Caroline Lucas, MP and Green leader, declared her support for seven acquitted campaigners who caused £180,000 damage to an arms factory, backing their direct action.
Now the judge whose summing up was investigated for bias has been issued a formal reprimand. Active Green member Isca Stieglitz was one of those who complained. She posts the response in full on her blog at the Jewish Chronicle.
“I am writing on behalf of the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice to inform you of their decision in relation to your complaint against His Honour Bathurst-Norman.
You complained that the Judge’s comments during his summing up to the jury displayed a personal bias, that he was not impartial and that he swayed the jury improperly.
A number of complaints were received on this matter and the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice have decided that they should be resolved in accordance with Regulation 26(1)(e)(i) of the Judicial Discipline (Prescribed Procedures) Regulations 2006 (as amended) on the basis that the complaints are substantiated wholly or in part. The Lord Chief Justice has exercised his disciplinary powers and, with the agreement of the Lord Chancellor, has issued the Judge with a formal reprimand. They found that a number of observations made during the summing up did not arise directly from the evidence at trial and could be seen as an expression of the judge’s personal views on a political question. This was an error.
In coming to this decision the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice have considered the details of the complaints made, the comments of His Honour Bathurst-Norman and the advice of the Nominated Judge. The decision does not affect nor seek to comment upon the outcome of the trial and the verdict reached by the jury in the case.”
Given that the purpose of a summing up is to direct the jury’s attention to the most important aspects of a case, we can reasonably suppose that Judge Bathurst-Norman influenced the jury to some extent. And as Jonathan Hoffman observes, all of this has cost the public a lot of money.