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I'm both surprised and happy that permission has been refused. Do you know if a judgment will be issued (even if it's just recording the ex tempore musings)?

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Hmm…..To introduce a more political/ even party political/ government of the day (take your pick) thought, does anyone believe that THIS government would be intervening had the banner in question had asserted that jurors had the right to CONVICT a defendant in accordance with their consciences?

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I can’t help suspecting that some of those who support her might see it differently if the high profile case were for example an attack on an abortion clinic . . .

Joshua, please stop referring to judges buy their surname!

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author

Thanks.

House style, I’m afraid: all forenames and honorifics dropped after first mention.

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O tempora, O mores - if that much Latin is still allowed!

What will you do if you mention the King twice in a post? Call him Windsor? 😀

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author

By analogy with my piece earlier this week, it would be “Charles”.

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This is going to be a very interesting and important case, and I am really unsure which way the courts will rule. The SG's argument about distinguishing between a power and a right seems the kind of argument that lawyers are often accused of - fighting over the meaning of one word - but, of course, here the SG is right, they could lead to very different outcomes.

Auld LJ, of course, was scathing of so-called jury equity and wanted to clarify in law that it did not exist. The government did not proceed with that recommendation.

In March, HHJ Silas Reid (is that the same judge for this case?) reportedly (according to The Times) instructed jurors “It is only on the evidence you are able to try the case and not on conscience … It is a criminal offence for a juror to do anything from which it can be concluded that a decision will be made on anything other than the evidence.”

It seems to me that this case will need to decide whether that is true. If jurors have the RIGHT to ignore the evidence and bring in a verdict according to their conscience, then telling them that should not constitute contempt of court. However, if they only have the ABILITY / power to do so, then it becomes more questionable because the juror oath says they will give "....a true verdict according to the evidence", so telling them that they can ignore that evidence may well constitute contempt, even if the jury can ultimately decide to go with their gut feeling.

My personal opinion is that the principle of jury equity is rarely exercised and is there for good reason. The point of a jury is for the defendant's peers to decide whether their conduct is culpable, and the jury should have the ability to say, "the law may say x, but we think that what (s)he did was right" (the Clive Ponting example). I guess the judiciary are nervous that it is starting to be raised more frequently now, but if a jury trial cannot acquit what is the point and what are the safeguards for a bad law. The counter-argument, of course, is that such logic renders the jury oath redundant. What is the point of jurors swearing an oath to give a true verdict if they can simply ignore the evidence (which was Auld LJs argument). It is logical, but perhaps takes us to places that many in the law would be uncomfortable with.

Anyway, I look forward to the judgment. I can't see how Saini J. will do anything other than let it proceed to a Divisional Court, so I suspect we will have some time to wait for the answer (which will inevitably go all the way to the Supreme Court, which raises interesting questions given recent discussions about how the SC don't have a 'crime' judge at the moment. Presumably, they could either allow the leap-frog procedure and let Carr LCJ sit in the SC or ask Carr not to preside in the Court of Appeal and have her sit in the SC. Also, presumably, Lord Burnett is still eligible to sit in the SC as an additional judge, so they could let Carr preside in the CACD but bring Burnett into the SC).

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" What is the point of jurors swearing an oath to give a true verdict if they can simply ignore the evidence (which was Auld LJs argument)."

More fundamentally, what is the point in having defined criminal offences at all, if a juror's job is simply to consult their own personal moral code and come to a conclusion about whether D should be punished?

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author

Thank you and, yes, I agree with all of what you say.

It is indeed Silas Reid

And, yes, Lord Burnett can sit in the UKSC.

As you say, this is an important case.

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