Musings and Snippets from a recently retired JP. I served for 31 years, mostly in west London. I was Chairman of my Bench for some years, and a member of the National Bench Chairmen's Forum All cases are based on real ones, but anonymised and composited. All opinions are those of one or more individuals. JPs swear to enforce the law of the land, whether or not they approve of it. Nothing on here constitutes legal advice.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Here's a Tricky One
I have watched every episode of 'Benefits Street' so far, and the bottom-of -the-heap types who feature in it have, if I recall correctly, admitted various misdemeanours such as shoplifting, attempted theft, benefit fraud, and drug offences. The papers now report that some of the characters in the programme have been arrested, which is going to present a challenge to Channel 4's lawyers if they are charged. It is a long standing principle that every effort should be made to avoid publishing anything that might prejudice a future trial. You don't often hear the phrase 'sub judice' these days, but how can Birmingham Crown Court assemble a jury that hasn't already formed an opinion about the denizens of James Turner Street?
(The Sunday paper tells me that they have nearly all been charged with conspiracy, which makes Crown Court trial a certainty, so we shall see what Hizonner makes of it all.)
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A Tricky One Indeed - those who are the media portray as guilty will be found guilty!ReplyDelete
You could start by looking for people without television sets. There are more of these than is generally supposed.ReplyDelete
How many of them don't have access to radio, printed media, and the internet either?Delete
What was Harold Wilson thinking when his government abolished Misprision of Felony in 1967. Were this still Common Law C4 could be charged for not reporting offences. As it stands, perhaps there is the chance of a Representative Action under the Civil Procedure Rules against C4 by Birmingham's retailers? I'm sure that a brief could be found willing to take the case on, on a conditional fee basis i.e. "no win - no fee". Perhaps the British Retail Consortium and British Independent Retailers Association could jointly coordinate such an initiative for their members.ReplyDelete
Thanks to the Jackson civil procedure reforms, no win no fee funding arrangements are now outlawed except in prescribed circumstances not including the one you describe. And their replacement in the form of contingency fees, the so called damages based agreements, have yet to emerge onto the scene.Delete
Thank you Anon - you have given the perfect answer to the nonsense posted.Delete
I never watch "reality" programmes so have no idea what it is they may have done.That should be the first question asked of any juror.ReplyDelete
Yes, the TV licensing lists at your local mags' courts are full of them.ReplyDelete
I've not watched it.ReplyDelete
Moi non plus.ReplyDelete
Never even heard before about this TV show. Mind you a jury of people who don't watch TV tosh risks a jury of people that are 'smarter than the average bear, Boo-boo', and would doubtless be accused by the defence of being unrepresentative of the peers of these defendants.ReplyDelete
Thankfully peremptory challenge of jurors is no more and any objection must be 'for cause' I don't think having the good sense not to watch trash TV IS good cause!!ReplyDelete
When Michael Jackson was on trial in the US the same question was asked - how, in such a charged atmosphere, with the media, race and other aspects being thrown around by a screaming media - could he possibly have a fair trial. It was suggested, perfectly seriously, that a jury from an English-speaking common law country or countries could be flown in, as they would understand what would be required of them but would have not been exposed to the pre-trial by media. Extreme, but impossible or unreasonable?ReplyDelete
Do you mean that that new sort of wireless system which shows a picture actually got off the ground?ReplyDelete
How absurd. It would take up everyone's attention. It will never last.