Harvey | 26.07.2010 13:22
Reported in today's 'The Argus' by Nigel Freedman a local Brighton rag that about as bad as Bristol Evening Pest.
A top judge is under investigation after being accused of making anti-Semitic comments that could have swayed a jury into acquitting a group of protesters.
Judge George Bathurst-Norman was said by critics to have persuaded a jury to clear a group of campaigners who smashed up a Brighton factory they claimed was making parts for Israeli war planes.
Jewish groups described the judge as acting like the “defence counsel [rather] than the neutral officer of the court.”
He is said to have compared Israel to the Nazi regime and accused the country of ignoring international law while summing up the criminal damage trial.
The judge, added that 'there may be much to be admired' about one Smash EDO protester, and that 'in the last war he would probably have received a George Medal'.
Eight protesters were either cleared last month by the jury or on the directions of the judge of conspiracy to cause £187,000 damage at the EDO MBM plant in Moulsecoomb, Brighton.
They claim the company makes weapons release mechanisms for Israeli F16 fighters which bombed Gaza killing more than 1,000 civilians.
The protesters said they acted lawfully in “decommissioning” the factory to prevent alleged war crimes being committed by Israel.
The Office for Judicial Complaints, which deals with objections over the conduct of judges and magistrates, confirmed that an inquiry into how Judge Bathurst-Norman handled the trial is under way.
The move follows a series of complaints from organisations including the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
Chief executive Jon Benjamin said: “The judge's summing up seemed to be more of a character reference for the defendants and an account of the iniquities of Israel and America than a dispassionate appraisal of the evidence.
“Rather than test whether the defence of lawful excuse was available to the accused he appeared more intent on telling the jury why they would be morally wrong not to acquit them.”
The judge told the jury: “It may be as you went through what I can only describe as horrific scenes of devastation to a civilian population, which one would have hoped to have disappeared with the Nazi regime, you may have felt anger, but you must put that emotion aside.”
Jonathan Hoffman, vice-chairman of the Zionist Federation, said: “The judge behaved more like the defence counsel than the neutral officer of the court that he was supposed to be.”
A spokesman for the Office of Judicial Complaints said: “We have received a number of complaints in relation to Judge Bathurst-Norman's summing up.
“Those complaints will be considered under the Judicial Discipline Regulations in the usual way.”
The findings of the investigation will be considered by Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge and Lord Chancellor Kenneth Clark who will decide if the judge should face disciplinary action.
End of newspaper article.
Anyway - if anybody should get a medal or award it should be James. A year and a half is a big chunk out of your life especially when all he did was try - best he could - to stop or at least reduce the suffering of the defenceless children, women and men of Gaza.
Well done James!!!!
Original article on IMC Bristol: http://bristol.indymedia.org/article/692774