Edward Colston statue pulled down

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Fishnut
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Fishnut » Thu Jan 06, 2022 8:39 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Thu Jan 06, 2022 8:34 pm
To be fair, a senior police officer has to say that.
He's not a police officer, he's the Police and Crime Commissioner - a politician.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:07 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Thu Jan 06, 2022 8:39 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Thu Jan 06, 2022 8:34 pm
To be fair, a senior police officer has to say that.
He's not a police officer, he's the Police and Crime Commissioner - a politician.
Ah, my mistake.

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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Fishnut » Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:28 pm

This is a really good piece from the Secret Barrister. I'd quote from it but I'd just end up sharing the whole thing so just go read it.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Millennie Al » Fri Jan 07, 2022 1:00 am

One problem with the acquittal does not sem to be mentioned yet. It arises from the fact that a person is entitled to use reasonable force to prevent the commission of a crime. In future, if some group of protesters are doing something which might reasonably be considered criminal damage, then a second group who oppose the first could try to stop them by force. Normally, we rely on the law and politcics to sort out disagreements. If someone proposes removing a statue, an opponent might attempt to get an injunction or have a suitable body vote on the matter. However, if people think that there will be no legal remedy, then they will be well motivated to oppose by force. And the same principles apply to any trial they would face. If they can convince a jury that they believed that they were preventing a crime then they would be acquitted too. So it risks a switch from political and law into violence.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Woodchopper » Fri Jan 07, 2022 9:25 am

Millennie Al wrote:
Fri Jan 07, 2022 1:00 am
So it risks a switch from political and law into violence.
As mentioned by fishnut and I upthread there is a long history of juries acquitting people who have been accused of criminal damage as part of protests. This incident hasn't changed very much and it hasn't created a legal precedent.

Those previous rare instances don't appear to have led to mob violence. So this one probably won't have either.

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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by nekomatic » Fri Jan 07, 2022 10:28 am

Fishnut wrote:
Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:28 pm
This is a really good piece from the Secret Barrister. I'd quote from it but I'd just end up sharing the whole thing so just go read it.
Yep, this.

It also contains a couple of great laughs, if you were worried it might be too dry or something.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Jan 07, 2022 11:13 am

lpm wrote:
Thu Jan 06, 2022 2:14 pm
Rogue juries are fun but we don't really want too many of them.
I doubt this was a rogue jury - I think pretty much any group of 12 people would've made the same call (as they have done in the past). It was a stupid attempted prosecution to have wasted public money on in the first place.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Fishnut » Fri Jan 07, 2022 11:32 am

FFS. The decision is apparently so "confusing" to those in power that the Attorney General is considering an appeal. I don't know if this means they could face a retrial or what but the fact that this is even being considered is deeply troubling.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Jan 07, 2022 11:34 am

Jesus Christ. Why waste effort on racist statues?

They've already changed the law to criminalise protests going forward. Just makes them look like sore losers (and fascists).
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Fishnut » Fri Jan 07, 2022 11:38 am

Reading the article I don't think it will affect the judgement if they do this (though I may be wrong) but it is a huge waste of time and money. It says to me that they don't like the way the jury decided so will try and make it that they can't decide that way in the future. Even though, as has been pointed out, juries have the right to acquit and have done so in cases similar to this in the past.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Tessa K » Fri Jan 07, 2022 11:41 am

nekomatic wrote:
Fri Jan 07, 2022 10:28 am
Fishnut wrote:
Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:28 pm
This is a really good piece from the Secret Barrister. I'd quote from it but I'd just end up sharing the whole thing so just go read it.
Yep, this.

It also contains a couple of great laughs, if you were worried it might be too dry or something.
Excellent.

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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Fishnut » Fri Jan 07, 2022 11:53 am

GB News accused of prejudicing Colston Four trial.
In a statement, Judge Blair said he had decided not refer GB News to the attorney general over the potential contempt of court: “The swift response of GB News in seeking to remedy the position when my concerns came to their attention, the promise of undertaking further focused training of journalists on matters of ‘contempt of court’ and their frank acknowledgment of their errors are, in my view, sufficient and proportionate steps to reflect their culpability on this occasion.”
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by lpm » Fri Jan 07, 2022 12:13 pm

Tessa K wrote:
Fri Jan 07, 2022 11:41 am
nekomatic wrote:
Fri Jan 07, 2022 10:28 am
Fishnut wrote:
Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:28 pm
This is a really good piece from the Secret Barrister. I'd quote from it but I'd just end up sharing the whole thing so just go read it.
Yep, this.

