British Judges Keep Juries in the Dark About Their Power to Decide Cases According to their Conscience and the Reasons for Direct Action
Judge Chambers, the ‘non-political’ reactionary voice of the Wolverhampton Judiciary, was at his finest this week. At one point he reprimanded Owen Greenhill, a barrister for one of the Defendants, for referring to Elbit’s UAV Drone Factory as a Death Factory.
Prosecuting counsel, Deborah Gould, was most upset at this description. Silly man this Greenhill. Doesn’t he know that Elbit’s Shenstone factory makes candy and cuddly toys for kids before their drones bombard children in Gaza, Kashmir and Burma?
All the Common Law defences of Necessity, Justification, Human Rights and Proportionality were also ruled out. The idea that you can prevent a bigger crime, for example someone who breaks down a door to rescue someone inside a burning building, by committing a smaller crime, is not allowed. The artificial and dishonest device that British judges have employed to sustain this pretence is interesting.
The problem for the judges is that you can’t identify which engine that Shenstone manufactures goes into which drone. And then you have the problem of identifying which drone is killing which child. You see our judges want to be absolutely certain they can pinpoint the right drone and as this is not possible to ascertain, the defence cannot be employed.
The connection between the Shenstone factory and the dead child in Gaza/Kashmir/Myanamar is too ‘remote’. That is why Debbie Gould, the West Midland’s Prosecutor asked me on the witness stand why I hadn’t petitioned and written to Elbit asking them what they were producing that day on March 9 2021 when we were arrested. As if it mattered which day they manufactured their lethal output.
The irony is that a month ago 21 people were convicted at Wolverhampton Crown Court of child abuse. Yet at the same time the Crown was defending Elbit, a serial child abuse offender guilty of murdering hundreds of children.
Given that Elbit do their best to conceal the identity of many of their unsavoury customers, is it likely that they are going to hand over their production schedules and the destination of their wares to protestors? We only know they supply the Myanamar military, which even the British government has imposed an embargo on, because they showed off their nice new gun boats to all and sundry. Is it likely that they are going to come clean to demonstrators? Gould thinks so!
Sarah Everard – Murdered by the Metropolitan Police
March 9 was also, coincidentally, the date that PC Wayne Couzens was charged in relation to the murder of Sarah Everard. The attitude of the Police to violence against women, of which Couzens was only a symptom (he was repeatedly protected when accused of exposing himself and was even nicknamed by colleagues as ‘the rapist) is reflected in the eagerness of the Police to protect these factories of death.
Employing the ‘logic’ of Gould and the Court of Appeal one might assume that if protestors had occupied the German firm of IG Farben, which produced Zyklon B, the gas used to poison 3 million Jews and Gypsies in Auschwitz and other extermination camps, they would have been told by the British Judiciary that it was not enough that Zyklon B was used to murder hundreds of thousands of people, they must be able to identify which consignment of the gas had killed which Jews.
Tory Lord Chief Justice, Ian Burnett, friend of Alan Duncan who described Julian Assange as a ‘miserable worm’ – Burnett didn’t see fit to recuse himself
When it comes to hair splitting and legal gymnastics no one can outdo British judges. Soon to be retired Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett is a skilled practitioner when it comes to excusing mass murder. It was he who ordered the deportation of Julian Assange for the ‘crime’ of exposing US war crimes.
British judges have unparalleled experience in turning a blind eye to the crimes of the British Empire. ‘Remoteness’ is one of these devices. If the murder of Black and Brown people was to be excused or ignored then that was because they were too ‘remote’ from the cause of action.
The Colston Statue
After the Establishment’s rage at the acquittal by a Bristol jury of those who toppled the Colston statue, Cruella Braverman referred the decision to the Attorney General and then to the Court of Appeal. Not surprisingly the Appeal Court ruled that where there is a ‘violent’ protest then Articles 9-11 of the European Convention (freedom of conscience, opinion and assembly) are not engaged.
You have to admire the brass neck of Burnett and these apologists for murder in whigs. Any normal person, such as the Bristol jury, would have no problem in seeing that the real violence was done by those like Colston who were engaged in the slave trade. Yet to Tory supporter Burnett the only violence done was to a murderer’s statue. That Black people in Bristol were forced to look at a statue to a slave trader day in day out was of no account. After all Black people are not well heeled White people living in the suburbs.
