Campaigning group Defend Our Juries (DOJ) is planning a mass sit-down in the high court in London on 21 February to challenge the government’s attempt to remove the defence of ‘consent’, used by Palestine Action activists recently to win acquittals (see previous page).
This follows actions outside more than 50 crown courts across England and Wales on 4 December: 500 activists held signs defending the right of juries to reach their own verdicts, independently of the instructions they receive from judges.
DOJ calls this longstanding right ‘jury equity’; it is also known as ‘jury nullification’, meaning that the jury has the right to ‘nullify’ or ignore a judge’s directions.
The 4 December protests were the fourth wave of actions organised by Defend Our Juries, following demos outside courts in May, July and September.
DOJ was started to support Trudi Warner, a 68 year-old retired social worker, who was arrested for holding a sign outside the Inner London crown court, explaining jury’s rights.
Trudi was supporting the right of juries to acquit fellow Insulate Britain activists on trial at the court, if jury members’ consciences led them in that direction – even if instructed to convict by judges. She is likely to be prosecuted at the high court this year.