The first criminal trial without a jury to take place in England and Wales in more than 400 years begins on Tuesday after lawyers' legal challenges were exhausted.The right to trial by jury was won only with much bloodshed. It has been given up without so much as a whimper. Sic transit Gloria Mundi.
Twomey and his associates face the historic trial in the absence of a jury after the court of appeal examined secret evidence and ruled that "the danger of jury tampering and the subversion of the process of trial by jury is very significant". It is the first trial of its kind under provisions in the Criminal Justice Act 2003.
In the last 400 years, trials without juries have taken place only in Northern Ireland, where the Diplock courts were set up to provide justice in the intimidating atmosphere of the Troubles.
The case is being heard at the high court in London and is expected to last three months. The judge, Mr Justice Treacy, will act as judge and jury during the case. Unlike a jury, he will see all the witness statements in the case.
Hat tip: The Devil's Kitchen.