Trial By Jury 113

When I started this blog I never envisaged I would be forced to write a defence of the use of juries in Scotland. We live in troubling times indeed.

A jury is an essential protection against the power of the state. It is a randomly selected group of citizens who decide on the facts of an accusation – crucially removing that power from officers of the state.

It is therefore a much needed safeguard against a state official just banging up people the state wishes to bang up, without just cause. It has been viewed that way for centuries.

The current proposition from the Scottish government is that, because conviction rates in rape trials in Scotland are lower than in England – approximately 52% to 75% – that juries should be abolished in rape and sexual assault cases and replaced by specially trained judges.

This proposition fails at the first hurdle of logic.

Juries decide rape trials in both England and in Scotland. So elementary logic tells you that the cause of difference is not juries (unless you believe there is a fundamental difference in attitudes to rape in English and Scottish society, which seems to me highly improbable).

I spoke with a Scottish KC who has been a prosecutor in sexual offence crimes. Their take was rather different. They think the reason for higher conviction rates in England was that Scottish prosecutors are more willing to run marginal cases.

In England the Crown Prosecution Service and its staff are measured against a set of achievement metrics on conviction rates, and as a result will not take a case forward unless it is close to a slam dunk.

In Scotland prosecutors are more willing to give accusers a chance to put their accusations before a jury.

You could achieve a higher conviction rate by the prosecutors bringing fewer cases, only those where the evidence is overwhelming. That is not an outcome anybody wants.

Look at this turned on its head. Is a 51% chance of convincing the jury not about the point at which a case ought to be allowed to proceed? Why is that wrong?

If an alleged victim has a 50% chance of being believed by the jury, they will get into court in Scotland. In England they need a 75% chance of being believed.

That is simply a different way of looking at the same statistic.

If the English prosecutors brought before a jury more of the very large majority of rape allegations which go unprosecuted, the conviction rate in England would fall, although there would be some of those extra prosecutions which were indeed successful.

If you bring 100 prosecutions at a 70% conviction rate you have convicted 70 rapists.

If you bring 200 prosecutions at a 50% conviction rate you have convicted 100 rapists, that is 30 more rapists in jail.

But on the conviction rate measure you are less successful, even though you jailed more rapists.

That paradox explains why conviction rates are a stupid measure to use in this conversation.

They are only of concern as a financial measurement. To convict 100 rapists at a 50% conviction rate costs twice as much as to convict just 70 rapists at a 70% conviction rate. Your cost per convicted rapist has increased by 45%.

That is why the CPS in England works to this metric. They put cost effectiveness above justice.

The notion that 52% conviction rates for rape are inadequate, needs to be challenged on another ground too. It is entirely in line with conviction rates for crimes of a similar severity.

Attempted murder 47%
Grievious Bodily Harm 48%
Manslaughter 48%

These are reasonable comparators to rape. Rape Crisis Scotland compare the 52% conviction rate for rape to an alleged overall 90% criminal conviction rate, but that includes the great bulk of summary cases for minor crimes, including not having a TV licence.

For comparable crimes, the conviction rate for rape is in fact not out of line at all.

(Incidentally the conviction rates for serious crimes above are from England. I can’t find any for Scotland. Conviction rates are not centrally collated by government and have to be compiled by academic researchers poring over thousands of cases).

The problem is not juries getting it wrong at trial. The difficulty is getting more cases to trial. Performance here is abysmal.

The urgent need is for much better resourcing in terms of equipment, dedicated personnel and training in Police Scotland, in the NHS, social services and in the Crown Office and in all other associated agencies dealing with those making allegations of rape or sexual assault.

That is expensive and requires thought and co-ordinated, serious action. It is much cheaper to pretend to be doing something, by simply getting rid of juries and instructing judges to increase convictions.

The Scottish Government has made no disguise at all of the fact that the purpose of abolishing juries is to increase the conviction rate. That means a defendant is going to be standing before a judge who has in effect been instructed to convict.

A plainer breach of human rights I find impossible to imagine.

It is also plain that the Scottish Government intends to make sure the judges obey the order to convict.

As Lord Uist has pointed out, for the first time in Scottish history the Criminal Justice Bill makes provision for judges, in the new “special courts”, to be removed from office without evidence of wrongdoing. Uist believes this to be contrary to the ECHR, an interference with judicial independence.

