Eroded liberties 5


One of the most fundamental rights which protect our liberties is the right to be tried in front of a jury of your peers. Trial by jury allows your fellow citizens, not the state, to pass judgement on your guilt or innocence. The right ensures that whatever the state might accuse you of, it is ordinary people like yourself who will decide if your guilt has been proved. Juries have often shown good common sense, cutting through legal niceties to deliver just decisions.

The present government has moved systematically to restrict trial by jury. It has pushed for magistrates to decide whether to allow it in some cases, and to remove it altogether in what it terms "complex fraud cases." It was only restrained in its most illiberal moves by a House of Lords vote to defeat a government bill.  The right to trial by jury is another of the liberties which date back to Magna Carta, and which are being eroded by a government with no feeling for the rights which shield citizens from overweening authority.