High Court rejects Arthurs’ challenge to non-jury trial ruling

I noted in May the start of “prominent Co Tyrone republican” Brian Arthurs’ legal challenge to the ruling that he should stand trial in a non-jury court, on charges of converting criminal property and obtaining a money transfer by deception.  The original case against Arthurs collapsed in August 2008 when the judge ruled that the Public Prosecution Service had failed to provide any evidence to the court.  The BBC reports today that the High Court has rejected Brian Arthurs’ legal challenge

The panel of three High Court judges ruled there was no evidence that the DPP had failed to approach his task correctly.

Lord Justice Girvan said the DPP had “ample material… which entitled him to reach the conclusion which he did”.

The judge said there was no basis “for considering that he left out of account relevant considerations or took into account irrelevant ones”.

He added: “The director had to act fairly in the sense of reaching a dispassionate decision based on some material which led him rationally to form a suspicion that one or more of the conditions was satisfied and that there was a risk that the administration of justice might be impaired if the trial were conducted with a jury.

According to the report, Mr and Mrs Arthurs’ solicitor, Kevin Winters, said they planned to appeal the ruling.

“The case will now go to the Supreme Court and it will be next year sometime before it is heard,” he said.

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  • It is worth reconsidering the integrity behind the creation of what became known as the Diplock System of justice.

    Lord Diplock cited two primary reasons for his determination that jury trials should be suspended, 1) danger of perverse acquittals , and, 2) Jurists had been threatened, “of which we have had ample evidence ”.(RE: Lord Diplock, Report of the Commission to consider legal procedures to deal with terrorist activities in Northern Ireland, paras 36 & 37)

    Two years later Lord Gardiner’s review unconvincingly attempted to bolster Diplock’s findings as follows;
    We are convinced on the evidence that we have received, that if juries were to be reintroduced for scheduled offences, their verdicts would still be subject to the influences of intimidation, or the fear of it. We have no evidence of this or of perversity in juries… (RE: Greer & White: Abolishing The Diplock Courts, page 91: Report of a Committee to consider, in the context of civil liberties and human rights, measures to deal with terrorism in Northern Ireland, Per Lord Gardener.)

    If the prosecution case previously collapsed for lack of evidence then what has changed? If the Prosecution has “ample material” then why can the defendants not test its veracity? There can be no equal justice in NI when the kind of trial a man gets depends on how the Director of the PPS rates his chances in front of a jury…. and he can despatch the jury from the courtroom if his case is weak.

  • lamhdearg

    Diplock is wrong. put him on trial somewhere else in the United Kingdom (kent?) where a jury will be non partisan.