He also points out that the bill provides for the Scottish Government to monitor the performance of the “special courts” and to monitor “outcomes”.

Uist does not specifically add, but I will, that “outcomes” can only mean conviction rates. What other “outcomes” of a court might the Scottish Government be monitoring? It has been made clear higher conviction rates are the purpose, and the judges will be measured on them.

This explains the root and branch opposition of Scottish lawyers.

Anybody can surely see how deeply troubling these proposals are, how fundamentally opposed to any basic principle of justice.

The SNP has always had an authoritarian streak. Its leadership appears to have become utterly power-crazed in its self-righteous mission of social engineering.


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113 thoughts on “Trial By Jury

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  • DavidH

    Another argument for the necessity of juries, particularly in Scotland, is the cosy relationship between the Lord Advocate and the government, as pointed out by Mr Murray in numerous other posts. If I’m not mistaken, the Lord Advocate, appointed by the First Minister and a member of their cabinet, is the government’s chief legal advisor and head of the (supposedly independent???) prosecution service. So if juries are abolished and judges tamed by “outcome monitoring”, there’s absolutely nothing in the way of government-ordered prosecution and conviction. That’s not even hyperbole – it’s just fact.
    That this is even thinkable is just another example of how little people seem to regard their fundamental rights these days. What could possibly go wrong, eh?

    • Johnny Conspiranoid

      “That this is even thinkable is just another example of how little people seem to regard their fundamental rights these days. What could possibly go wrong, eh?”
      Perhaps a large majority of people are completely unaware of this and similar issues. They might be blithely going along thinking all their rights still exist until they find out otherwise. How long would it take for a majority to come to such a realisation? What does Alba say?

      • Stevie Boy

        Many, IMO, have the mistaken belief that ‘if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve nothing to worry about’. Even though, in these Orwellian times, the evidence mounts that it’s the state that defines what’s wrong and right. Many cannot see that many people gave their lives and liberty for ‘our rights’, and now they are happy to squander them and return us to a new dark age. The destruction of our educational standards is partly responsible as is corrupt politics and the two are linked.

        • Squeeth

          As an Englander the most depressing aspect of the Snat regime is the revelation that education in Scotland has been flushed round the u-bend. For most of my life, educational standards in Scotland have been bruited as what you get when you spend enough money wisely. How could they have failed so badly?

      • Tom Welsh

        I suspect that, despite their apparent ignorance and insouciance, many of the citizens are now aware that “rights” are wholly imaginary and therefore not worth wasting time and trouble over.

        Instead, it would make sense to impose obligations on government, with sanctions to make sure that they are fully and properly discharged.

        Some may argue that the difference between rights and obligations is purely semantic; and that may well be true. But it is a vital distinction, as people demonstrably do not have “inalienable” rights – otherwise, how could they be taken away so often, so easily, and with no penalty?

        Moreover, even if it is generally agreed that citizens have certain rights, that imposes no responsibility or accountability on anyone to make sure that those rights are satisfied. However, if (for example) the Prime Minister is under a legal obligation to ensure that everyone has (for example) safe, drinkable water, then if anyone lacks such water we all know whose fault it is and who should be punished.

        Which, of course, is why the terminology of “rights” is invariably preferred.

        It’s instructive and (depending on your temperament) perhaps amusing to compile a list of legal obligations that could reasonably be imposed on governments. Such a list would no doubt turn out to be very short indeed, or actually empty. What politician would accept responsibility for guaranteeing freedom of speech, for instance?

        Since one of the main purposes of all governments is to spread responsibility so widely that no one is ever actually accountable for anything, we should not hold our breaths until “rights” are replaced by obligations.

  • Juteman

    I’ve been told of a case where a woman had bragged about earning £10,000 from the Criminal Injuries Board, for getting a conviction in a rape case.
    I don’t know if that is the case that you get that sort of amount, but that is a hell of a lot of money for an unemployed drug addict, as she was. She couldn’t care less about the innocent man that was facing jail.

