The State’s Attempt to Prevent the Accused Explaining Why They Have Taken Direct Action Demonstrates the Ethical & Moral Hole at the Heart of Britain’s Judiciary
The Jury has just sent a note to the judge indicating they are deadlocked. It is not known what the numbers are. The Judge has indicated that he will give a majority verdict direction tomorrow, where a 10-2 majority is required. It is likely that the verdicts will be tomorrow (Tuesday)
Where is my daddy asks a child in Gaza after her father is killed
Finally, after 8 weeks, the jury in our trial was sent out at the end of Wednesday to reach a verdict on the 5 defendants. The charge against us is Section 3 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971 which states that:
A person who has anything in his custody or under his control intending without lawful excuse to use it or cause or permit another to use it—
(a) to destroy or damage any property belonging to some other person;
is guilty. You might be forgiven for thinking that a defence of preventing the commission of war crimes under the International Criminal Court Act 2001 would be well founded. Sections 51 and 52 of this Act state that:
51 Genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes
(1) It is an offence against the law of England and Wales for a person to commit genocide, a crime against humanity or a war crime.
(2) This section applies to acts committed—
(a) in England or Wales, or
(b) outside the United Kingdom by a United Kingdom national, a United Kingdom resident or a person subject to UK service jurisdiction.
52 Conduct ancillary to genocide, etc. committed outside jurisdiction
(1) It is an offence against the law of England and Wales for a person to engage in conduct ancillary to an act to which this section applies.
(2) This section applies to an act that if committed in England or Wales would constitute—
(a) an offence under section 51 (genocide, crime against humanity or war crime), or
(b) an offence under this section,
but which, being committed (or intended to be committed) outside England and Wales, does not constitute such an offence.
(3) The reference in subsection (1) to conduct ancillary to such an act is to conduct that would constitute an ancillary offence in relation to that act if the act were committed in England or Wales.
(4) This section applies where the conduct in question consists of or includes an act committed—
(a) in England or Wales, or
(b) outside the United Kingdom by a United Kingdom national, a United Kingdom resident or a person subject to UK service jurisdiction.
In other words it is an offence, not only to commit genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in the UK but it is an offence to be an ancillary to such crimes. Further that committing or being ancillary to such crimes outside the UK is to be taken as being committed in the UK by a UK national or resident.
Boris Johnson lying about parties in Downing Street
The Rule of Law
Britain is, in theory governed by the Rule of Law but it is clear that this is, in reality a legal fiction which acts to disguise who it is that holds power.
In recent years this concept has become more threadbare and honoured in the breach. It was particularly marked under Boris Johnson, who as Prime Minister openly flouted and disregarded the very COVID lockdown laws that he had laid such emphasis on. He is alleged to have attended at least 10 parties but the Metropolitan Police, who had initially refused to investigate any breach by Johnson of the COVID regulations, only investigated half of them and only sent Johnson a questionnaire related to one of them.
The pathetic excuse of the Met was that it did not normally investigate breaches of coronavirus regulations “long after they are said to have taken place”. The Met presumably only investigates crime before the are committed! Which is probably why they arrested protesters against the Coronation before they even got to the demonstrations! It was only after the Public Law Project threatened to judicially review the Met’s refusal to investigate Johnson that they reversed their decision.
Nor was this the only instance of the Met turning a blind eye to Johnson and his cronies breaking the law. Johnson, when Mayor of London, secured for his mistress, Jennifer Arcuri, a £100,000 grant from the Greater London Authority for her business, Hacker’s House, which was based in California not London, whilst failing to declare an interest. Unsurprisingly the Met has not investigated this fraud on public funds and Whitehall’s internal audit agency conducted a whitewash inquiry.
The massive fraud, estimated at £16 billion, in COVID grants to cronies and friends of the Government is well documented. The government’s use of a “VIP lane” to award contracts for personal protective equipment (PPE) to cronies and friends was ruled unlawful by the High Court. Yet despite this there have been no consequences for the fraudsters.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock secured a £30 million deal to supply test tubes for COVID tests for his friend and local pub landlord Alex Bourne’s company Hinpack Limited. The company had no experience of supplying medical equipment but who cares? Certainly not the Metropolitan or other police forces.
