Thursday, 4 November 2010


Imagine someone has accused me of stealing a bike.

If I am convicted of this offence of dishonesty, in addition to the sentence of the Court, the Bar Standards Board will take disciplinary proceedings against me, and I could be struck off as a Barrister.  Indeed I may be rendered incapable of practising as a lawyer at all.  My job prospects (in any profession or sector) with such a conviction would be slim.  I could not pay my mortgage or provide for my children.

I understand that Louise Casey, the first Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses (for England and Wales) allegedly said this

"We should not view the right to a jury trial as being so sacrosanct that its exercise should be at the cost of victims of serious crimes.
"Defendants should not have the right to choose to be tried by a jury over something such as the theft of a bicycle or stealing from a parking meter."
I am very sorry that the person from whom I might have stolen the bicycle feels aggrieved at the delay in obtaining justice; but I should be even more sorry for myself if that delay were to be avoided by me losing my right to place my future and my family's future in the hands of 12 of my Peers.  That's why article 29 of Magna Carta is still in force today:

nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers

 Sorry Louise, but whether it be bicycle or parking meter, and however long it takes, justice requires a right to trial by jury whenever dishonesty is alleged.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. Here is my post on this report:

    The jury system is constantly under attack. Nevertheless, it is THE major constitutional safeguard for the citizen. Each time a little bit of it is whittled away, the relationship between citizen and State suffers. The jury system is somthing which we should defend and not allow voices such as Casey to persuade otherwise.