    • DavidH

      Well, that’s another point.
      If you prosecute those cases with a lower chance of conviction, I’d assume with weaker evidence there’s also more risk of false convictions.
      Using Craig’s format, prosecute 100 more cases with 25% conviction chance and you’ll get 25 more convicted rapists in jail, but will they all actually have done it?
      It should be incumbent on the justice system to send as few innocent people as possible to jail, as well as send as many guilty.
      Even more reason the solution should be more investment in police training and resources, not simply playing with the case numbers. Especially with rape and abuse, most often violent crimes against women, forces using experienced officers and good investigation methods get much better results. And, no, it’s not even “always believe the victim”. It’s take what the victim says seriously, gather evidence quickly and impartially. Violence against women deserves to be taken more seriously, but it’s not just a question of locking up more men.

      • Lysias

        If your objective is to send as many guilty men to jail as possible, it necessarily follows that innocent men will also be sent to jail. Your two aims are inconsistent.

    • Tom Welsh

      Unfortunately, US prosecutors have got around this for decades by offering plea bargains. They start by threatening to demand maximum sentences – sometimes imprisonment for hundreds of years, or death – then offer to make a deal that allows the accused to escape with a far lighter sentence. Of course, there is always a quid pro quo; to get the deal and escape the big hammer, the accused must squeal loud, long, and usefully. That enables the prosecutors to indict more important people, and repeat the process with them.

      Last I checked, over 90% of US criminal cases end with a plea bargain. If they didn’t, the courts would grind to a halt.

      • Tony

        That is precisely how James Earl Ray was framed for the assassination of Martin Luther King.
        When he appealed for a trial after his conviction, the matter was referred to Judge Preston Battle. But before he could give his ruling, he died of a heart attack. Very convenient!

        Perhaps he was a victim of the CIA heart attack gun that was revealed in 1975.

        Other convenient heart attacks: US Ambassador to the UN Adlai Stevenson who suddenly was struck down by a heart attack in 1965. Was known to have strong disagreements with President Johnson about the escalation of the war in Vietnam.

    • Andrew H

      The Americans (USA is a better term) also put in their constitution the right to bare arms against the state. (and argue fiercely that without this right, the state would be unaccountable).

      • glenn_nl

        And how’s that working out for them – is the US government / state really so much more ‘accountable’ than that of other other countries?

        Particularly when there has never been an occasion when the US ‘state’, however you define that, has had to back down in the face of armed citizens. Anyone who tries to “bare arms against the state” will rather rapidly find themselves in trouble.

        • Andrew H

          I agree, we should orgranise a right to bare arms protest in the UK – hope the cops can spell better than me.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for your reply Andrew. If certain commenters on here are right that British cops are all ‘utter fools and imbeciles’ (see previous comments section), maybe your typical bizzie’s orthography isn’t too clever.

            Not sure how much longer we’ll have the right to bare arms mind. Can’t imagine Starmzy much enjoyed viewing all the bingo wings on display as he sat in the beer garden, munching his chips with a face like a slapped arse, when briefly ‘campaigning’ in the Hartlepool by-election a couple years ago. I’d have folding money on him saying something like: “Can’t they wear shawls or something?” to Durham City MP Mary Foy (who’s a bit of fishwife herself by all accounts) in between swigs of San Miguel when he was illegally partying – er, I mean working – at Durham Miners’ Hall later on.

      • Piotr Berman

        I was explaining to a student from KSA why female students in hot weather are clad so scantily in our American university. As the right to bare arms cannot be abridged, it extends to thighs and midriffs. Plus, it is hot. Although it does not explain why male shorts are so long…
        OTH, the right to bear arms has a phrase about “well regulated militia”, so the arms are not to be used against the state, that would not be “well regulated”.

    • Squeeth

      What proportion of criminal cases in the US are heard by juries? Wiki says

      In the United States, because jury trials tend to be high profile, the general public tends to overestimate the frequency of jury trials. Approximately 150,000 jury trials are conducted in state courts annually,[24] and an additional 5,000 jury trials are conducted in federal courts. Two thirds of jury trials are criminal trials, while one-third are civil and “other” (e.g., family, municipal ordinance, traffic). Nevertheless, the vast majority of criminal cases are settled by plea bargain,[25][26] which bypasses the jury trial.

      Some commentators contend that the guilty-plea system unfairly coerces defendants into relinquishing their right to a jury trial.[27]

      The last I heard about England was that 96% of criminal cases are plea bargains, which is to day justice by Home Office.

