LETTER: Juries and race
Monday 12 April 1999
Juries and race
Sir: The Government's commitment to an anti-racist criminal justice system has hardly lasted more than a few weeks. No sooner has the ink dried on the official response to the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, than the Home Office has restarted its whispering campaign to limit the right of defendants to elect jury trial (report, 3 April).
Such a move would severely undermine the efforts of black defendants to fight one form of institutional racism in the police. This is the tendency - well documented in Home Office and other research - for black people to be "over-charged", only to have the charges against them later reduced or dropped when they plead not guilty and elect for jury trial. It is just this type of charge reduction that lies behind the decision of many defendants, having elected jury trial, to change their plea to guilty.
To seek to limit the right to jury trial will only serve to reinforce the police in their racist charging practices and leave many black defendants vulnerable to unfair convictions before magistrates.
Professor LEE BRIDGES
Director, Legal Research Institute
The University of Warwick
Arts & Ents blogs
Never before seen personal accounts of Great War offer vivid picture of life at the Front
Neil Patrick Harris talks shooting 'robotic' Gone Girl sex scene with Rosamund Pike
Boy George: Bad karma
PonoMusic: Neil Young reaches Kickstarter target to fund new music player within a day
Disney's Frozen is 'very evil' gay propaganda, says Christian pastor
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
- 1 Hells of residence: Inside Macedonia's horrifying student accommodation - where the walls are green and the food is black
- 2 Rachel Canning: US teenager returns home after she tried to sue her parents for child support
- 3 Girl found in the Amazon rainforest with neighbour Grover Morales after going missing for 7 months
- 4 Rampaging elephant smashes up house but then 'saves crying baby trapped under debris'
- 5 Disney's Frozen is 'very evil' gay propaganda, says Christian pastor