I despair. The right to trial by jury has protected Englishmen from an over-mighty state since long before democracy was born. Combined with the Great Writ of habeas corpus, it meant you could not be detained without trial and that your trial must be by 12 independent jurors. For most of the last 400 years, those jurors were required to decide unanimously that you were guilty. If they couldn’t, you were acquitted. The odds were loaded against the state and in favour of the citizen. Guilty men went free, that’s true. But (though nothing human is perfect) the odds of an innocent man being convicted were reassuringly small.
In the last century, in the wake of jury-nobbling scandals, majority verdicts were introduced. Even then, some thought that the state should do more to protect jurors, rather than implicitly accept that criminals could intimidate them. The efficiency of the justice system was put before the ancient rights of free Englishmen. Those who saw it as “a slippery slope” were dismissed as old fashioned.
I support the restoration of the absolute right to trial by jury and I am delighted that Dominic Raab, author of The Assault on Liberty, is also a Conservative PPC.