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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Juries work

Lord Justice Moses, from reported comments, comes across as a bit of a prat. He wants to stop juries from deciding who is telling the truth and reserve this for those who can do this more efficiently, like, er, Lord Justice Moses. 

Judges have a long history of resenting the power of juries made up of perfectly ordinary and unqualified persons  to disagree with them. Judges generally live sheltered and privileged lives a million miles away from the experiences of those in the dock, those giving evidence or those in the jury box. The suggestion that he is a peer of the shell-suited tattooed prisoner in the dock before him would surely be a suggestion offensive, nay even insulting to his Lordship, but there it is. The suggestion that the police witnesses may be telling porky pies, that prosecuting counsel has rigged the evidence or that the forensics may be about as reliable as the 188 are all I'm sure ideas utterly alien to his Lordship's cognisance. That slender golden thread of justice that may be the only hope of an innocent man lies only in the ability of the jury to discern truth from lie, something that twelve may do far more accurately than the alien creature in the red dressing gown perched like a hungry vulture above them. Long may it remain so.   


Weekend Yachtsman said...

Long may it continue indeed.

Perhaps his Lordship is more concerned about the possibility of jury nullification? He is, after all, a member of the political class, and as such is well aware of the sort of thing they'd like to do to us, if not now then in due course; and the idea that a jury might refuse to convict is a worry for them, since so far they've not managed to abolish trial by jury completely.

Again, long may it flourish.

Edward Spalton said...

Of course, it is part of the EU project, Corpus Juris, to abolish juries. Every move made by government to restrict jury trial is a step towards this.

I have sat twice on Juries and think we did justice in both cases - including finding a very unsavoury looking character not guilty because the police evidence seemed distinctly dodgy.

No system is perfect, of course, but one which limits the powers of the state is likely to be preferable in the long run.

In an Irish case, the jury delivered an extremely perverse "not guilty" verdict. The judge asked the foreman
"I am not allowed to enquire into the secrets of the jury room but, in view of this remarkable verdict,could you, in just one word, give a hint of your reason?"

"Insanity, your Honour" replied the foreman.

"What, all of you?" replied his Honour.

malpas said...

his lordship mighjt havbe a point. Until a decade or so ago the jury ould be working class, worldly wise and white. You could trust their judgement.
But now look at you all. Cowed , pc and 'sensitive'.

G. Tingey said...

Not so.
The LAST thing the "establishment" wants now-adays (or even in the past 60 years) is members of the professional & educated (esp technically-educated) classes on juries.
They are MUCH too likely to spot lies told by the supposedly professional prosecution case.
{ E.G. The shameful conviction of Sally Clarke )
My late father was never called, I have never been called (I'm 67) yet someone I knew, with no better education than "O" leveks was called 3 times in 15 years.