  • Brian c

    On the other side of the ledger and further to your last blog post, yesterday at Westminster the SNP attempted to appeal the Public Order Bill – an authoritarian law that would further outlaw protest and dissent in Britain. Their appeal was voted down after Labour refused to support it.

    No question the SNP has an authoritarian streak but consider what’s looming under Sir Keir ‘Stability, Order and Security’ Starmer and his stable of arch reactionary ghouls, celebrated without reservation by the BBC, Guardian and every other bulwark of Liberal Britain.

    • Brian c

      Even Labour’s ‘Socialist Campaign Group’ MPs (McDonnell, Sultana, Burgon etc) abstained on the Public Order Bill. That is the state of leftwing dissidence in English politics now.

  • John Macadam

    I largely agree with you here. The idea of Diplock courts is outrageous. This does not represent SNP policy. No SNP Conference has approved this, or the reduction of jury sizes or the abolition of the not proven verdict. This was not in the SNP manifesto. So what authorises the Scottish Government to impose this policy? I cannot support the Scottish Government on this policy

  • Stevie Boy

    The western nations are in lockstep in clamping down and removing citizens rights. This is not the action of one rogue, outlier state – they are ALL doing it. This cannot be coincidence, there must be collusion, the question is who is at the top driving this ?

    • Tom Welsh

      C. J. Hopkins has an interesting theory about “who is at the top driving this”: what he calls Globocorp. See passim.

      His dystopian SF novel “Zone 23” is very readable and paints a picture of the future that is quite as horrible as those of Aldous Huxley and George Orwell – and, for my money, a lot more plausible.

      • Tom Welsh

        My brief review of “Zone 23” from some time ago:

        After “Zone 23” had been sitting on my bookshelf for over a year, because I felt I ought to read it but expected that a political satirist’s novel would be flat-footed, artificial and generally hard work, I pulled it down and was soon engrossed. I finished it yesterday and I’m still feeling slightly stunned. It’s an absolute classic, which belongs with “Catch-22”, “Stranger In A Strange Land”, “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?” and any of the great dystopian SF.

        The style is exactly appropriate to the subject, and Taylor’s idiom appeals to me although I am usually a grammar Nazi. For some reason, especially what I call “the which clause”. He actually has a lot in common with Achilles. Numerous individuals of contrasting abundance and destinies appear, gradually but inevitably coming together under the influence of some invisible force. The denouement fits perfectly the requirements of classical tragedy.

        I kept catching whiffs of familiar books and ideas – Heinlein’s Coventry, PKD’s peculiar slanted view of life, “Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me”, a touch of Len Deighton… even some of Alastair Reynolds’ hard SF.

        Finally, I’m left with two main reactions. One, a paradoxical affection for the whole complex structure of people and places. Two, a convulsive, purely emotional “NOOOOOOO…!”

        • Squeeth

          The prose of DADoES is execrable. A rare occasion when the film was better than the book. I liked bits of Brave New World but died of boredom during the sections on noble savagery; give me the feelies any day.

    • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

      Stevie Boy,

      “– they are ALL doing it. This cannot be coincidence, there must be collusion, the question is who is at the top driving this ?”

      The US?

    • Clark

      When a school of fish or a flock of birds all turn in the same directions at the same times, or all the supporters cheer when their side scores, who is at the top driving this?

      Correlation does not necessarily imply causation.

      Maybe there’s a disaster coming and the various ruling classes all wish to protect their privilege.

      • Stevie Boy

        Yes, the ‘hive’ mindset, of which the enabler appears to be social media, who are owned by the billionaire media barons, who work in cahoots with the security services of the west, who are driven primarily by the CIA and MI6, who have their own agenda(s).
        “Curiouser and curiouser !”

        • Clark

          I’m afraid I don’t understand this reply. It seems to be saying that politicians have developed a hive mind from social media, which I think is pretty unlikely; politicians tend to be very busy, and mostly parrot their party’s line.

