Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.





Comments are usually moderated. However, I do not accept any legal responsibility for the content of any comment. If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

JURIES AND JURORS

It seems another juror has encountered the wrath of the Lord Chief Justice owing to her researching details on the internet pertinent to a defendant. In this age of recent mass immigration and widespread internet use jurors are still chosen largely unfiltered from publicly held lists. At one time not too long ago  certain classes of summonsed jurors could recuse themselves on account generally of their importance to society so in effect many middle class professionals were unavailable by choice. That situation as we know has changed and nobody including judges and others of equally high status is excused without very substantial reasoning. Such people bring with them a lifetime`s accumulation of knowledge, much of it highly specialised, to the proceedings.  If evidence presented is directly contrary to their personal knowledge are they to choose how to balance that conflict?  The purists might answer that only the evidence heard in court has any relevance but where does that leave the truth?  

From my contacts and enquiries into attitudes of magistrates I have the sense that many are becoming more inquisitorial in their approach to trials involving unrepresented defendants in order to ensure as much as they are able that justice is done and if that means the truth will out rather than the abler proponent of evidence then so be it. 

As a matter of interest  WikiIslam has the following information copied below.  If these statistics are to be taken at face value how would individuals holding the reported opinions be appropriate for jury service whether in trials of co-religionists or others?

United Kingdom

More than 60 percent of British Muslims want Shari'ah law in the UK
The special poll [conducted by the Guardian/ICM organisations] based on a survey of 500 British Muslims found that a clear majority want Islamic law introduced into this country in civil cases relating to their own community. Some 61 per cent wanted Islamic courts - operating on sharia principles – "so long as the penalties did not contravene British law"[46]
October 2006
1 out of 3 British Muslims aged 16 to 24 believe that Muslim apostates should be executed.
In the survey of 1,003 Muslims by the polling company Populus through internet and telephone questionnaires, nearly 60% said they would prefer to live under British law, while 37% of 16 to 24-year-olds said they would prefer sharia law, against 17% of those over 55. Eighty-six per cent said their religion was the most important thing in their lives.

Nearly a third of 16 to 24-year-olds believed that those converting to another religion should be executed, while less than a fifth of those over 55 believed the same. The survey claimed that British authorities and some Muslim groups have exaggerated the problem of Islamophobia and fuelled a sense of victimhood among some Muslims: 84% said they believed they had been well treated in British society, though only 28% thought the authorities had gone over the top in trying not to offend Muslims.[47]
January 2007
Four out of 10 British Muslims want sharia law introduced into parts of the country, a survey reveals today. The ICM opinion poll also indicates that a fifth have sympathy with the "feelings and motives" of the suicide bombers who attacked London last July 7, killing 52 people, although 99 per cent thought the bombers were wrong to carry out the atrocity.
. . .
The most startling finding is the high level of support for applying sharia law in "predominantly Muslim" areas of Britain.

Forty per cent of the British Muslims surveyed said they backed introducing sharia in parts of Britain, while 41 per cent opposed it. Twenty per cent felt sympathy with the July 7 bombers' motives, and 75 per cent did not. One per cent felt the attacks were "right".
Nearly two thirds thought the video images shown last week of British troops beating Iraqi youths were symptomatic of a wider problem in Iraq. Half did not think the soldiers would be "appropriately punished".
Half of the 500 people surveyed said relations between white Britons and Muslims were getting worse. Only just over half thought the conviction of the cleric Abu Hamza for incitement to murder and race hatred was fair.[48]
February 2006
At least 85 Islamic sharia courts are operating in Britain, a study claimed yesterday. The astonishing figure is 17 times higher than previously accepted
. . .
However, they operate behind doors that are closed to independent observers and their decisions are likely to be unfair to women and backed by intimidation, a report by independent think-tank Civitas said.[49]
June 2009
32% of British Muslim students support killing for Islam; 40% want Shari'ah Law
According to a new survey done at 30 universities in Britain, the young Muslim student body in that country is extremely radicalized. The poll asked 600 Muslim students and 800 of their non-Muslim peers about politically touchy subjects like killing in the name of Islam and Sharia Law—and the results were like night and day between the two demographics. While hardly anyone in the non-Muslim sample accepted killing in the name of religion, basically one-third of all Muslim students in Britain supported this.
. . .
In an ironic twist, this survey and its shocking poll results were made available only through the Wikileaks leaking of Julian Assange. The poll was revealed as part of a secret, diplomatic cable that emerged from the US Embassy in London.
Other results in the pro-Islamist survey results are also troublesome. For instance, more than half of all British Muslim students insist on being represented by a political party that is Islam-based. The clear-cut, overwhelming theme in this poll data from this leaked cable relates to the fact that many Muslims even in so-called civilized countries like Britain still want to relapse to the Middle Ages (or earlier, even) by making Islam central in all aspects of their true-believing lives.[50]
December 2010
 
The recent speech by the Prime Minister shows that there is gradual realisation that  the political getout that the underbelly of those who are committed to violence in the name of Islam is a tiny minority   is not necessarily the case.  Similar arguments can be made about members of or adherents to other religious or political denominations where controversy  might arise eg Scientology, English Defence League to name just two. It is inconceivable that such cares have not entered the thinking processes of those high up the ministerial tree in Petty France.  It must only be a matter of time when jury selection  becomes more inquisitorial and more highly selective if it is to retain its position as central to the legal process otherwise there is a risk that a fully inquisitorial system of continental procedures will be proposed.

 

2 comments:

  1. I suspect many jurors think they are having the wool pulled over their eyes. Instead of forbidding jurors looking on the internet let the court do it openly (and honestly) and let prosecution and defence put up their explanation and reasons jurors should set such information aside. BTW, unless the juror was gobby how would anyone know (provably) they had looked anyway?

    We have Rabbinical courts for civil matters so why not Sharia courts for civil matters too - subject to their edicts being within UK law. Otherwise forbid all religious courts.

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  2. I think it is a given that the Ministry of Injustice already has a plan in a drawer somewhere to implement the Napoleonic approach. However we must always remember that Napoleon was a dictator as are adherents to his systems. George Orwell had great foresight - it is just taking a little longer than he thought.

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