David Allen Green will do the serious comment on the continuing saga of the #Twitterjoketrial – as he has done since the beginning. [His blog is here ]
My only observation, having read the Guardian piece early this morning, is… that the Rule of Law is actually important in our country – and it really does not help public confidence in our legal system when we have prosecutions based on what was clearly a joke. It is becoming more clear that even the Police and the airport authorities at Robin Hood airport were of that view – not good that some evidence was, apparently, not disclosed at the original trial according to the Guardian report.
Fresh evidence emerged which was not heard at the previous trial that the police noted after Chambers was bailed “there is no evidence at this stage this is anything other than a foolish comment posted on Twitter for only his close friends to see”. But the crown said the conviction should stand and presented evidence that Chambers had sent direct messages to Crazycolours apparently on the terrorist theme.
This is a mess and apart from causing stress to Paul Chambers it is making our legal system look ridiculous. I can only go on what I see reported in the press, in blogs, and on twitter. Unfortunately, so can everyone else…and they will marvel, wonder, mock and ridicule. I suspect there may even be a few *The Law is an Ass* comments – deservedly.
Why don’t we just go back to throwing defendants into the river to see if they float? - it would be cheaper and just as effective if the conduct of this case is anything to go by. I do hope that I don’t give our cost cutting Ministry of Justice any ideas with my last observation.
The tragedy is that there is so much good in our system… but it is cases like this which are remembered by the public – who are not that well disposed to lawyers or, possibly, our system of justice and law. I can’t remember who told me that law only works if people want it to work and respect it….. wasn’t a Russian jurist… they used to think law would wither away under the Marxist system…. and as for those Scandinavian realists and positivism…. way ahead of their (and our/) time!
HLA Hart will be spinning in his grave. And… for non lawyers…HLA Hart was not that guy in the TV ad who kept on popping into a bookshop to see if they had his book on fly fishing.
I assume I am allowed to comment on this matter…. given that it is a matter of public record?