This is because ‘violence’ is narrowly defined by the state to mean violence against property not people and because property is and always had been the main concern of the law. As Lord Denning explained in Southwark LBC v Williams in 1971
“… if hunger were once allowed to be an excuse for stealing, it would open a door through which all kinds of lawlessness and disorder would pass… if homelessness were once admitted as a defence to trespass, no one’s house could be safe. Necessity would open a door which no man could shut.”
Thus the relatively liberal decision of the Supreme Court in Ziegler which protected peaceful obstruction by asking whether the disruption caused was proportional to the defendant’s rights under Articles 10 and 11 of the ECHR, has been gutted by Burnett and his Tory fellows.
Let us imagine if someone were to place a statue of Hitler in Golders Green, where there are large numbers of Jews. According to Burnett toppling or destroying the statue would be a criminal offence. Cruella Braverman only a few weeks ago attended the Community Security Trust’s Annual Dinner where she said there was
‘a culture in the police of treating antisemitism as “racism lite” was to blame for the failure to convict thugs who bully Jews.’
If a statue of Hitler went up in Golders Green the person responsible would be prosecuted under the Public Order Act and probably incitement to commit racial hatred because Jews are the pampered pets and the alibi for British foreign policy.
But when it comes to Black people, statues such as that of Colston and Rhodes are protected in the name of ‘history’ as if Hitler too isn’t a historical figure. The only conclusion one can draw from the Court of Appeal’s decision is that racism against Black people is acceptable.
It is through decisions like this that people can understand the racist nature of the British judicial system and the British judiciary.
Anti-Semitism is prioritised as a ‘hate crime’ precisely because it is no longer a form of state racism. If anti-Semitism were to be become respectable, as it was in the 30s, then a statue of Hitler in a Jewish area would also be acceptable.
Palestine Action Trial, Wolverhampton
The fifth week of the Palestine Action trial in Wolverhampton has now ended. Judge Chambers excelled himself during legal arguments the Friday before last when he misquoted Lord Hoffman, formerly of the Supreme Court, to the effect that ‘taking the law into one’s own hands’ can only lead to anarchy. This was included in directions issued to the jury. Hoffman had stated that
A tight control of the use of force is necessary to prevent society from sliding into anarchy,…
Ordinary citizens who apprehend breaches of the law, whether affecting themselves, third parties or the community as a whole, are normally expected to call in the police and not to take the law into their own hands.
What this demonstrates is the political and historical illiteracy of the judiciary and their fear of the mob. What was Magna Carta but a rebellion of the Barons? How was Parliamentary Supremacy secured other than by Cromwell’s sacking of the Long Parliament in 1648? Trade Unionism was only established by the refusal to obey the Unlawful Oaths Act of 1797 which prevented the forming of genuine trade unions. The result of such defiance being the transportation to Australia of the Tolpuddle Martyrs.
What was Chartism and the People’s Charter of May 1838 but a direct action movement aimed at obtaining universal manhood suffrage. And we know that the Suffragettes regularly took the law into their own hands as a means of fighting for the right of women to vote.
The Chief Prosecutor of Emmeline Pankhurst in 1912 could almost have been Deborah Gould in drag. In a BBC reconstruction the Prosecutor told the jury that:
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
Today the suffragettes have statues in Parliament Square and plaques in the House of Commons yet at the time they were called vandals, terrorists and depicted as not really women. And the last great movement of direct action was the Poll Tax when millions of Britain’s defied the law that Thatcher had passed and refused to pay the tax until it was repealed.
In fact all democratic rights owe their origin to the fact that people were prepared to take the law into their own hands. Far from ushering in anarchy they led to the limited democratic rights which today are being rolled back.
It was in recognition of this fact and the refusal of juries to convict in cases where the law was either unjust or being used in an oppressive way that Baroness Heather Hallett, a member of the Court of Appeal from 2005-2019 gave the 2017 Blackstone Lecture on the Role of the Jury in which she said:
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.
We have recently had the arrest of retired social worker, Trudy Warner, for holding a placard at the jury entrance to the Inner London Crown Court on which was written ‘Jurors: You have an absolute right to acquit a defendant according to your conscience.’ Warner was referring to the ancient case of Bushell’s, which established the right of a jury to defy a judge. The judgment in Bushell’s is even on a plaque at the Old Bailey. It reads:
‘Near this site WILLIAM PENN and WILLIAM MEAD were tried in 1670 for preaching to an unlawful assembly in Grace Church Street This Tablet Commemorates The courage and endurance of the Jury Thos Vere Edward Bushell and 10 others who refused to give a verdict against them although locked up without food for two nights and were fined for their final Verdict of Not Guilty The case of these Jurymen was reviewed on a Writ of Habeus Corpus and Chief Justice Vaughan delivered the opinion of the Court which established the Right of Juries to give their Verdict according to their Convictions
Bushell’s jury was imprisoned for 2 days and night without food or water for refusing to convict William Penn and William Mead of unlawful assembly. It led to the independence of the jury and their freedom from coercion from the Judge Chambers of their day.
