Craig Murray: Keeping Freedom Alive
Posted by sashimi on August 1, 2021, 10:07 am
1 August 2021 |
I want to make one or two points for you to ponder while I am in jail. This is
the last post until about Christmas; we are not legally able to post anything
while I am imprisoned. But the Justice for Craig Murray Campaign website is now
up and running and will start to have more content shortly. Fora and comments
here are planned to stay open.
I hope that one possible good effect of my imprisonment might be to coalesce
opposition to the imminent abolition of jury trials in sexual assault cases by
the Scottish Government, a plan for which Lady Dorrian - who wears far too many
hats in all this - is front and centre. We will then have a situation where, as
established by my imprisonment, no information at all on the defence case may be
published in case it contributes to "jigsaw identification", and where
conviction will rest purely on the view of the judge.
That is plainly not "open justice", it is not justice at all. And it is even
worse than that, because the openly stated aim of abolishing juries is to
increase conviction rates. So people will have their lives decided not by a jury
of their peers, but by a judge who is acting under specific instruction to
increase conviction rates.
It is often noted that conviction rates in rape trials are too low, and that is
true. But have you ever heard this side of the argument? In Uzbekistan under the
Karimov dictatorship, when I served there, conviction rates in rape trials were
100%. In fact very high conviction rates are a standard feature of all highly
authoritarian regimes worldwide, because if the state prosecutes you then the
state gets what it wants. The wishes of the state in such systems vastly
outweigh the liberty of the individual.
My point is simply this. You cannot judge the validity of a system simply by
high conviction rates. What we want is a system where the innocent are innocent
and the guilty found guilty; not where an arbitrary conviction target is met.
The answer to the low conviction rates in sexual assault trials is not
simple. Really serious increases in resources for timely collection of evidence,
for police training and specialist units, for medical services, for victim
support, all have a part to play. But that needs a lot of money and
thought. Just abolishing juries and telling judges you want them to convict is
of course free, or even a saving.
The right to have the facts judged in serious crime allegations by a jury of our
peers is a glory of our civilisation. It is the product of millennia, not
lightly to be thrown away and replaced by a huge increase in arbitrary state
power. That movement is of course fueled by current fashionable political dogma
which is that the victim must always be believed. That claim has morphed from an
initial meaning that police and first responders must take accusations
seriously, to a dogma that accusation is proof and it is wrong to even question
the evidence, which is of course to deny the very possibility of false
That is precisely the position which Nicola Sturgeon has taken over the Alex
Salmond trial; to be accused is to be guilty, irrespective of the defence
evidence. That people are oblivious to the dangers of the dogma that there
should be no defence against sexual assault allegations, is to me deeply
worrying. Sexual allegation is the most common method that states have used to
attack dissidents for centuries, worldwide and again especially in authoritarian
regimes. Closer to home, think of history stretching from Roger Casement to
Assange and Salmond.
Why would we remove the only barrier - a jury of ordinary citizens - that can
stop abuse of state power?
I am worried that this abolition of juries will have been enacted by the
Scottish Parliament, even before I am out of jail. I am worried Labour and the
Lib Dems will support it out of fashionable political correctness. I am worried
an important liberty will disappear.
I want to touch on one other aspect of liberty in my own imprisonment that
appears not understood, or perhaps simply neglected, because somehow the very
notion of liberty is slipping from our political culture. One point that
features plainly in the troll talking points to be used against me, recurring
continually on social media, is that I was ordered to take down material from my
blog and refused.
There is an extremely important point here. I have always instantly complied
with any order of a court to remove material. What I have not done is comply
with instructions from the Crown or Procurator Fiscal to remove
material. Because it is over 330 years since the Crown had the right of
censorship in Scotland without the intervention of a judge.
It sickens me that so many Scottish Government backed trolls are tweeting out
that I should have obeyed the instructions of the Crown. That Scotland has a
governing party which actively supports the right of the Crown to exercise
unrestrained censorship is extremely worrying, and I think a sign both of the
lack of respect in modern political culture for liberties which were won by
people being tortured to death, and of the sheer intellectual paucity of the
current governing class.
But then we now learn that Scotland has a government which was prepared not only
to be complicit in exempting the Crown from climate change legislation, but also
complicit in hushing up the secret arrangement, so I am not surprised.
What is even more terrifying in my case is that the Court explicitly states that
I should have followed the directions of the Crown Office in what I did and did
not publish, and my failure to not publish as the Crown ordered is an
aggravating factor in my sentencing.
If the Crown thinks something I write is in contempt and I think it is not, the
Crown and I should stand as equals in court and argue our cases. There should be
no presumption I ought to have obeyed the Crown in the first place. That
Scottish "justice" has lost sight of this is disastrous, though perhaps as much
from stupidity as malice.
My next thought on my trial is to emphasise again the dreadful doctrine Lady
Dorrian has now enshrined in law, that bloggers should be held to a different
(by implication higher) standard in law than the mainstream media (the judgement
uses exactly those terms), because the mainstream media is self-regulated.
This doctrine is used to justify jailing me when mainstream media journalists
have not been jailed for media contempt for over half a century, and also to
explain why I have been prosecuted where the mainstream media, who were provably
responsible for far more jigsaw identification, were not prosecuted.
This is dreadful law, and my entire legal team are frankly astonished that the
Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal on this point.
-- Cont'd at https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2021/08/keeping-freedom-alive/