Wednesday, December 03, 2008

British Justice, Best Inna World!

The inquest into the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes by armed police at Stockwell tube station has reached the end of the evidence bit and is now over to the jury for them to render their verdict. To save the blushes of the police, the armed response wing of which tends to turn into three year olds and scream and sulk every time there is any danger that they might get prosecuted for killing innocent people in cold blood, the coroner has directed that the jury are not allowed to return a verdict that he was illegally killed by the police.

Never mind that people say the police broke the rules and gave no warning, never mind that police admitted the command structure for such a situation was unclear, never mind the police have been found to be tampering with evidence. At the start of this whole thing the coroner told the jury to forget everything they've seen, heard or read about the case. What was the point of that if he wasn't going to allow them a free choice?

Something that I believe I picked up from the late Robert Anton Wilson was the idea that, in American courts, if the judge directs a jury to make a particular decision, they are not legally required to follow it, they could be told to find someone not guilty but could still return a verdict of guilty. I wonder if the British inquest courts also have that rule?

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