Bristol residents defend historic role of juries outside Bristol Crown Court

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They show solidarity after a pensioner was arrested for holding a sign outside a court displaying the well-established principle of jury equity.

Local residents sat outside Bristol Crown Court from 8.45 this morning (April 15) with signs displaying the principle of 'jury equity' as part of the Defend Our Juries campaign.

'Jury equity' is "the right of all jurors in British courtrooms to acquit a defendant according to their conscience and irrespective of the directions of the judge."

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By displaying these signs, the group are hoping to show the ridiculous nature of the prosecution against Trudi Warner, a retired social worker, who was arrested for holding a sign outside a court displaying the principle of jury equity.

The permission hearing for the Attorney General’s application to commit Trudi Warner to prison will be heard in the Royal Courts of Justice on Thursday (April 18).

Explaining why she is prepared to risk arrest for this legal principle, local resident Kingsley Belton, 70, a retired speech and language therapist and a Quaker from Nailsea, said: “I’m taking action, sitting outside Bristol Crown Court because I’m very concerned about the erosion of our robust jury system by this Government and by the judges, that are making the decision that somebody standing silently being a human billboard is somehow in contempt of court when all that they are stating is what is down in law since the 1600s. If our basic right to trial by jury is undermined then we cease being a democracy, and rapidly become a much more authoritarian state.”

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Adrienne Preedy, 68 from Bath, shared: “The public is mostly unaware of the dangerous erosion to our democracy that's happened recently, due to banning defendants from explaining their motivations in court. I think most people would agree that it's crazy - and an enormous waste of public money - to prosecute Trudi Warner for having stood up to the judiciary on this. All she did was hold up a sign that literally states the law. Where does it end? We are all Trudi.”

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Dave Ware, 67, a chartered engineer from Bath said: “I can't be a bystander while fellow activists undergo trials where they are banned from telling the jury their truth. Not being allowed to explain the context of an action significantly alters a juror’s perception of it. For example, breaking down a door and entering a house is not breaking and entering if the house is on fire and people in the house need to be rescued. It's vital that the public is made aware of what's going on in our courts. They would be horrified by the prosecution of Trudi for challenging this unfairness.”

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