It also contains a couple of great laughs, if you were worried it might be too dry or something.
Excellent.
It's a good example of Expert's Fallacy.

Secret Barrister takes the law and works forward to potential verdicts.

When in reality the jury, or more likely a couple of persuaders on the jury, will have started with the chosen verdict and worked backwards to cherry pick legal reasons. And, further, probably used non legal and non case related arguments as persuasion.

The Secret Barrister is therefore talking nonsense. And more interestingly, knows it. He or she knows it was silly verdict - but wants to give it a veneer of legal respectability and has plenty of law to fashion fig leaves with.

This is just human bias in action, and before we celebrate that bias in giving us a verdict we personally like, we should also remember this bias is why a young black man is more likely to be found guilty of a mugging and why a sexually promiscuous victim is more likely to see her rapist declared innocent.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by noggins » Fri Jan 07, 2022 12:39 pm

I see you are in one of your contrarian semi-bollocks moods Go have lunch and reconsider.

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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Jan 07, 2022 12:43 pm

The Torification of lpm is one of the most troubling examples of lockdown radicalisation.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by headshot » Fri Jan 07, 2022 12:49 pm

Attorney general ‘considering’ referring Colston statue case to appeal court
Suella Braverman says she is thinking about unusual move, after Tory outcry over protesters’ acquittal.

The attorney general has said she is “carefully considering” whether to refer the Colston statue case to the court of appeal after a jury cleared four protesters of criminal damage over the toppling of the monument.

Suella Braverman announced she was contemplating what would be a highly unusual move after an outcry from Conservative MPs following the jury’s verdict on Wednesday. The former cabinet minister Robert Jenrick suggested the rule of law had been undermined while Tom Hunt, a vice-chair of the parliamentary Common Sense Group, said he was “deeply concerned by the precedent set here”, despite jury decisions not setting legal precedents.
Cool, cool, cool.

I hope they're looking forward to political interference in trials when they're out of power. Perhaps when they're on trial for corruption during Covid.

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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by lpm » Fri Jan 07, 2022 12:57 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri Jan 07, 2022 12:43 pm
The Torification of lpm is one of the most troubling examples of lockdown radicalisation.
The opposite!

I'm highlighting the fact that a rogue jury delivered a perverse verdict. That's great when done sparingly. For lols if nothing else.

You morons are spoiling that with silly legalese. If you pretend this was some rational legal process you miss the entire message sent by the jury.

Some of the earnest "legal" reasons presented are objectively hilarious. "The value of the statue was increased as a result of chucking it in the harbour". That's just fab.

It's like one of those brainstorming sessions when you play it for laughs and the tedious people in the group get annoyed with you. "Let's claim the statue was indecent!" "I've warned you before to take this seriously, lpm, now get out."
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Jan 07, 2022 1:11 pm

The defence lawyers have certainly been throwing some hilarious shade on the racist statue.

But from what I've read it does seem fair enough that this specific case shouldn't be considered criminal damage, so I'm not sure I'd call the verdict "silly". AFAICT chucking a controversial racist statue in the sea as part of an anti-racism protest is an ok thing to do, and I'm fine with that.

ETA I may have gone too far by calling you Torificated - sorry.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by wilsontown » Fri Jan 07, 2022 1:18 pm

Since we don't know what the reasoning of the jury was, I don't see how it can be concluded that the verdict is "perverse". It's also impossible to divine what "message" the jury was trying to send, if any.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Woodchopper » Fri Jan 07, 2022 1:35 pm

I don't think that the verdict is perverse.

But the protestors clearly got off because the jury sympathized with their cause. I'm fine with that as one of the reasons for having trial by jury is that in exceptional circumstances people can be acquitted even though they have clearly committed a crime. Juries are supposed to be able to bring in what they consider to be natural justice rather than administer the law.

I also don't buy the legal sophistry. I can't see any reason why they would have been acquitted if they had chucked a non-controversial statue into the water. That would just have been vandalism.

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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by science_fox » Fri Jan 07, 2022 1:54 pm

In an unlikely turn of events Ress-Mogg says something more reasonable than his Tory colleagues https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-59893024
"Juries must be free to come to decisions that they choose to come to on the facts that are in front of them in relation to a specific case and what they hear from the prosecuting counsel, from the defence counsel and from the judge," he said.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by dyqik » Fri Jan 07, 2022 2:18 pm

lpm wrote:
Fri Jan 07, 2022 12:13 pm
Tessa K wrote:
Fri Jan 07, 2022 11:41 am
nekomatic wrote:
Fri Jan 07, 2022 10:28 am


Yep, this.

