Jurisdiction & Jury Nullification
Chapter Version 1.1 [19MAR2013]
In this Chapter I need to pick up some threads – of things I have previously discussed. In a previous Chapter I discussed “Law”, what it is, and what it is not. I explained (I hope, rationally) that Law was the immutable Laws of the Universe, the most obvious one being the Law of Gravity. But there are others which are almost as obvious, for example the Laws of Motion, as expressed by Sir Isaac Newton.
And I then proceeded to outline The Common Law, alluding to that as being almost as immutable, by virtue of its basis in Common Sense. And I also concluded that Statutes, based on Acts of Parliament, could never be considered to be “Law” – even though they are constantly and continually referred to as such – this being a collective mistake. A deliberate mistake, I suggest, in order to imbue the immutable qualities of Law on to Statutes, thus rendering Statutes as (conceptually) being fixed “In Tablets of Stone”.
But they are not. Statutes can be repealed. Thus any immutability that may have been conceptually assigned, is utterly fake. Apart from which, they are created by two Houses of Parliament, which comprises a very small group of people (relative to the UK as a whole), and without any guarantee of any “Common Sense” being involved in the creation process. Do you really think those people, who talk so much utter rubbish in public, suddenly become geniuses when they vote according to “Party Policy”, under the so-called “Whipping system”?
Well, no they don’t. They are as ignorant within the chamber of the House of Commons, as they are arrogant and/or naive outside. And, of course, you know that.
But many Statutes refer to themselves as “Law”. Indeed, in the previous article, I referenced one that euphemistically calls itself the “Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989”. You see? It’s actually calls itself “Law”, in its title. They do that. It’s part of the deception.
Why is it a deception? Well, the first reason has already been given: Law is immutable, and the “Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989”, is quite capable of being repealed and replaced by (for example) a “Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013” – if they so chose. Whereas the Law of Gravity cannot be replaced, and neither can your Common Sense or mine.
You could look at this another way. No-one denies that a Statute is “Legislation”. What they do is to erase any distinction between “Legislation” and “Law”, by using those terms interchangeably. They all do it, including (of course) all the Media.
And yet there is another big difference. The difference being how Legislation and Law are actually applied, in Courts. This brings into play the idea of ‘jurisdiction’, there being (roughly speaking) two possibilities, namely “Legislative jurisdiction’ and ‘Common Law jurisdiction’.
‘Legislative jurisdiction’ means that a sitting Judge, or a Bench of Magistrates, are awarded the ability to come to decisions based upon (solely) the ‘wording of Statutes’. In this case ‘judgement of the Statute itself’ (i.e. whether or not it is fair and reasonable) is not allowed.
‘Common Law jurisdiction’ means that a Jury of 12 seconded, ordinary, people sit in judgement of an Accused individual, and reach a Verdict, based on the evidence placed before it. In this case ‘judgement of the Statutes themselves’ is allowed, such that a Jury is fully entitled to ignore a Statute – if it feels that the Statute is wrong or unjust. This being what is known as ‘Jury Nullification’, which has happened many times in the past and – indeed – even in the last few years, viz: the Inquests into the deaths of Princess Diana and of Ian Tomlinson, and also the Trial of Muad’Dib. By means of Jury Nullification, any Provision of any Statute can be overturned by a Jury’s Verdict. It just takes the right circumstances, and the right arguments and evidence placed before the Jury (and to ensure that the Jury isn’t ‘knobbled’- something Judges are prone to do, via a biased ‘Summing Up’).
Those are the two main jurisdictions. They are distinguished immediately by the presence or absence of a Jury. Where a Jury is not present, the system relies entirely upon a Judge or Magistrates Bench. This, of course, is a recipe for tyranny. Does that explain quite a lot?
For those who have not studied the UK Courts system, and don’t really grasp the differences, there are Magistrates Courts, County Courts, Crown Courts and High Courts. (There are also Appeal Courts, which tend to come under the umbrella of High Courts).
Crown Courts and some High Courts (e.g. the Old Bailey) are Common Law Courts (or, at least, they are supposed to be!) The problem is that Judges think they can tell a Jury what to do – even though that is strictly debarred by The Common Law. It’s very simple: “If the Jury is simply there to rubber-stamp what a Judge tells them, then there is absolutely no point to the presence of the Jury”. All the time, trouble and expense of requisitioning and convening the Jury is wasted – if they simply rubber-stamp on the Judge’s orders. So, while such ‘pseudo-tyranny’ takes place, there are no real Common Law Courts remaining. However (as I said) now and again – usually when the bias against the Accused is too blatant to ignore – Juries have been known to do their job properly. Common Law Courts are – primarily – employed for serious CRIMES – however (due to a historical ‘quirk’) they are also employed for the CIVIL matters of libel and slander.
There are no other kinds of Common Law Courts. All the others, namely County Courts (for CIVIL Claims, including the Small Claims Courts) and Magistrates Courts (for ‘Summary CRIMINAL’ Hearings) have only ‘Legislative jurisdiction’. Which means ‘tyranny rules the day’. Even in the case of a Bench of three Magistrates, the two at the side will be simply ‘nodding dogs’ to the ‘chair’ in the middle. A Magistrates Court also forms the sole route to a Crown Court Trial.
However, going back to the essence of The Common Law, in Crown Courts, the real job of the Judge is restricted to that of ‘referee’. To impartially ensure that all evidence placed before the Jury meets the standards of true and valid evidence, namely first-hand knowledge – no ‘hearsay’. And Witnesses are required to swear an Oath to “Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” before providing testimony. Thus the essence of The Common Law is fulfilled i.e. that THE TRUTH is the most important thing, in order to decide the outcome.
In all the other Courts this is not so. In Magistrates and County Courts, hearsay is perfectly acceptable. In a County Court no-one takes an Oath, in a Magistrates Court an Oath may- or may not – be taken by Witnesses, but in all cases THE TRUTH is pretty much irrelevant. All that is relevant is the ‘wording of a Statute’, and computer-generated outputs. As I said, it’s a recipe for tyranny.
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