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Heathrow robbery trial breaks with 400-year tradition of trial by jury

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posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 09:07 AM
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Heathrow robbery trial breaks with 400-year tradition of trial by jury


www.guardian.co.uk

The first criminal trial without a jury to take place in England and Wales in more than 400 years begins on Tuesday after lawyers' legal challenges were exhausted.

John Twomey, 62, and three other defendants face trial over a bungled robbery at Heathrow airport in 2004.

Robbers allegedly tried to steal more than £10m from a warehouse but had misread a flight document and only £1.75m was there at the time, most of which has not been recovered.

Twomey and his associates face the historic trial in the absence of a jury after the court of appeal examined secret evidence and ruled that
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 09:07 AM
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Is the danger of "jury tampering" a valid reason to bypass the 400 year old practice of being tried by a jury of peers,or is this another step down the road to totalitarianism?

Now that this has happened,will non jury trials become gradually more common in the UK?
It could turn out to be easy for the law courts to ban the jury out of "percieved" worries of jury tampering.

Is this a very dangerous step for British justice-or is it a reasonable path to tread?

Myself,I think jurys should be involved as they provide the "man on the street" perspective in trials,as opposed to the Judges,who are often IMO,completley removed from the very people they judge.(Like politicians are worlds apart from the public on many issues.)
What do you think?

www.guardian.co.uk
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 09:54 AM
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After reading the article I find the axiom, If you fail, try, try again apt.

So they are going to throw out the trial by jury and the government feels THIS is okay?

I find it ironic here in the States that the Federal Tax court has no juries.

I always thought in the US, we had the right of trial by jury to be a inalienable right. I guess once a tyrannical government feels they can no longer find someone guilty without doing away with juries this is the next step.

Jury nullification of the draconian actions of government, is one the last powers given to citizens. If citizens as a whole, feel the law is wrong and the person on trial is being persecuted by said laws, this is where jury nullification comes in. This case has nothing to do with that but I would rather see numerous guilty go free then one innocent man go to jail.

This is the beginning of the end of any true free government. Appointed officials making decisions of guilt or innocence is hypocritical and tyrannical.



posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 09:57 AM
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Twomey has faced trial on charges in connection with the robbery three times already, at a cost of more than £20m. It was only in the last trial that the judge made allegations of jury tampering.


Emphasis added by me. It has cost £20 million in taxpayers cash to try this man of theft of £1.75 million... there's the real crime.

We're granted the right to a Jury of our peers / equals in several legally binding documents which pre-date anyone alive and are still in use today.

The justice system is a joke, not least that they can warrant the unbelievable cost's of this case, but they can now appoint a sole judge and jurer to try and convict you. Just another erosion of liberties by the corporate courts.

Seriously... £20 million?!?... that's the real crime here.



posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 10:37 AM
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To be fair, in order to get one of these special trials, the CPS needs to jump through so many legal hoops to prove such a thing is necessary that you'll probably only see a couple every decade. Even terrorists are tried via Juries, for the most part.

In the legislation (which I assume you've all read, as you all have an opinion) it has safeguards and balances built in to make sure that Judges/The Government/CPS can't just do away with Juries as they please. They need to meet some very exact criteria to qualify.

Alsp, the article is misleading. The first non-Jury trial in 400 years? Utter bollocks.

Anyone who has been tried at a Magistrates would never have seen or even had the chance of a Jury and that is where most smaller crimes are dealt with, unless the defendant demands a Jury, in which case it will be transferred to a Crown Court, but of course going to Crown Court means you run the risk of a tougher sentence if found guilty.

[edit on 11/1/10 by stumason]



posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 10:37 AM
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my fear is that we're just a short step away from this in the US. No one man should be able to decide anothers fate. Take away the right of the people to judge their own, and start giving that to an individual, and then we'll see real abuse of the law.



posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 11:08 AM
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reply to post by stumason
 





Anyone who has been tried at a Magistrates would never have seen or even had the chance of a Jury and that is where most smaller crimes are dealt with, unless the defendant demands a Jury, in which case it will be transferred to a Crown Court, but of course going to Crown Court means you run the risk of a tougher sentence if found guilty.


They are doing that here in the states in many different fashions. All of these plea bargains are manipulations of the law. They throw all kinds of crimes at people and offer convictions on a couple. Now if you go to court they will charge you with all of them to get a larger sentence. Also they use that in smaller cases of fines for such things as speeding tickets. If you want to fight the case your fine goes from say $110 to $1200 if you fight.

Is this justice or is it taxation and the end of justice?



posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 12:09 PM
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reply to post by endisnighe
 


Well, in the case of Magistrates, you'll have one Judge and two lay people sitting on the bench, so there is a "form" of Jury. The sentences are rarely custodial and often they deal with petty crime.

If you're happy to be done this way, then there is no problem and as I said, you do have the right to a Jury Trial but as that costs more, if you're found guilty by a Jury of your peers then you can expect a much tougher sentence.

But, as stated above by another poster, if the Public at large feels the Law is unjust or harsh, then a Jury trial can work to your advantage. I've seen cases of dope smoking Grandma's and people who defended their homes dragged to court by the CPS, only to be dismissed by the Jury. Had those people gone to magistrates, they would have probably been found guilty as they interpret the Law to the letter.

I think it is fair, personally and I have been through the process myself before. I only wish I had known more back then as I believe my case would have been dismissed had I demanded my right to a Jury.



posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 01:10 PM
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reply to post by stumason
 


I was actually involved in a case as a juror where all 12 of us disagreed with the law. It took us 10 minutes in the jury room post trial. 1 minute to come to the agreement that the law was bull and that the District Attorney persuing it were morons for wasting our time and the defendant's time. The other 9 we spent filling out the paperwork what we thought of the law and the DA.

After the defendant was told the verdict and was dismissed the judge cleared the courtroom and asked us what we had written on the judgment paperwork. Jury nullification is an important right in a our free society. The judge asked what we had meant on the paperwork about wasting our time and the juries time. The jury foreman stated it was obvious the law and the DA's pursuit of the case was stupid. That is all that needed to be said.

[edit on 1/11/2010 by endisnighe]



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