Tory peer, Lady Michelle Mone and her husband, Douglas Barrowman, were beneficiaries of the fraudulent VIP lane. Mone, Barrowman and their company, PPE Medpro and three other intermediary companies made in excess of £100m in profits from government contracts worth £203m. Little or nothing appears to have been done to prosecute Mone and Barrowman. Her company PPE Medpro stated that its principal business activity was international trading in coffee, consumables, edible nuts and fruits. In other words nothing to do with the supply of PPE. Suffice to say what they did supply proved useless.
It seems that powerful politicians and those in government effectively have immunity from criminal prosecution whereas those who threaten Israeli arms company with ‘criminal damage’ feel the full force of the law. Are these decisions political? According to judges like Ian Burnett and Michael Chambers the answer is no but to most people the answer is obvious. There is one law for the rich and one for the poor.
In the United Kingdom, the rule of law, has been closely associated with Tory constitutionalist A.V. Dicey and his book Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution. According to Dicey, along with the concept of Parliamentary Sovereignty, the rule of law is one of the twin pillars of the British Constitution.
There were 3 aspects of the rule of law that Dicey highlighted. The first was that no man is punishable or can be lawfully be made to suffer or be deprived of their goods unless they have violated the law. There is also an absolute supremacy or predominance of regular law over arbitrary power and the state cannot act in an arbitrary manner which is unlawful.
Again all of these have been honoured in the breach by the current government with the connivance of both the Police and the Judiciary.
The second aspect of Dicey’s concept of the rule of law was equality before the law. Noone is above the law. Theoretically whatever an individual’s rank s/he is subject to the ordinary law of the land. In theory if someone breaches the same law, they would be treated in the same way. State officials were not to be given any special privileges or protections from the law. “Be you ever so high, the law is above you.”
The third aspect denotes that the principles of the constitution are the result of the ordinary law of the land. Dicey stated that Britain had a court-based constitution (in effect, a common law constitution), in the sense that decisions made by the judges directly resulted in the principles of the constitution concerning the rights of private persons. Yet all of these fine principles have never been observed.
In theory the selling of honours is a criminal offence under the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925. The only problem is that no one has ever been prosecuted under it because those who have breached it have been Prime Ministers and powerful officials. We had the Cash for Honours scandal under Tony Blair, when those who loaned large sums to New Labour were given seats in the House of Lords. Blair was interviewed by the Met but not under caution.
There has been a similar cash for honours scandal under Boris Johnson but again the Met has done nothing because attacking direct action activists rather than ruling class crooks is their priority.
Dicey’s concept of the Rule of Law was updated by Thomas Bingham, a former Lord Chief Justice and Senior Law Lord, who was described as “the most significant judicial figure … in the history of the Anglo-Saxon legal systems.”.
Bingham formulated Eight Principles of the Rules of Law. The third rule being that ‘The laws of the land should apply equally to all, save to the extent that objective differences justify differentiation.’ As the above clearly demonstrates, defrauding the public exchequer of billions of pounds is ignored when it concerns friends and cronies of government cabinet ministers whereas someone who shoplifts to feed their kids in the local Tesco faces going to gaol and a lecture by judges such as Michael Chambers.
The eighth rule of Bingham was that ‘The rule of law requires compliance by the state with its obligations in international law as in national law. Given the absence of any such compliance or enforcement by the British state, human rights and political activists have filled the gap. But to British judges such as Lord Hoffman, a former law lord, this has been called by ‘taking the law into one’s own hands’. Hoffman raised the spectre of ‘anarchy’ on the streets. But when the law is selectively applied what else can people do but apply it themselves?
For reasons of political and legal expediency, the current Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett and legal apparatchiks like our very own Judge Chambers have sought to ensure that this obligation by the British State is rendered null and void. In the process they have erased the phrase ‘without lawful excuse’ from the Criminal Damage Act 1971.