          Anyway, social media isn’t owned by media barons. It’s owned by big tech and thus aligns with centrism and technocracy. It’s the right wing press that’s owned by billionaire media barons, and thus aligns with conservatism. They’re different factions of the ruling classes. That’s why you got soft covid denialism and covid trivialisation in the right wing press ie. “there’s nothing to worry about; get back to working and shopping”, whereas it’s anti-vax and lab-leak that get censored on social media, ie. “it wasn’t our fault; make money for big pharma”.

          Know your memes, who promotes which, and why 😉

          • Clark

            Anyway, both of these factions want to control everyone, but the technocrats hope to do it mostly through controlling information, whereas conservatism goes mostly for laws and lots of police. They’ll both use both, mind; it’s just a difference in emphasis and capabilities.

    • Dfnslblty

      In that most nations are not mutual conversation, the answer seems to be the direction which comes from fear.
      The irrational fear emanating from mounting avarice in the human spirit would drive such clamping and removals.
      Homosapien is devolving to extinction.

  • Cornudet

    It seems instructive to note that the inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly was conducted by Sir Brian Hutton, Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland and administrator in chief of the juryless Diplock courts. Coming from an Irish Catholic background I may be biased but I would say that if the state wanted whitewash spread over this vista of corruption they could not have chosen better. The outcome of the Hutton report was that Greg Dyke and his deputy were forced to resign and Andrew Gilligan left the BBC. Tony Blair and sundry war criminals remained safety ensconced in office and, to paraphrase a contemporary observation, Alistair Campbell was left crowing on his dunghill. The Diplock courts were ready to convict the Ulster Irish on extremely dubious evidence, including “supergrass” testimonies which in retrospect have been completely discredited, whilst turning a blind eye to abuses by the British army and the RUC, up to and including torture and murder – even in the face of the most blatant proof.. The Diplock courts were simply an arm of state oppression in Ulster and the judges serving on them clearly understood this. The replacement of juries with judges in rape trials is a beach head which will inexorably lead to a general abandonment of juries throughout the criminal justice system, and stands as a reminder that the price of liberty is indeed eternal vigilance.

  • Den

    I think we are all pretty sure that Alex Salmond would be doing approx 14 years’ jail time had jury less trials been in place at the time of his trial. Too much corruption in Scotland between government and CPS for this ever to be law.

  • Goose

    Another aspect to this is the sheer arrogance and political masochism of the SNP. By pushing on with these clearly unpopular policies, policies that should’ve been jettisoned by an unpopular new leader who lacks the political capital to sell them. It’s as if the SNP have an electoral death wish, and are simply preparing the ground for an odious Starmer-led Labour govt. Literally dumping their support at Labour’s door, gifting them Scottish Westminster seats in a general election expected next year.

    Right now, Yousaf should be steadying an SNP ship caught in a storm of financial controversy, not seeking out new battles with the legal profession in an effort to impose broadly unpopular, poorly thought-out changes. Where’s the SNP’s basic political common sense? Lost to lobbyists and minority pressure groups?

    • Bayard

      It is very tempting to suspect that those in charge of the SNP are acting under orders to prepare the way for Stürmer and his “national” brand of socialism. That would also explain the sudden departure of Nicola: she was a bit resistant to the idea of wrecking her SNP.

      • Goose

        Has she said anything in defence of her once centrepiece proposal of using the next general election as a ‘de facto referendum’ since leaving office?

        The fact she hasn’t(?) defended that proposal, or urged her successor to continue with it, speaks volumes. Amazing how such a central, headline dominating offer vanished like morning mist with barely a whimper of party protest. It looks like it was just another cynical exercise to excite supporters.

        The whole of the SNP’s leadership should be slow hand clapped at their conference by the remaining membership. The self-inflicted wounds of the party’s financial shenanigans, alongside the mishandling of electoral mandate after mandate, it’s barely believable. Given their hard won and at times near invincible dominant position in Scotland, what an opportunity squandered.

        • Bayard

          Given their hard won and at times near invincible dominant position in Scotland, what a victory for the powers that be. Bloody jumped up Scots, thinking they could upset the cosy duopoly this country has enjoyed for centuries!

          • Goose

            It’s an open question as to whether the SNP are being undermined from just outside, or also, from within? Probably a combination of both.
            If the financial scandals weren’t enough, the policy proposals of late, including this on removing juries, seem designed to divide Scottish opinion. This, when what would’ve been ‘pre-referendum,’ unity was required. And some of the leading SNP players seem a little too close to the British establishment. Some have probably fallen for the convenient claim that Russia wants Scottish independence? Failing to see that such a claim was always likely to be deployed by London opponents of Scottish independence, whether it has any basis in truth and fact, or not?