It also contains a couple of great laughs, if you were worried it might be too dry or something.
Excellent.
It's a good example of Expert's Fallacy.

Secret Barrister takes the law and works forward to potential verdicts.

When in reality the jury, or more likely a couple of persuaders on the jury, will have started with the chosen verdict and worked backwards to cherry pick legal reasons. And, further, probably used non legal and non case related arguments as persuasion.

The Secret Barrister is therefore talking nonsense. And more interestingly, knows it. He or she knows it was silly verdict - but wants to give it a veneer of legal respectability and has plenty of law to fashion fig leaves with.

This is just human bias in action, and before we celebrate that bias in giving us a verdict we personally like, we should also remember this bias is why a young black man is more likely to be found guilty of a mugging and why a sexually promiscuous victim is more likely to see her rapist declared innocent.
Many of these arguments were put to the jury by the lawyers, and the judge's instructions to the jury included some elements of the reasoning in this blog. The jury would have been listening. They may not have understood fully, but it's likely that they did take away some of the points made in the Secret Barrister's post, and so were aware that they could apply this reasoning, even if it was post-hoc rationalization.

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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Fri Jan 07, 2022 2:24 pm

The legal arguments is exactly what allowed the acquittal to happen. Clearly the arguments can't be sophistry because they were made in front of a judge whose job it is to disallow sophistry, and those arguments won the case. Yes, juries can acquit regardless of the reasoning, but I'd be surprised if that was the case here. There are two main reasons for acquitting people from a criminal damage charge:

1. The defendants had a lawful excuse for the damage
2. It is unnecessary and disproportionate to convict them

Both of these are full, legal rights we all have. For the first one, the defences mounted here are:

a. Preventing a crime - either due to the statue being an indecent display (the law for this is not very specific and no definition of "indecent" is given), or the public display of the statue being abusive and therefore an offence against public order. The use of a lawful excuse doesn't require the defendants to prove that a crime definitely was being committed, just that they believed it was.

b. They believed the owner agreed to the act. Again, the defendant need not prove the owner did agree - the prosection must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendants did not believe the owner agreed.

All of the laws mentioned here were put in place by Conservative governments. None is younger than 35 years. That's quite a time period and a hell of a lot of convictions to only now start deciding that a law is defective.

None of us will ever know why the jury decided as they did, but I reckon that a good guess at what happened is a balance between both points: that on the first point, they maybe felt that the excuses weren't brilliant, that the display of the statue wasn't reasonably able to be seen as criminal, but it certainly was very offensive to many people to display, with no benefit to anyone to allow it to remain. Which is where the second point comes in - that even if the act was criminal, it wasn't sufficiently concerning to be worth a conviction, because no one lost out and many people benefitted.

Given the long trend for this to happen in similar cases, it's hardly a surprise and not evidence of the jury having made a mistake. The reasons for acquittal are clear, and the verdict is in line with them.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Jan 07, 2022 2:37 pm

The specifics of this particular statue also seem to be central to the case - it was venerating a man notable only for his prodigious human trafficking and serving as a tangible symbol of historical racism's power over the present.

Even a juror who disagreed with the act of pulling down the statue during a protest could probably be persuaded that doing so wasn't criminal damage - I don't think we necessarily have to assume that the defendants lucked out with a panel of BLM supporters.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by lpm » Fri Jan 07, 2022 2:45 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Fri Jan 07, 2022 1:35 pm
I don't think that the verdict is perverse.

But the protestors clearly got off because the jury sympathized with their cause. I'm fine with that as one of the reasons for having trial by jury is that in exceptional circumstances people can be acquitted even though they have clearly committed a crime. Juries are supposed to be able to bring in what they consider to be natural justice rather than administer the law.
Er... that's the very definition of a perverse verdict.

It's when a jury reckons the defendant is guilty per the letter of the law, but considers the spirit of the law or natural justice to be more valuable than the letter of the law.

Essentially all this Secret Barrister type legal stuff is arguing from a conservative standpoint. It's taking the letter of the law and arguing that the verdict remains in line with the letter of the law. The legal system thus stays sound and the universe remains rational. Small c conservatives can still sleep easy.

But it's the opposite. This verdict is a radical act. It's a rejection of lawyers in wigs and their weighty books of law. It's an embracing of chaos. A defiance of the smallness of law compared to the vastness of justice. It's poetry, man. Don't diminish the greatness of the poetry by turning it into a mathematical analysis of metre and rhyme. Keep those conservatives restless with uncertainty.
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