You might therefore believe, if the rule of law meant anything that the Police would have investigated Elbit concerning the use of their drones in respect of war crimes in Gaza, Kashmir and Burma among other places. Instead they have turned a blind eye.
However you would be failing to account for the ingenuity of the British ‘Justice’ System and in particular the evil genius of Ian Burnett. Burnett presided over the trial of Julian Assange whose ‘crime’ was disclosing US war crimes in Iraq. He revealed how US pilots had deliberately murdered innocent civilians, including two Reuters journalists, mowing them down with machine gun fire from a helicopter.
You have to hand it to Burnett. It takes a certain genius whereby those who reveal the secrets of war crimes are imprisoned at the behest of the war criminals. The Nuremberg Trials of 1946 in respect of the Nazi war criminals have been turned on their head. If Nazi Germany had won the war then the Nazi equivalents of Burnett would have prosecuted those who revealed the secrets of Auschwitz. After all, under Nazi law, Auschwitz and the extermination camps were also state secrets.
This is the irony of the decision of the Court of Appeal in the Colston case which was referred to it. The British Establishment – from Cruella Braverman to Keir ‘liar’ Starmer – was outraged that those who toppled the statue of a mass murderer and slave trader, Edward Colston, from his plinth and which was thrown into Bristol harbor were acquitted.
Julian Assange has been living in Belmarsh, Britain’s equivalent of Guantanamo, whilst the war criminals he exposed are free to commit further crimes. Such is British and US justice.
In the past week a new case came on for trial at Wolverhampton. Four more people were charged with criminal damage at Elbit’s Shenstone factory. Judge Chambers, the Tory judge presiding over our trial, has stated that he intends to try this case. He is determined to ensure that the trial doesn’t go on for another 8 weeks and has already said he will guillotine cross-examination.
Chambers did his best to put pressure on all 4 defendants to plead guilty making it clear that they had no defences, since he had already ruled out ‘lawful excuse’ in our trial. He told the defendants that as the offences they are charged with crossed the ‘custody threshold’ their interests would be best served by getting credit for pleading guilty!
Nonetheless all four resisted this pressure and pleaded not guilty to the annoyance of Chambers and the trial is set down for February 2024. Our task in the meantime is to ensure that there is a strong and determined campaign which will thwart the efforts of the police and judiciary to outlaw effective protests and keep juries in the dark.
At the same time as the jury in our case was deliberating, Israel was bombing Gaza again. In order to take out three leaders of Islamic Jihad Israel murdered 10 civilians, including 4 children. This is a war crime but British judges are like the 3 wise monkeys – they neither hear, see or say anything about this because it is ‘political’ and we are mere criminals.
Exactly the same was said about all mass movements for democracy in the past, whether it was the Chartists, the Suffragettes or before them Oliver Cromwell and the Roundheads who defied the existing constitution and its judges to assert the supremacy of parliament. As the Prosecutor told the jury in the trial of Emmeline Pankhurst in 1912:
Suffrage is not the issue, it is the criminal behaviour of the suffragettes and their incitement to partake in militant activity at which 54 windows were broken
Ian Burnett and Michael Chambers are nothing if not unoriginal.
As Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, writes in his current blog Protest Is a Moral Duty. Just as the Police are doing their best to prevent any and all rights of protest – from the Coronation to Palestine – so the Judges are doing their best to criminalise and lock away demonstrators. Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights guaranteeing a fair trial has gone out of the window.
Of course when this happens in Hong Kong then the BBC and the Tory press wax lyrical about freedom of speech and democracy but when it happens in Britain these same hypocrites fall silent.
3 Protesters Who Informed Juries of Their Rights are Accused of Perverting the of justice
Trudy Warner, who held a placard telling jurors that they had an absolute right to acquit a Defendant according to their conscience, has been reported to the Attorney General for possible prosecution for perverting the course of justice. Perverting the Course of Justice now means informing juries of their rights.
Ironically, on the very walls of the Old Bailey, there is a plaque celebrating the case of Edward Bushell, when a Judge imprisoned a jury for 2 days and nights without food, water or chamber pot for refusing to find the Defendants William Penn and William Mead guilty according to the law. The hypocrisy of British Judges knows no bounds.
