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I moved from dank, dark North Manchester, U.K. to Karmiel, Western Galilee, Israel in March 2010. It is, believe me, one of the sunniest, loveliest towns on earth. With a background in local Jewish journalism I continue to write freelance. I manage several blogs, have  appeared on Technorati and Blogcritics and now contribute to the online magazine, 'Live Encounters'. My main blog is Alwayswriteagain (http://wwwalwayswriteagain.blogspot.com

Monday, 5 July 2010

Deaf, Dumb But Certainly Not Blind!

According to legend, M'Lady Justice is blind while the Law is "an ass".

The Old BaileyYet the statue above the Old Bailey Central Criminal Court of Justice in London  is not blindfolded even if those meting out justice there are most often blinkered.

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’.

JOSHUA.ROZENBERG 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'.

MELANIE.PHILLIPS 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.

JUDGE.GEORGE.BATHURST.NORMAN 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 ...?


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