Ed: In the past few weeks, we have published several articles about the loss of our ancient rights guaranteed since Magna Carta, through the EU’s “Corpus Juris”. Not many of us know what ‘Corpus Juris’ means for us in reality. It is one of the subjects which appear too arcane for us lay people, or so we think. But we disregard it at our peril!
The following commentaries by two UKIP Wales members with vast experience show how and why we are affected, and how our ancient rights are being eroded and abolished.
The first part is by David William Lloyd Rowlands MA (Cantab) FRICS, for many years a Chairman of Magistrates in Montgomeryshire. His comments on the quoted paragraphs are in bold:
Corpus Juris is an EU wide system of criminal justice which is being planned by the EU and is described on the front of the official book as “penal provisions for the financial interests of the European Union”. However, at its launch in 1997 it was described as having been “conceived as the embryo of a future EU criminal code” in a speech written for Mr Gil Robles, the President of the European Parliament but in his absence at the last minute delivered by the Vice President. The House of Lords Report of May 1999 rejected Corpus Juris. After the Amsterdam Treaty it came in under Section 280, and we no longer have a veto. Section 280 sanctions Qualified Majority Voting and the European Parliament has approved Corpus Juris by a large majority, with almost all British MEPs supporting it, although the Conservatives later claimed they had made a mistake.
The implications for our legal system and individual rights are immense.
All quotations below are from the official handbook.
Page 12: Explanatory Memorandum: “the more that borders of the single market are opened up, the more the persistence of “legal frontiers” prove disastrous”;
Page 40 “What we propose is a set of penal rules, designed to ensure….a more efficient means of repression”.
Page 82: “harmonisation will only be achieved with the creation of a European Public Prosecution Service (EPP)”; Article 18 (1) states: “the territory of the Member States of the Union constitutes a single legal area”.
Page 90, Article 20: “Powers of Investigation of the EPP”, Paragraph 3(g): “to make requests for a person’s remand in custody………for a period of up to 6 months, renewable for 3 months, where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the accused has committed one of the offences defined above, or good reasons for believing it necessary to stop him committing such an offence.” This means that the EPP can incarcerate someone for many months without charge merely because it thinks they have committed an offence, or might commit an offence. It appears that there is no limit to the number of 3 month extensions. This practice was outlawed in this country 300 years ago with the introduction of Habeas Corpus, more recently incorporated in the Bail Acts, which require bail to be granted in the vast majority of cases.
Page 106 Article 24(b): “a European warrant for arrest, issued on the instructions of the EPP by a national judge…..is valid across the whole territory; any person arrested thus may be transferred to the territory of a State where he/she is required to be (during preparatory stage or at trial)”. Note that the prosecutor instructs the judge. If imprisoned in Greece it would be very difficult to plan your defence.
Page 114 Article 26 – Trial (1): “…The courts must consist of professional judges…..and not simply jurors or lay magistrates”. There go the rights of the British person since Magna Carta to be judged by his peers. So also goes the lay magistracy.The genius of our common law involves the community in the administration of justice at first instance through magistrates and the jury. In an age when the concept of the local community is involved in so many aspects it is contradictory that it should be removed from the administration of law.
Page 118: “For the rules on jurisdiction….the choice is made by the EPP….in the interests of the efficient administration of justice”. Once again the prosecutor calls the shots, not the judge; the criterion is the administration of justice and not justice itself.
Page 120: Article 27(2): “In the case of total or partial acquittal, appeal is also open to the EPP as a prosecuting party.” The meaning of this is plain – the accused can be tried twice for the same offence thus creating the state of “double jeopardy” which was banned in Britain for centuries.
Page 126: “Article 6 of the ECHR constitutes an excellent model for the rights which should be granted to the accused…However, case law has not yet decided whether being held in custody makes a person an “accused” person…”. In other words it may be that somebody can be locked up without having the protection afforded by human rights legislation.
Page 130 deals with the rights to be a civil party in a criminal case and limits the rights to the European Commission: “We do not propose to open up the possibility…to other victims, individuals or collective, such as consumers of competing business.”
Page 134 deals with admissible evidence.“The rules proposed are therefore aimed at reducing some of the problematic disparities, whether over testimony, questioning and statements by the accused, or over production of accounts, under conditions which in particular run counter to Anglo-Saxon practices, which are extremely restrictive in this area.” This waters down the protection afforded by “Anglo-Saxon practices”.
Page 136: “Hence the need to provide for a “European Deposition” and to make it clear that in English law, this constitutes a new exception to the hearsay rule”: “the Franco-Dutch method whereby the court appoints an official accountant to examine the documents and to communicate the contents to the court is preferable”. Without the whole document being presented and thus open to challenge by the defence there is no protection against: (a) material being quoted out of context or (b) material helpful to the defence being omitted. Note that the accountant is appointed by the court, but from a list proposed by the prosecutor.
Page 142: Article 34(3) “The judgement must be given publicly, but access to the court may be denied to the press and the public, during all or part of the proceedings….”. This is claimed to be for the protection of the accused, but could be used to cover up abuses of power by the authorities.
The implications of Corpus Juris are so far-reaching that it is amazing that existence of it seems almost unknown even to the professionals. The government played it down and it is too arcane a subject to attract the attention of the media. However it will be the most backward step in human rights in this country that we have ever known.
Hugh Moelwyn Hughes, Retired Solicitor and Clerk to Commissioners of Taxes for 33 years, describes in the second part below what this means in practice, our various governments having already implemented requirements of Corpus Juris by stealth:
Following the standard Europhile advice as expressed by Peter Thorneycroft, Conservative MP for Monmouth and one time Chancellor of the Exchequer: “WE MUST PROCEED BY STEALTH”, this is what the Labour and Conservative and Liberal Democrat Governments did:
They reserved to the UK the power to run the judicial system, making it appear that the EU would have nothing to do with the reforms. Then they reduced localism by gradually closing the Magistrates Courts which functioned in every town of any size, and amalgamated the divisions run by the Magistrates Clerks, who previously were employed by local magistrates under the County Lord Lieutenant.Thus, instead of the Magistrates Clerk and his assistant travelling to the local court, the more numerous accused have to travel up to 30 miles to one of the few centralised courts.
In 2008 the Magistrates Clerks were turned into civil servants. The Magistrates Clerks are being reduced in number to one in each EU region. Fewer Lay Magistrates are being appointed – in some areas none at all. They are called to adjudicate on a declining number of days each year. Lay juries are being abolished – Corpus Juris requires that lay juries be eliminated. Paid District Judges (formerly called Stipendiary Magistrates) are taking over, thus eliminating the lay element in justice, just as required by Corpus Juris. In a similar operation the lay Commissioners of Taxes, who decided over 90% of all Tax Appeals, having been the subject of numerous position papers and proposals for reform over 5 years, were abolished on 31st March 2009, and replaced by paid officials.
And no one was told that the “reforms” were required by “Corpus Juris” and the EU!
Please forward to colleagues, contacts, family and friends to let them know what is happening without their approval.