Chris Huhne, Vicky Pryce and Brian Pead

There has been much press speculation with regard to the Jury at Southwark Crown Court asking questions of the Judge and receiving – from some quarters at least – ridicule for their involvement in the process.

Brian Pead has long been an advocate of teaching Criminal (and Civil) Law in secondary schools. He is aware that it will not happen in the way he envisages it because it will give far too much power to the masses and those holding the power (and abusing it) would not want the majority of people to acquire such knowledge.

Yesterday, the news story about the Vicky Pryce jury at Southwark Crown Court was promulgated around the internet. The BBC, as always, turned to their Legal Expert (their own terminology) Joshua Rozenberg, who was somewhat critical of some of the questions asked by the Jury. Mr Rozenberg also commented on the work of Cheryl Thomas and the Jury system. However, this provided a report which lacked balance. This brief response will hopefully provide some form of balance.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING REPORT IS BASED ON INCONTROVERTIBLE FACTS.
No-one is being defamed or impugned. The reader is free to make up his or her own mind based on the facts presented below. The reader is also free to conduct his/ her own research into these matters.

    Re: Southwark Crown Court trial of Vicky Pryce, February 2013
    Southwark Crown Court trial of Brian Pead, December 2009

Joshua Rozenberg, Clive Anderson and others have been most vociferous and eloquent on Radio 5Live and other media outlets concerning the Jury in the Vicky Pryce trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Consider, then, the following two cases at the same Crown Court:

    Defence Counsel

• Defence counsel on behalf of Vicky Pryce attended Court promptly each day, was well prepared and robustly defended the Client
• Defence counsel on behalf of Brian Pead was late every day, was not well prepared (entered only a ½-page defence statement in response to TWO criminal allegations) and failed to robustly defend the Client

    Evidence

• Evidence supporting Vicky Pryce’s innocence was adduced in Court
• More than 125 Exhibits demonstrating Brian Pead’s innocence were not adduced in Court

    Disclosure by the Prosecution

• The Crown Prosecution Service complied with its legal and ethical duties around Disclosure in the trial of Vicky Pryce
• The Crown Prosecution Service failed to comply with its legal and ethical duties around Disclosure in the trial of Brian Pead

    Witnesses as to Fact

• Key witnesses as to Fact were called in the Vicky Pryce trial
• Key witnesses as to Fact were not called in the Brian Pead trial, including a witness (Geoffrey Bacon) who had had his computer unlawfully seized by the Metropolitan Police and his hard drive burnt out by the Police before they returned it to the Witness. (There was no chain of custody, no written record of the seizure, the computer was not placed in a sealed evidence bag, no copy of the hard drive was provided, no receipt issued upon seizure of the computer and no signature was requested upon the return of the computer to its rightful owner.)

    Swearing in of the Jury

• Vicky Pryce’s Jury was sworn in properly according to the procedures in criminal trials found in Archbold Criminal Pleading, Evidence and Practice (and other similar publications)
• Brian Pead’s Jury was not sworn in at all

    Judge’s Summing Up

• The Judge in the Vicky Pryce trial – Mr Justice Sweeney – made plain the Law in relation to the alleged crime.
• The Judge in the Brian Pead trial – Mr Justice Loraine-Smith – made plain the Law in relation to the alleged crime. In fact, a Juror asked the Judge in Open Court “…Are you saying that if there never was a victim, we cannot find the Defendant guilty?” to which the Judge replied: “…Yes, that is exactly what I am saying…”

Thus, in both trials, Jurors were asking questions of the Judge.

    Jury deliberations

• In the Vicky Pryce trial, the Jury deliberated for approximately 14 hours
• In the Brian Pead trial, the Jury deliberated for approximately 10 hours

Thus, in both trials, the Jury deliberated in total for longer than a working day.

    Failing to reach a Verdict

• In the Vicky Pryce trial, the Jury failed to reach a Verdict
• In the Brian Pead trial, the Jury failed to reach a Verdict on two separate Indictments (we will not discuss here the illegality of the same Jury hearing two separate criminal charges, particularly after Joinder had been refused at Woolwich Crown Court only for it to be allowed at Southwark Crown Court)

    Judge’s Decision after Jury fails to deliver Verdict

• Mr Justice Sweeney discharges the Jury and orders a re-trial
• Mr Justice Loraine-Smith refuses to discharge the Jury, refuses to order a new trial in the new year and demands a Verdict on the last day of the Michaelmas Term – thus placing the Jury under duress

    Verdicts

• having been discharged by Mr Justice Sweeney, the Jury obviously does not reach a verdict
• Mr Justice Loraine-Smith, on the other hand, at 3.40pm on the last day of the Court Term before a break for Christmas, accepts a 10-2 verdict against Mr Pead for the alleged incitement of a 14 year old girl where no such girl ever existed

    New trial

• Ms Pryce is to receive a new trial
• Mr Pead did not, though the law states that he ought to have had one

    Pleas

• Vicky Pryce entered a plea of Not Guilty
• Brian Pead entered a plea of Not Guilty

    Judge’s post-Jury comments

• Mr Justice Sweeney orders a re-trial, but does not reprimand Vicky Pryce for her plea
• Mr Justice Loraine-Smith tells Mr Pead “…I will send you to jail if you continue to plead your innocence…”
• this unlawful threat is reiterated by Brian Pead’s defence counsel, Dominic Bell (also unlawfully)

Mr Rozenberg cited in his comments on Radio 5Live (and elsewhere) the work of Cheryl Thomas on Jury trials.

