A judge tells us that current events mean we should move away from having juries and move to judge only trials. Nope, bugger off:
There is nothing to fear from judge-alone trials. Judges recognise a bad officer when they see one, can assess credibility, reject unreliable identification evidence, avoid bias and accurately apply the burden and standard of proof. They are obliged to give very full reasons for any verdict, including any basis for accepting or rejecting any evidence.
This is not an attempt to undermine trial by jury but a short-term measure to counter a situation which threatens to permanently erode confidence in our criminal justice system.
Sir Richard Henriques is a former High Court judge
It’ll never actually be short term of course. It also misses the actual point of a jury. We might think they’re there to evaluate evidence, decide what is right or wrong, to decide upon guilt of the accused. But they’re not. They’re there to decide whether a crime has been committed. Which includes telling the law, the judge, the politicians and the entire system to bugger off as and when 12 good men and true decide that this isn’t a crime.
Sure, the British legal system absolutely hates any mention of jury nullification. But that is what they’re actually there for. Which is why we shouldn’t do away with them.
And if people don’t want to wait for their chance in front of those 12 good and true? They can always change their plea, can’t they?