Another nail in the coffin of liberty and justice

Today marks an historic moment in our history.  Today we will witness the first criminal trial without a jury to take place in England and Wales for more than 400 years.  Lawyer ‘Tom Paine’ of The Last Ditch, reminds us of the importance of jury trials when he writes:

“The right to trial by jury has protected Englishmen from an over-mighty state since long before democracy was born. Combined with the Great Writ of habeas corpus, it meant you could not be detained without trial and that your trial must be by 12 independent jurors. For most of the last 400 years, those jurors were required to decide unanimously that you were guilty. If they couldn’t, you were acquitted.”

Slowly but surely and with relentless determination, the state is eroding protections and freedoms that were designed to shield citizens from abuses by the state.  These are not entitlements that are being stripped from us, they are rights.  The people taking them away from us are supposed to be our public servants.  But as we have enjoyed the freedom to focus our attention on other matters, our servants have positioned themselves as our masters.

It may be that the defendants who go on trial today did commit the failed armed robbery of which they are stand accused.  It may be they deserve guilty verdicts and severe punishment.  But it is for a jury of their peers to listen to the evidence and decide if they are guilty.  It is a protection that was put in place to ensure the state could not arbitrarily and unfairly deprive citizens of their liberty.

What we have now is a self contained and disconnected political class that has granted itself the power to control our lives.  Because successive governments have appeared benign and of no threat to us, the public has shown little interest in their activities.  Emboldened by this, the state has taken ever greater control over us telling us it is for our own good, for our security and well being.

Now the consequences are becoming clear and we are standing by powerless as our self appointed masters set about reversing freedoms that have been hard won over the centuries, and for which millions of people have given their lives to defend.  It is only when people realise the distractions employed to divert our attention from what they are doing to assert control over us that it becomes clear how premeditated and carefully thought out this has been.  It is not an exaggeration to say that we are becoming enslaved by the state and that the state is removing the mechanisms we could rely on to counter it.

The question is, what will it take for people to focus on this problem and put an end to it?  Or have the organs of the state now passed the point where we as free individuals can take control back from them?

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7 Responses to “Another nail in the coffin of liberty and justice”


  1. 1 Paul Henri Cadier 13/01/2010 at 8:17 pm

    I have just been summoned to do jury service and I am proud to oblige.

    The tradition of juries allegedly date back to Saxon times when the 12 oarsmen of their preferred mode of transport would judge cases.

    The Common law which dates back to these pre-democratic times is just about still with us today although it is being overtaken by Brussels statutes. Common sense is being trumped by the Common Market it seems.

    The abandonment of juries will give our discredited political class all the power they need to lock up dissenters of all types. The new law banning “zenophobia” (the fear of foreigners) in the Lisbon Treaty’s Declaration of Human rights, could be applied to anyone. Without the safety valve of a jury trial any eurosceptic could be gaoled at wim.

  2. 2 Alex 15/01/2010 at 2:14 pm

    Actually, the fear of foreigners is xenophobia. I believe zenophobia may be the fear of Buddhists :-)

    Totally agree with your opinion though.

  3. 3 vince richardson 09/02/2010 at 3:27 pm

    Whilst I do agree in principle and fully understand the historical precedent,it has come to a point when the justice system simply does not provide adequate protection for jurists in trials invovling dangerous criminals.The system cannot work as it has. This may not the right way to go about it, but something has to change.

    Maybe we neeed a less adversarial justice system like the French,where they have an investigative judiciary running procedings.We do need to address the intimidation of witnesses and jurists.

  4. 4 Anne Palmer 26/02/2010 at 10:22 am

    What if soon Vince, it is decided that Habeas Corpus should be done away with completely? For all to be held until the trial date?

    Maybe THIS is what is next on the list? We have opened up our borders to criminals whilst closing them to law enforcement agencies. What we need now is a uniform kind of Corpus Juris.

    Of Course Harmonisation will only be achieved with the creation of a European Public Prosecution Service.

    Get the picture?


  1. 1 Where is the Justice here ? .. - Page 2 - Civinfo Trackback on 13/01/2010 at 9:05 pm
  2. 2 If justice was blind, now it is mute « Autonomous Mind Trackback on 22/01/2010 at 2:09 am
  3. 3 Trial without jury continues, media silent « Autonomous Mind Trackback on 08/02/2010 at 9:03 pm
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