Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Out of The Ordinary

The right-wing fanatic who is accused of the murder of Jo Cox MP has opted not to give evidence nor to call any witnesses in his defence. The jury will be directed by the judge as to how to deal with this.

He is of course perfectly entitled to remain silent, just as the jury is perfectly entitled to draw the inferences that it finds proper from his decision. In times past courts sometimes had to decide whether the accused was 'mute of Malice' or 'mute by Visitation of God'.

This is a situation that I have only faced a few times in court. We gravely retired to consider, and I took the bench carefully through the decision making process as if we were assessing a real defence. We then took great care to prepare our reasons for our blindingly obvious decision, reading them out slowly and carefully before handing them down to the Clerk for the file. It all felt a bit unreal, but it is in odd cases such as these that everything has to be done just so.

Guilty it was then, to no one's great surprise.


  1. I first came across this while watching the great John Thaw in Mute of Malice on tv.


    Please could you add anything about this subject to your post if you have the time.
    John Gibson

  2. When the charge is murder the sentence on conviction will always be "life" so there is little to be gained from pleading guilty. No sentence discount is available. Even a D with no defence to offer will plead not guilty and hope the Crown messes up so badly and the jury is so thick that they let him off. (A forlorn hope when the victim is an MP.)

    The case continues.

  3. I hope your decision was only obvious to you after you had actually considered the prosecution evidence and satisfied yourselves to the required standard that the charges were made out.

  4. Now that he has been convicted and sentenced, we can freely discuss the case. Some modest discount on the tariff is normally available for a prompt guilty plea and evidence of remorse. Of course if it's so bad that a whole-life tariff is in prospect, even that is not going to make any difference.

  5. I am not sure Nationalist is correct in either of his/her points.
    The Sentencing Council lays out how a reduction for guilty plea is to be made in cases of murder, so there is a reduction in minimum term to be served (less than for other offences for a number of reasons)
    That more do not take advantage of this discount is probably because there is a better prospect of a manslaughter conviction rather that a murder conviction, and indeed many do plead guilty to one but not the other.
    I would not want to gratly rely on the prospect of the Crown messing up.

  6. It is simple, in this case. The defendant has no defence and has nothing to gain by giving evidence and nothing to lose by putting the prosecution to the test. It actually represents perfectly 'presumed innocent until proved guilty'

  7. In a previous era he would have probably had a tolerable job and wouldn't have thought about killing anyone. Not these days with mass immigration. It's not very nice to see immigrants coming in and getting assistance when the locals get none or little.
    And what does right wing mean ? Vague labels are attached to anyone who doesn't worship the new multiculti god. The term presstitutes is here highly appropriate.


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