Cuts to justice system cause misery

An open letter to Robert Buckland: In your role as Justice Secretary you need to be supporting the Judiciary and that by implication is the right to a fair trial. Article 39 of Magna Carta clearly gives us the right to trial by jury. This treatise set up an alternative to trial by ordeal, effectively abandoned because the Church banned the participation of clergy in 1215. Trial by ordeal was set out in the Assize of Clarendon and followed the decision by a jury who were tasked with finding out if there was enough reason to bring charges. This was set up by Henry II (John's father). Magna Carta sets out that the jury determines guilt. Sure King John wasn't happy about Magna Carta and reneged on it several times because of dispute with the land owners. However, article 39 is now well established precedent... since 1215.

Here is article 39. I'm sure you speak Latin.

Nullus liber homo capiatur, vel imprisonetur, aut desseisetur de libero tenemento, vel libertatibus, vel liberis consuetudinibus suis, sut utlagetur, aut exuletur, aut aliquo modo destruatur, nec super eum ibimus, nec super eum mittemus, nisi per legale judicium parium suorum, vel per legem terrae.

"nisi per legale judicium parium suorum" = "but by the lawful judgement of his peers"

Your statement that judge-led trials would be a “last resort” in order to shift the backlog of cases and that “if" done it would be "temporary" is frankly not believed, at least by me. The sheer number of lies that are thrown out with little regard by your government is now legendary.

My grandfather served as a Magistrate at Swindon Magistrate Court predominantly on cases involving young people. His name was Roger G. Wiltshire if you want to look it up. I mention this because my family has a history of serving the community from where they come. I take pride in that. I also take pride in the history of justice in this country more broadly. This most recent attempt at removing our erstwhile rights under our fair and respected judicial system is not the first since you have been in Parliament and climbing your way to the most senior judicial post there is. The deep cuts to legal aid justified solely because of austerity have caused the misery and financial ruin of too many to mention.

If your excuse is "we needed to cut the deficit" may I gently point out that there was ample money for bailing the banks out, wasting money on trident (we could have developed our own British system for half the price) or the recent "do whatever it takes" on Covid-19, even though you clearly haven't. Then that £12 million waste for an app that has now been scrapped. Where did that money go exactly?

Forget the poor, the downtrodden or victims of abuse.

Martin Wiltshire

By email

A question of commitment

We write in agreement with Dr. Adam Poole who in his letter of June 23rd ( Hate crime concerns ) questions Robert Buckland MP's sympathies for victims of racism and his support for Boris Johnson, who in the past has shown xenhophobic / racist views towards black people and muslims. Mr. Buckland also supported the appalling mobile billboards wheeled out in London in 2013 that told illegal immigrants to "go back home or face arrest" these billboards led to an upsurge in both verbal and physical attacks on immigrants or perceived immigrants, his failure to condemn the then Prime Minister David Cameron's rhetoric towards immigrants to the UK which again led to a rise in racism across the country leaves us to question Mr. Buckland's commitment to stamping out racism and xenophobia which is prevalent in today's society.

Martin & Mark Webb

Old Town