Photos show protestors at Lewes Crown Court: ‘the public won’t stand for the important role of jurors being made a mockery of’

Sussex protestors took part in a campaign on Monday, December 4, to defend the historic role of juries.

The campaigners from Defend Our Juries held signs outside Lewes Crown Court from 8.45am to 10am, joining hundreds of others across the country.

The group said the signs displayed ‘the centuries-old principle’ of ‘jury equity’, which they said is the right of all jurors in British courtrooms to acquit a defendant ‘according to their conscience and irrespective of the directions of the judge’.

Dinah Pryor, a retired teacher from Seaford, said: “I consider protecting the right to a trial by an informed jury is an important enough reason to sit outside the courts on a cold December day.”

She said she is concerned this right could be denied by judges if they prevent peaceful protesters from talking about their motivations and if they do not not remind jurors that they have a right to acquit on their conscience.

Claire Duc, a home energy advisor from Lewes, said: “It is vitally important that defendants can tell the court what their motivation for their action was.”

She said: “The right of juries to acquit a defendant according to their conscience has been enshrined in British Law for centuries, and we must protect it. I am here to send a clear message to Judges that the public won’t stand for the important role of jurors being made a mockery of.”

On its campaign website Defend Our Juries said juries are a vital safeguard against potential ‘tyrannical abuse of power by politicians, ministers and those in positions of authority in our courts’.

A group spokesperson said: “The demonstrations come amid mounting public concern that political trials, such as the trial over the toppling of the statue of the slave-trader Edward Colston into Bristol harbour, are being turned into show trials, after a succession of jury acquittals have embarrassed the Government and certain corporate interests.”