer to a fascist state. Tory MPs now want an end to trial by jury, in case juries arrive at the “wrong” decision. We MUST get these people out before we end up like Germany in the 1930s. Be very afraid.
— PeteMilford (@gullssinceaboy) January 6, 2022
Braverman’s announcement also attracted criticism because it highlighted Tory hypocrisy:
Just imagine if the Tories showed the same concern about the Grenfell survivors as they do with Colston's statue.
— Jon Jones (@JonJonesSnr) January 7, 2022
Braverman would be extremely ill-advised to follow through on her threat.
It would be paraded as another example of Tory corruption.
But I doubt she is intelligent enough to understand the harm she would do to her own government. I await her announcement, one way or another.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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