Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Fine Line

The decision to hold a major trial without a jury raises great questions of principle and of justice. Jury trial, for all its occasional frailties, remains at the core of our justice system and is a powerful protection for the citizen. It is an awesome decision to do away with it, even in exceptional cases. This is an exceptional case. There is, we are told, evidence of persistent attempts to interfere with the jury (and three out of twelve would be enough). My preferred option would be to use whatever resources we have to in order to protect and reassure the jury, but we have to be realistic about the practicalities of this. I am pretty certain that I would not be personally intimidated but if there were a threat to one of my family, how would I react to that?
Jury trial should be sacrosanct - but if intimidation succeeds in allowing violent professional criminals to escape justice, then that is an outrage. So we have to strike a balance. For myself, I am finally persuaded by the fact that Lord Judge approves the idea. He is a man whom I have met briefly and heard speak on a number of occasions. He is a thoughtful man with a powerful intellect and cast-iron integrity. In the last analysis, if it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Posts are pre-moderated. Please bear with us if this takes a little time, but the number of bores and obsessives was getting out of hand, as were the fake comments advertising rubbish.