The British Establishment and their judicial wing realise that the weak link in the persecution of climate, Palestine and other direct action activists is the Jury, the only independent element in the British constitution.
That is why, despite the fact that juries have an absolute right to disregard the directions and advice of judges, they have decided that the mere act of informing jurors of their right to decide cases according to their conscience is ‘perverting the course of justice’ whereas in reality it is those who seek to keep jurors in the dark as to their rights who are guilty of this offence. But then, as the old saying goes, who judges the judges, unelected and unaccountable as they are. What they object to is what they call ‘perverse verdicts’.
gives protection against laws which the ordinary man regards as harsh and oppressive . . . an insurance that the criminal law will conform to the ordinary man’s ideas of what is fair and just. If it does not, the jury will not be a party to its enforcement.”
A jury may refuse to convict in spite of the law and the evidence because it concludes that the law is an unjust law. The jury passes its verdict on the law. Secondly, it ensures that the prosecution and the judge are on trial.
These trials [Ponting and Leonard Arthur] all took place in the full glare of publicity. Here we see a specific application of the principle of open justice: the public can attend court and scrutinise what is going on. They can see the jury make its protest as to what they see as an unjust law or unjust application of the law. There is a check against arbitrary or oppressive conduct by the court…. We see as Professor [Michael] Zander has properly pointed out the jury can set aside ‘unjust laws, oppressive prosecutions and harsh sentences.’
This is on the official site of the British Judiciary but nonetheless it is forbidden to mention these issues to a jury! And if you try to inform them you will be arrested and charged with perverting the course of justice.
Defences of proportionality under the Human Rights Act, Justification and Necessity, as well as acting to prevent war crimes, have all been ruled out by the Court of Appeal in its efforts to defend the arms industry and Elbit in particular.
We had the absurdity in our trial of the Prosecutor and Judge Chambers (who worked together in unison) arguing that it was necessary to prove that a particular engine had powered a particular drone which had killed a specific individual for the defence of necessity to be made out.
It’s like suggesting that in order to find IG Farben guilty of crimes against humanity for producing Zyklon B that murdered millions of people in Nazi Germany’s extermination camps, one had to find the particular pellet that killed a particular person. When it comes to excusing war crimes our judges will go to any lengths to distort and twist the law. All in the interests of justice of course!
The torrential rain was shed from the policeman’s flat hat via its curved plastic peak, forming a curtain of water that flowed down in front of him, obscuring his face.
His name was Martin. A female colleague stood in solidarity beside him. Two other female policemen were filming with a large video camera from three metres away. Thirty yards down the road were large groups of burly policemen in fluorescent jackets, and beyond them the Tactical Support Group sat behind the dark windows of their mesh covered minibuses, fingering their shields and batons.
Facing Martin were the protestors. There were six of us, average age about 70. We were all absolutely sodden through, but still clutched umbrellas and tried to find angles from which to reduce the wind driven assault of cold water. As the rain was extremely noisy, and probably we don’t hear quite as well as we used to, we kept shuffling towards Martin and leaning forward to try to catch his words, before they were blown away or drowned.
Martin was reading the riot act. Or, to be precise, he was reading an order made under the Public Order Act 1986. With no sense that he understood the absurdity of his words, he intoned:
“I reasonably believe that this assembly has been organised with criminal intent. I reasonably believe that this assembly may result in violence to persons and to property. I reasonably believe that this assembly may cause disruption to the life of the community”.
Some of my top teeth are no longer natural and I get dizzy after climbing a flight of stairs or getting out the bath. I was cold and wet and longing for a nice hot cup of tea. I felt perhaps proud, but rather puzzled, to be taken for a serious criminal danger to the city of Leicester.
Behind Martin stood the paramilitary security guards of the Israeli weapons factory. They did not look really nice. I wondered if Martin was facing in the right direction.
I sneaked this photo of one of them from the taxi as I was leaving. Not entirely what you expect to find down a wooded lane outside Leicester.