He regrettably failed to also cite the work of Ms Penny Darbyshire on Jury trials. The following article might be of interest to readers: What Can the English Legal System Learn From Jury Research Published up to 2001? by Penny Darbyshire, Andy Maughan and Angus Stewart, Kingston Law School.

The reader might also like to peruse the New Zealand Law Commission’s final report, Report 69, Juries in Criminal Trials, available from www.lawcom.govt.nz.

(Ms Darbyshire has authored many similar articles.)

The Jury system is a fundamental principle which underpins the criminal justice system in Crown Courts in England and Wales. However, it requires some equally fundamental rules to be followed in order to be effective (and even then, there is no guarantee that a Jury will be effective in and of itself).

As the reader will know:

• a Jury must be sworn in correctly
• a Defendant has the right to challenge any of the Jurors and ask them to be removed
• the Jury Bundle must be the same as that presented to the Defendant
• a Jury must not be placed under duress to reach a verdict by a certain time on a certain day
• a Jury must hear ALL of the available evidence
• a Jury must listen to ALL of the available witnesses

These basic principles of Justice were not afforded to Brian Pead either in his unlawful trial at Southwark Crown Court in December 2009, nor in his unlawful trial of the alleged harassment of his daughter, Sorrel Birch and grand-daughter, at Bexley Magistrates’ Court on 1 November 2011 in which no trial bundle was available and no witnesses were called, yet the Magistrate returned a verdict of “Guilty of harassment”.

Vicky Pryce received a Fair Trial based on the fact that:

• her Defence counsel was working in the Client’s best interest and not negligently (we use that word advisedly)
• the CPS complied with the Criminal Procedure Rules on Disclosure
• the Jury was sworn in
• Vicky Pryce had an opportunity to dismiss any of the Jurors
• evidence was properly adduced at Trial
• witnesses as to Fact were called
• she is independently wealthy
• the case is ‘high profile’

Mr Pead did not receive a Fair Trial because none of the above applied to him.

Furthermore, he had uncovered child grooming and racism in Lambeth Council which went unreported and he had uncovered illegal police activity on a website called www.faceparty.com. The reader is invited to type the phrase ‘faceparty/ liquidation/ child abuse’ into Google or other search engines and they will find that what Brian Pead informed the authorities of was corroborated by other intelligent, sentient human beings.

Brian Pead currently has TWO Police National Computer (PNC) records. One is the ‘usual’ record of an innocent man – the other consists of a string of sexual offences against under-aged girls (none of which is true).

As a man of 56 years of age who had a proud and unblemished record up until the time of his uncovering corruption, it is remarkable to consider that he has had to endure a campaign of police, local authority and judicial harassment AFTER he reported his findings to the appropriate authorities.

Please note the following FACTS:

• Mr Pead reports child grooming and racism of a teacher at Lambeth: HE is then unlawfully suspended and dismissed
• Mr Pead reports illegal behaviour and sexual misconduct on the Faceparty website: HE is then accused of two separate counts of sexual misconduct
• Mr Pead brings to the attention of his daughter, Sorrel Birch, the corruption he uncovered: HE is then found guilty of her harassment (even though she does not appear as a witness and even though she does not provide a statement against her father)
• Mr Pead brings to the attention of the Home Secretary, the DPP et al the corruption he encountered: HE is then unlawfully imprisoned in Belmarsh and Wandsworth
• Mr Pead co-authors a book about misconduct in public office at Lambeth Council: only HE is accused of defamation and harassment of Lambeth Council, Pinsent Masons, Cathy Twist and Phyllis Dunipace (even though Twist and Dunipace were castigated by Employment judge Lindsay Hall-Smith in the James R. Walker v Lambeth Council case for conducting a ‘deeply-flawed investigation’)

It is assumed that the reader will have noticed a pattern:

• Brian Pead brings corruption to the attention of the appropriate authorities
• the authorities fail to investigate
• the authorities invent allegations against Mr Pead
• the authorities abuse their powers against Mr Pead
• Brian Pead, an innocent man, becomes a guilty man (at least on paper)

This Kafka-esque pattern of behaviour is an appalling indictment of the State’s treatment of an innocent man.
Neither Brian Pead – nor his supporters – will rest until the following has been achieved:

(i) he clears his name (even though it is clear in reality, just not on paper)
(ii) he receives a full apology in writing from Lambeth Council and the Metropolitan Police Service
(iii) he receives significant compensation from the State for the injustices it has perpetrated against him
(iv) he is reunited with his grand-children

Unless or until that comes to fruition, Brian Pead and his supporters will continue to bring his mistreatment by the State to the attention of the world through all lawful means.

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (“the PHA”) is currently being used as a weapon against HIM, and no doubt he will be the recipient of further such nonsense and a mis-interpretation of Parliament’s intention in constructing that particular Act. (Its original intention was to prevent stalking.) It is currently being used inappropriately and unlawfully as a weapon against concerned citizens to prevent them from ‘whistleblowing’.

The reader is invited to consider that Article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998 ‘trumps’ the PHA 1997, especially when it concerns matters in the public interest and we fail to understand how matters involving child grooming and racism are NOT in the public interest, especially when it is noted that the media embark upon a merry-go-round of news items featuring racism and child abuse.

It could be argued that Joshua Rozenberg, Clive Anderson and other commentators (and the entire Pryce trial) might have been used to insidiously bring the issue of Jury trials to the public’s attention in order that they might be eradicated from the legal process in favour of Judge-only led trials.
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