Quakers Defend Juries’ Right to Conscience

A number of Central England Quakers joined the National Day of support for ‘Defend our Juries’ on Monday 25th September.

Quakers held placards outside Birmingham Crown Court affirming the legal precedent that ‘jurors have an absolute right to acquit a defendant according to their conscience’. This right was first established in 1670, when the Recorder of London tried to compel a jury to convict Quaker preachers William Penn and William Mead for holding an unlawful assembly. However, recently defendants have been banned from mentioning the rights of jurors, or the words ‘climate change’ in relation to non-violent direct action.

A number of activists, including five Quakers, are being investigated for attempting to pervert the course of justice after holding similar placards outside Inner London Crown Court in May. Trudi Warner has been told by Solicitor General Michael Tomlinson KC that she will be prosecuted for contempt of court.

Recording Clerk Paul Parker said: “Quakers respect the laws of the state, but our first loyalty is to God’s purposes. There are times when laws and prosecutions are politically motivated, or an abuse of power, or contrary to natural justice.”

Read more about this issue on the Quakers in Britain website.

Learn more about the Defend our Juries campaign.