By Stephen Pollard
July 2, 2010
Melanie Phillips is rightly outraged by the grotesque decision of a Hove jury to acquit seven activists who caused £180,000 damage to an arms factory. The reason: because they were anti-Israel protesters.
As she points out, it's the judge's direction which is deeply worrying:
Judge George Bathurst-Norman suggested to the jury that
‘you may well think that hell on earth would not be an understatement
of what the Gazans suffered in that time’.
Let’s get our heads round this, folks: an English judge in an
English court of law effectively directed a jury to acquit people of
criminally smashing up a factory, because he chose to believe Hamas
propaganda about the suffering of people in Gaza during a war about
which he presumably has no knowledge whatever apart from what he has
read or seen in the media – a war, moreover, launched solely to prevent
Gazans from aggressively firing rockets into Israel in order to murder
its civilians, during the course of which war Israel went to heroic
lengths to avoid hurting Gazan civilians who were being put in harm’s
way by Hamas, the true cause of Gaza's 'hell on earth'.
Quite apart from the ignorance and bigotry of Judge George
Bathurst-Norman, what on earth is a judge doing imposing his political
prejudices upon a jury and thus taking the side of the defendants in
the case he is trying – with the result that he effectively directed
the jury to acquit them of a crime?