Overhead a red police drone buzzed. What it could see, that the scores of police eyes on us could not see, remains a mystery. It was possibly on the lookout for subversive messages on the top of umbrellas.
I found the police operator round the corner who, to be fair, was probably sheltering from the downpour under a tree rather than deliberately hiding behind the hedge.
The factory makes, among other things, components for the kind of drones that kill women and children in Gaza on a regular basis.
This is one of the ‘terrorists’ Liane Mdoukh killed by an Israeli missile in Gaza – no Western state has condemned these killings but if it were Russia….
I would like you to meet Liane. One of the Palestinian children killed this week in Gaza by weaponry of the Elbit weapons company we were picketing. Whether her death involved any components made in this precise Leicester Elbit factory I do not know. It is probable.
Look into Liane’s eyes, then tell me you do not wish you had been with me, standing in the rain.
When Martin had finished speaking I replied, rather to his, and everybody else’s, surprise. He had started moving away but returned to listen.
I said that I was not an organiser of the protest, just a supporter. But the Order he had read out did not apply. We were just six people – that is not enough people to constitute an “assembly” under Part 2 of the 1986 Public Order Act.
I then went to the police camera team and said the same thing to them. As they were filming for evidence purposes to show the Order had been made, I asked them to maintain the tape for evidence that the police had been told we were not an assembly in terms of the act.
They were really not very happy about this. You could see the cogs whirring as they wondered whether they could arrest me. I presume all these police had arrived after an operational briefing that they were dealing with violent Middle Eastern terrorists, and they were having a brief bout of cognitive dissonance.
There are of course people who resolve cognitive dissonance by an immediate resort to violence, and rather a higher proportion of such people than you might expect, find their way into the police force, so I then wandered off with some friendly remarks about the weather.
I reported yesterday on the incredibly heavy handed policing of this protest. The Chief Constable of Leicestershire, Robert Nixon, has instructed the protest must be “stamped out”, according to one police officer I spoke with.
About sixty protestors have been arrested, and some 50 released on bail on condition they leave the county of Leicestershire completely.
Some have even been arrested hundreds of miles away, for the new crime of planning to attend a demonstration.
Earlier that day I had witnessed the police harass a mother in hijab. Two male officers, not accompanied by a female officer, arriving to quiz her on why three children present at the protest were not at school.
Truancy is not in general a police matter, and if an intervention was deemed necessary it should have been carried out by a qualified local authority officer. The cultural insensitivity on display was remarkable, and it underlined the fact that every single police officer I saw over two days was white.
This picture, from a few days earlier at the same protest, illustrates it well. Leicester is a very multi-cultural city, but these are the county police.
Each time I arrived at the protest, I went walking around to count the number of police and see what they were doing. Generally I chatted with whoever was in charge, and made plain I thought they were far more heavy handed than was compatible with the right to protest.
I received a message from Palestine Action to the effect that friendly chats with the police are not really how they roll. I respect their position and its cause, but my own view is that if you treat the police officers personally as the enemy, it makes it hard to complain when they do the same to you.
On this final visit I noted, in addition to the ordinary and tactical support group minibuses; the drone squad, at least four marked police cars, the same number of unmarked cars with uniformed officers inside, and five cars parked up with occupants in civilian clothes sitting there for hours ostensibly doing nothing at all.
I called an Uber to leave. I then said my farewells, and my phone beeped saying the Uber had arrived, indicating the pick up point. I walked to the car and opened the back door – and there behind the dark windows were some burly policemen in plain clothes and a directional microphone.
The bearded driver was furious. He yelled at me “Why did you open that door?”
I replied “Well, if you will go around in disguise, people will mistake you for an Uber”.
The car doors were pulled shut again in anger and the car drove off. Three different groups of policemen approached, all yelling out “Why did you open that door?” “What were you doing with that car?”
Laughing, I replied “I am sorry, I thought it was my Uber”. Fortunately that very second my Uber pulled up next to me. I got in and left, giggling away.
The action at Elbit is continuous. I shall definitely be back at some stage. Please do get yourselves there. I regard it as a moral duty. We were just a few gentle souls in the rain, but I am proud to have been there.