    • Johnny Conspiranoid

      “Where’s the SNP’s basic political common sense? Lost to lobbyists and minority pressure groups?”
      Perhaps the leadership serves another master.

  • Wally Jumblatt

    for evil to prevail … good men do nothing …

    So important that we the people protest and complain and resist all attempts by the ever-entrenched authorities to over-reach and subdue us.
    Trial by jury is a cornerstone of “for the people, by the people”.
    I’m sure we have all seen at least second-hand, where a jury just ignores a judge’s direction and makes it’s own mind up.
    Very important that they can continue to do so, since we can’t trust the lawyers all that much (if we ever could)

    keep up the good work, I hope some mainstream journalists are giving you support in the background.

  • Alex

    About two weeks ago I wrote to my six list MSPs – Pam Duncan Smith, Pauline McNeill, Anas Sarwar, and Paul Sweeney all of Labour; Dr Sandesh Gulhane and Annie Wells, Cons; and Patrick Harvie, Green. I made many of the points in Mr Murray’s blog. I have not received an acknowledgement from any of them. I also wrote to the Justice Secretary and have not received any acknowlegement. I did not bother writing to my Constituency MSP, Humza Yousaf because I did not want to receive yet another form letter from a civil servant which may or may not touch on the points I made.
    I used to believe that one of the real benefits of the Scottish Parliament was the accessibility of the MSPs and therefore, as I thought, the easier it would be to actually hold them to account. This Scottish Government has raised ignoring the wishes of the electorate to a level I would never have believed possible ten years ago.
    I have supported Independence since I was a girl, sixty years ago now. I am questioning what the Scottish Government accomplishes and wondering if it is worth the work and effort put into achieving it. (I am still an Independence supporter and under this Scottish Government I think I will die supporting the cause of Independence.)

  • Frank Waring

    I agree wholeheartedly with what you say, of course, except for the last sentence: this is not a mental health problem, but a simple consequence of the fact that Scottish and indeed English politics has degenerated into the spectator sport of Professional Bullshitting. The game is quite like Mornington Crescent, but not so funny.

  • dearieme

    There’s no point calling these people “fascists” because the word has been drained of all meaning. “Nazis” or “Bolsheviks” are good, clean fun but so exaggerated that the fun soon palls.

    They do remind me of the corrupt trade unions that used to be such a big part of British political life. Maybe the best comparison I can come up with at the moment is the US hoodlum-politician gang referred to as Tammany Hall.

    “Tammany Hall [was] a powerful political machine that essentially ran New York City …”. Promising start.

    “Tammany Hall began modestly as a patriotic and social club …”. Even more promising.

    “they were rewarded, in what became known as the spoils system …”. You don’t say.
    “Neighborhood toughs would be employed …”. Nae doot.
    “Corruption in the administration of the city also became a running theme …”. Aye.
    “Despite this constant atmosphere of scandal …”: That’s familiar.

    “[Boss] Tweed and his “ring” demanded payoffs from contractors who did business with the city, and it was estimated that Tweed personally amassed millions of dollars.” No mention of recreational vehicles though.

    “The Tweed Ring was so brazen that it invited its own downfall.” Ah, is that where the analogy breaks down?

    • Tom Welsh

      “There’s no point calling these people “fascists” because the word has been drained of all meaning”.

      Adequate, I believe, would be the simple “cynical, violent, authoritarian thugs”.

      Ideology is completely irrelevant. As O’Brien tells Winston Smith in “1984”,

      “We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power”.

      In many countries today we see persecution, torture, and all sorts of violence in pursuit of power over others – the greatest thrill of all for some human beings.

      • Carl

        Haha, Orwell compiled lists of state enemies for state intelligence agencies. That was when he wasn’t writing anti-socialist novels. Today he’d have a column in the New Statesman and be trying to get selected as a parliamentary candidate for Starmer’s Labour.

      • mark cutts

        Tom Welsh.

        ” The object of persecution is persecution ”

        The object of persecution is to instill fear.

