Sunday, May 20, 2007


So, Friday...

...was closing speeches day, prosecution then defence. Neither of us bloggers managed to hear the prosecution one, so this is a second-hand report. Apologies to Mr Blair if I don't do justice to his speech, which by all accounts was very good, though of course Wrong and therefore not entirely a Good Thing (c.f. Sellar and Yeatman "1066 & All That" ? - keep up, everyone!) It's been described as very short and very measured, in contrast to the 'jowls quivering with outrage' school of speechifying which some of us may have experienced from a prosecuting QC in a parallel universe. Mr Blair began by acknowledging the importance of direct action in righting wrongs in our society, using examples such as the abolition of slavery and women's suffrage. His main argument was over the reasonableness or otherwise of Phil and Toby's actions - their defence rests on their actions being reasonable and proportionate in relation to the crime they were trying to prevent, in the circumstances as they believed them to be at the time. Of course, we all know that T and P were entirely right about what was going to happen, but that is knowledge after the fact and therefore cannot affect the jury's deliberations - and there's precious little comfort for the Iraqis in saying 'I told you so.' Mr Blair asserted that Phil and Toby's planned actions were not reasonable and proportionate, and that therefore their defence does not stand and the jury should find them guilty.
We know better.

Incidentally, I missed Mr Blair's closing speech as I was listening to the report of the House of Lords' debate on cluster weapons held the previous day (Thursday) - everyone (except the Foreign Office minister) seems to have got the point that they (the cluster bombs, not their lordships - that's another argument for another day) are 'an affront to humanity' and is calling for an outright international ban on the use of any type of cluster munitions, supposedly 'smart' or otherwise. It was reported on Today in Parliament and you can listen again here: - it's about 16 mins from the start of the programme as far as I recall.

Ed Rees' closing speech for the defence was rather longer and will get a separate post. Meanwhile, I must gather my clean socks and prepare to trundle back down to Bristol. Tomorrow (Monday) morning, the judge has a couple of documents to ok, prepared jointly by the prosecution and defence, then he will give his summing up and send the jury out to consider their verdict. So, we could conceivably have a result tomorrow.

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