According to Judge Chambers, by breaking the law and sitting in a seat meant for a White person, Rosa Parks was ushering in anarchy
According to Hoffman and Chambers, the breaking of the law by Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a White man, was not justified because it could have set America on the road to anarchy. Similarly the refusal by Black people to obey the pass laws in South Africa was not justified. In condemning direct action our judges merely demonstrate that they are historically illiterate, reactionary buffoons.
In fact, far from leading to anarchy, it is when people take the law into their own hands that they can rid themselves of unjust, racist and sexist laws which perpetuate the privileges of the tiny minority which rule this country and from where British judges originate. British judges are the most socially exclusive of professions, with 65% attending public school and 75% graduating from Oxbridge colleges.
No democratic freedoms have ever been won except by people taking the law into their own hands in the face of determined opposition by the Judiciary. Judges have always been the last bastion of reaction.
On May 9 our trial resumes with Judge Chambers summing up of the case, which will I am sure mention none of these things as he emphasises that his take on the law is the authorised version.
According to Judge Chambers, Sophie Scholl – executed by the Nazis for being part of the White Rose group – was ‘ushering in anarchy’ by defying the law
A Case of Judges Being Part of the Prosecution
I was initially accused by Deborah Gould of lying because, when responding to a police question as to where I was driving the minibus, I said that I was going for a drive! When I challenged Gould and argued that I was indeed going for a drive she backed down and agreed that my response was misleading rather than an untruth.
Judge Chambers was having none of it. Despite both myself, I was representing myself at the time, and the Prosecution agreeing that I wasn’t lying, Chambers insisted on issuing a Lucas Direction on lies, which although mitigating its seriousness nonetheless maintained that I had lied. When you have a judge who is more prosecution minded than the Prosecutor then the idea that this is a fair trial, under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights becomes an absurdity.
In the Clive Ponting case, cited by Hallett, despite being instructed by Judge Sir Anthony McGowan to convict Ponting, the jury acquitted him. Ponting had revealed that Thatcher was lying to Parliament when she said that the General Belgrano had been sailing towards the Falklands Islands when it was torpedoed whereas the opposite was the case. McGowan told the jury that the public interest defence in the case did not apply because ‘The public interest is what the government says it is’.
Judge Silas Reid has abolished the right of defendants to defend themselves gaoling 3 Insulate Britain protesters for explaining why they took direct action
Last week I sacked my barrister and decided to take the address to the jury. After that I was put under pressure to change my mind and in the end I reinstructed Daniella Manson who mounted a factual rather than a political defence.
Amy Pritchard and Giovanna Lewis were jailed for 7 weeks for contempt of court after they defied an order not to refer to climate change as their motivation for blocking traffic in the City of London.
As the British state cracks down on Palestine Action and various environmental action groups – Just Stop Oil, Climate Action, Insulate Britain etc. are going to have to come together to rebut the attack on direct action by the state and its judicial mouthpieces. The role of defence lawyers will inevitably be less important as virtually all the common law defences have been withdrawn.
Our task will be to inform juries of their rights because of one thing we can be certain, Britain’s judges will keep them in the dark.
Keeping Juries in the Dark
The key to securing compliant juries who are willing to convict at the suggestion of judges lies in keeping them in ignorance. Until the present trial I was unaware of how this was managed or rather manipulated.
A lot of time in trials, certainly in our trial, is taken up with arguments about the law. Whenever this happens the jury is sent out so it is totally oblivious to the real arguments in a trial. When I was initially denied the right to sit in the well of the court, when I decided to sack my barrister, I made my application to the judge to reverse his position. He immediately sent out the jury but I continued with my application in their presence.
Immediately the jury had gone Chambers threatened that if I pulled the same ‘stunt’ again I would be confined to the cells. This is how jury trials are being manipulated. I can see no reason whatsoever for juries not to be present during legal argumentation so that they can see whether or not the judge is manipulating the law in one particular political direction.