Friday, 22 January 2010

Liberty and Justice….are obsolete

Few people will have noticed this but Tuesday 12th January marked an historic moment in our history. For on that day the first criminal trial without a jury started 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.”

John Twomey, Peter Blake, Barry Hibberd and Glen Cameron are charged with taking part in a £1.75million hold-up at a Heathrow warehouse in February 2004. Various newspaper journalists noted this regressive development, at the time.

The Guardian said that the “Heathrow robbery trial breaks with 400-year tradition of trial by jury”.

The Mirror reported that the “First non-jury trial is breaking history”.

The Times told readers that the “First criminal trial with no jury for 400 years starts”.

Daily Telegraph explained that “‘Alleged robbery trial without jury to make legal history”.

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, these are our 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 subtly positioned themselves as our masters.

It may be that the defendants who go on trial did commit the failed armed robbery of which they stand accused. It may be they deserve guilty verdicts and severe punishment. It may be they are entirely innocent of the charges made against them. But it is for a jury of their peers to listen to the evidence presented by the State who must “prove beyond reasonable doubt” and for their peers to decide if they are innocent or guilty, it is the role of a judge to ensure impartiality, to rule on legal arguments and to pass sentence if convicted. These were protections that were put in place to ensure the state could not arbitrarily and unfairly deprive citizens of their liberty, property and life.

What we have now is a self contained, self serving and disconnected “career” political class that has granted itself the power to control our lives. And we have let them because successive governments have appeared benign and of no threat to us, so the public at large has shown little interest in their activities.

Indeed since the 12th of January, 10 days on from spouting their concern and in some cases misgivings at this serious erosion of our rights under law, how have these organs of information (the Main Stream Media) gone about the business of keeping this ‘historic case’ in the public consciousness? With the exception of one article by Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail on 16th January, the only information about this trial on the World Wide Web is this, taken from the Court Hearings page of the Queen’s Bench Division:

Sadly our fearless media corps have, other more pressing matters to focus upon. Liberty, Justice and the rights of the individual are just not sexy enough for public consumption. So it is that in 21st Century Britain we find that justice is being taken from us and the next step will be our liberty. It is yet another victory for the self serving politicians, who are immune from answering to their own wrong doings, in their ongoing effort; to enslave and control us for our own good, rather than to serve us. So Instead of a blindfold maybe from now on the scales of justice should be borne by a figure wearing a gag.

So Emboldened by this inertia has the state become that it has taken ever greater control over us, telling us it is for our own good, creating a culture of fear for our security and well being and of course by using the ubiquitous “if you’ve got nothing to hide” excuse.

Now as the consequences of our inertia 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 insidiously and relentlessly dismantling and removing the mechanisms we could rely on to counter its power.

Nu-Labour has  introduced 4300 “new” offences since taking power, 4300 more ways to punish, corral, bully and fine us into submission, and it will continue and gain pace under our new masters the EU as I have said before. Watch the numbers grow.

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

Or have Liberty and Justice become obsolete?

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