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Legal absurdities - a "modest" proposal

The Lord Judge said: “In this country trial by jury is a hallowed principle of the administration of criminal justice. It is properly identified as a right, available to be exercised by a defendant unless and until the right is amended or circumscribed by express legislation.”

He is wrong. The right to trial by jury is always our right and cannot be amended by statute legislation no matter what lawyers, judges or politicians say.

Jury nobbling

The Lord Judge is exasperated because accusations of "jury nobbling" have caused the case against four defendants to collapse, and the whole business has proved to be what anything legal is - an extremely expensive business. That, and the apparent inability of the police to stop jury nobbling in this case, is why the lord judge is eager to dispense with trial by jury for the four defendants and put his shoe in his mouth.

So, because the law in Britain has grown ridiculously expensive and the police have grown ineffective, we are to dispense with our rights?

The baby goes out with the bathwater

Sure, wrote Barry in the comments to the Times report. The right to a jury trial is just "a vestige from Feudal times".

Families whose children have been taken away from them by a judge in family court without any benefit of jury will no doubt agree.

So will those who established the jury trial as a shield against state power, and gave jurors the duty to be judges of law as well as fact and to refuse to convict a person if they believed the law under which he was charged was unconstitutional or unjust.

Our "modest" proposal

We sympathize with the judge who hopes this case will be resolved before those alleged to have stolen £1.75 million at Heathrow - John Twomey, 61, Peter Blake, 56, Barry Hibberd, 41, and Glen Cameron, 49 - line up for their pensions.

But that is no reason to undermine our fundamental right to trial by jury.

Still, perhaps there is something to be said for this idea - if jury nobbling can be absolutely proved, the court might well move that the defendants had admitted their guilt and send them to their comfortable, internet-connected cells forthwith.

Thanks to An Englishman's Castle for the Times link.

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