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
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 2 Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
- 3 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 4 Refugee crisis: Aylan's life was full of fear - in death, he is part of 'humanity washed ashore'
- 5 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 100,000 back our campaign
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up