        All dictators of left or right are fond of the illusion that their ‘ fear ‘ can last forever and thereby never be undermined – revolted against
        and overtuned.

        Now – if any would be Dictator cares to have a look at the remaining books that they didn’t burn for fear of being read and understood the actuality in the writings that basically nothing last forever – not even Boris Johnson.


        Because there are 7 billion people on the planet and the only arse cover any State has is the Military.

        Just like democracy has to be affordable then the military that protects the sate in question has to be affordable and in history various dictators have neglected to pony up.

        Afghanistan as a case in point where when the US and their Toy Poodle the UK legged it the military were nowhere to be seen as they hadn’nt been paid by their overseas Benevolent Dictators from across the seas.

        As far as I can see the Democratic Dictators are getting the wind up because the BRICS countries and their followers and co traders aren’t just talking about changing the world they appear to be getting on with changing the world.

        Unlike the West they have a plan.

        The West’s plan is to carry on in the old Neo – Liberal way and hope that the voters in the Democratic Dictatorship somehow don’t notice that their lives are falling rapidly into abyss.

        I’m not a Psychiatrist or Psychologist but I’m sure that they would call this type of behaviour as ‘ delusional’

        The lack of Juries and the English Parliament’s refusal to recognise Scottish Law when it is voted on by The Scottish Parliament is only one of many anti Democratic policies heading our way worldwide nevermind in the UK.

        AI is not the thing to fear – the people that AI draws its information from is the thing to fear.

        I mean the BBC – Wikipedia and so on.

        AI won’t lie to you deliberately but historians – the media in general and writers like Orwell will be trawled by AI for their info.

        The question is: has anything really changed vis a vis being lied to?

        Same tune – different piano for myself I think.

    • Johnny Conspiranoid

      “They do remind me of the corrupt trade unions that used to be such a big part of British political life.”
      I don’t see the resemblance myself.

    • U Watt

      The Scottish government attempt to end trial by jury stems from the thwarting of their plot to imprison a genuine champion of independence. The most famous one. Have you even heard of Alex Salmond?

    • glenn_nl

      With all due respect, this is not an exclusively pro-independence site (although, in fairness, you could be forgiven for mistaking it for one at times).

      There are a few of us here who aren’t particularly invested in Scottish independence one way or the other.

  • DarrenH

    Sentence first—verdict afterwards !

    The Scottish legal system has seemed quite troubling seen from this side of the pond over the past few years.

  • Pears Morgaine

    I’ve just finished jury service, finished yesterday, a case of sexual assault on a vulnerable 82 year old widow. In his summing up the judge thanked us and explained how 12 people were always going to make better decisions than one and that the jury was ‘the best machine for justice we have’. Like a lot of rape cases there was no hard evidence, no DNA or forensics and no eye-witnesses, just her word against his and since the offence she’s sadly become affected by dementia and was unable to come to court and give evidence. All we had was a video of her police interview, not given under oath.

    Unsurprisingly his defence was outright denial which left us to determine who was telling the truth ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ on very little evidence. The police investigation had been desultory to the point of non-existant. We all had sleepless nights over the case and were psychologically affected afterwards. Not just by the harrowing details of the case but by the weight of responsibility and the consequences of getting it wrong. Are we about to ruin the life of an innocent by sending him to prison or release guilty party to re-offend? Maybe in the future it’ll be done by AI.

    Guilty by unanimous verdict by the way. Yet to be sentenced.

  • Perry Mason

    We know the other extreme, the opposite pole from ‘juries’. That is when the Great Leader of the nation decides and decrees the verdict. The judges and the prosecutors all fall into line, and do their parts. That of course is not ‘justice’. It is what we see in this world today, where people with power try to say that juries can not be trusted to come up with the correct result. We see this with the Donald Trump style of ruling, where the government tells the justice system what the outcome should be. We also see if from the ‘new left’ with their cries that if a woman makes a charge, they must be believed and the guilty quickly convicted. Neither of these tendencies is heading towards justice and fairness. Juries were an attempt to limit such arbitrary power. Which is why juries are under attack in both the UK and the USA, where most of those in the world’s largest prison system have never been judged by a jury. When the powerful decide that they know what is ‘right’, then juries become an impediment that must be removed if the trains are going to run on time.

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