According to legend, M'Lady Justice is blind while the Law is "an ass".
The Law can be compassionate and quite neutral while those who administer it too frequently embody the axiom about the corruptive potential of power. Just think of the pecking order in any office and you'll get my drift.
All of which brings me to a story handled this past week by that doughty husband-and-wife act, journalists, Joshua Rozenberg and Melanie Phillips.
They have looked at the extraordinary case of how seven activists who caused £180,000 damage to an arms factory were acquitted after they argued they were seeking to prevent ‘Israeli war crimes’.
It was reported that after the acquittals of the first five that two others were cleared on the direction of Judge George Bathurst Norman while five more were cleared earlier this week and one was found not guilty, also at the instigation of the judge.
During the three-week trial at Hove Crown Court it was said they were acting with "lawful excuse" to prevent further alleged war crimes being committed by Israel against Gaza. This microcosm of legal nicety may be found in Section 5(2)(b) of the Criminal Damage Act 1971 which, says Rozenberg, defines "lawful excuse" to include protecting property and "is clearly designed for the sort of case where a fire-fighter breaks into a building to put out a fire".
After the case, the campaigners said that they believed the company,EDO MBM was breaking export regulations by manufacturing and selling military equipment to the Israel which would then be used in the 'occupied territories'.
Ms Phillips pointed out in her article for The Spectator that Judge Bathurst Norman suggested to the jury that "you may well think that hell on earth would not be an understatement of what the Gazans suffered in that time".
For my part, I suggest the decision to acquit the accused had been made well before the judge came out of retirement to hear the case.
But why would those with power wish to impede the work of an American company based in the U.K. when all know of the best-friendship enjoyed by the U.S. and the U.K. - at least until the Obama administration took office.
As an expert in law, perhaps Mr Rozenberg may advise:
- Whether the Jaffa-born judge had shown judicial bias by misusing a point of law to make a moral issue of a criminal matter.
If so, can he be dragged out of retirement again to have his possible misconduct examined?
Ooh, I do so like a good conspiracy theory. Now, where's my blindfold ...?