I am alarmed by the Government’s intention to refer the Colston Four acquittals to the Court of Appeal because they don’t like the jury’s decision. Instead the Government should respect that verdict and move on.
For me, a jury decision is sacrosanct. It provides that crucial element of common sense in a system of justice that has become too professionalized and too remote from common perceptions of right and wrong. No wonder judges and politicians hate it. They hate the fact that the State does not always get everything its own way.
I knew at the outset that the Colston Four would be acquitted. Because that would have been my verdict. And I’m sure it would have been yours. So why was anyone taken by surprise? Whose idea was it to spend tens of thousands of pounds on a prosecution which could only end in embarrassment?
I would advocate a move to an American-style District Attorney system where chief prosecutors are held locally accountable for their decisions and use of public resources. At least they would get their priorities right.