What this means for the law...

By Jonathan Goldberg, October 14, 2010

Although I was one of the complainants against this judge, I take no pleasure whatever in the moral victory of the formal reprimand.

It must be understood that you cannot criticise any judge for summing up the evidence actually called in the trial, however flawed or prejudiced that evidence seems.

At the Hove trial, the defence called every type of pro-Palestinian propagandist in the guise of "expert", whereas the prosecution countered with no evidence whatever for the Israeli side.

Worse, they appear to have done an ineffective job in arguing that these nakedly political issues should be ruled legally irrelevant anyway. There were legal avenues which the prosecution could and should have explored in order for the Court of Appeal to have ruled this evidence irrelevant at a preliminary hearing.

Thus, much legitimate criticism attaches, in my view, to the prosecution's ineptitude. Thereafter, however, the judge could not resist jumping into the arena with his own political opinions, which went beyond the evidence called. The jury can have been left in no doubt that the judge himself was urging them to acquit.

Some attempt was made to save his face by noting that he had replaced another judge at short notice. In fact, George is enormously experienced in sensitive cases.

Ominously, anyone Googling "Smashedo" can now see that the Hove acquittals are being used as a clarion call to vandalise factories making arms for the war in Afghanistan.

Last updated: 2:26pm, November 8 2010