Is this jury nullification?

Via JuliaM, this is an interesting story:

A father and son duo who opened fire on an police van have walked free from court after being cleared of attempted murder.

Richard Baldwin, an expert clay pigeon shooter, shot at an unmarked white van three times using his double-barrelled shotgun after thinking he was scaring off burglars from his property.

However the businessman was actually opened fire on a van which had two plainclothed police officers inside.

Maybe the prosecution aimed too high, and they’d have been more likely to secure a conviction on a lesser charge? I’ve been told that when Plod is on the receiving end of something he doesn’t like the charges are inflated, sometimes comically so. The downside to this is sometimes the charges don’t stick. But:

Both Mr Baldwin and his son were also cleared of an alternative charge of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and carrying a loaded shotgun in a public place.

Hmmm. Perhaps there is something else going on?

Mr Baldwin, who was cleared of attempted murder along with his son, told The Daily Telegraph that he was ‘harassed’ by Irish travellers for more than a year before he opened fire on the police van.


Luton Crown Court heard Mr Baldwin had become increasingly angry after police took 25 minutes to respond to his pleas for help.

Mr Baldwin took his legally-owned weapon and take matters into their own hand to track the suspected burglars.

Mr Baldwin made a number of calls to police regarding harassment of his family from the travelling community, but he claims they were ignored. An officer also told him not to use racially offensive terms when referring to travellers.

He claims that tyres and tools were stolen from Mr Baldwin’s garage and that he had never had problems with the travelling community until this group of people began to abuse him and his family.

Could it be the jury decided to signal its displeasure at useless Plod refusing to do their jobs, yet finding time to lecture the victims of crime on racism? I hope so. I’ve been saying for a while the British public ought to begin withdrawing their support from the police; jury nullification in cases where the defendant should never have been in that position were it not for useless Plod is one way to go about it.

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21 thoughts on “Is this jury nullification?

  1. How soon before the police start harrasing jury members for doing this?

    Wouldn’t surprise me if some of them in this case find themselves pulled over by Plod before long.

  2. Luton Crown Court heard Mr Baldwin had become increasingly angry after police took 25 minutes to respond to his pleas for help.

    They’ll be taking even longer from now on.

    An officer also told him not to use racially offensive terms when referring to travellers.

    Modern plod, emphasising what is important (to them).

  3. One presumes the two coppers have been off work with PTSD, after their trying experiences in a combat zone? Being lined up for medals, are they?

  4. Not clear why Plod was undercover on site. If they were there to catch the Pikeys, why were the Baldwins not informed? Or were they on site for more nefarious reasons?

    Like all branches of the UK state, Plod doesn’t like being contradicted or people pointing out how shit they are at providing basic protection.

    As Rob notes above, it is pretty clear whose side they’re on.

  5. And re the “attempted murder” charge. If the guy was using clay loads, unless it was up close, it’d be like the van was being hit with a handful of hail. Unlikely even to break the windows. Far cry from my pig loads. Punch holes you could put your fist through. Don’t usually hunt coppers, though. Is there a season?

  6. Presumably the coppers were there looking for something to stitch the guy up with because he was pissing them off by keep complaining about pikeys? And they hit the jackpot.

  7. As I commented on another blog, the likely upshot of this – a jury acquitting on the basis that either the law, as sought to be applied, is an ass or the law should not have been applied in this particular case – will be the (further) restriction of those cases which go to a jury and/or the imposition of some jobsworth to “approve” those called for jury service.

    In any event, I’m curious to know when and why the travelling community became effectively immune from police action. Yes, I realise that as an identifiable “community” they could and are being used as leverage against the enemies of Common Purpose but the egregiousness of their privilege and the refusal of the police and local authorities generally to prevent or seek to punish manifest lawbreaking is startling. Maybe the explanation is quite simple and obvious: ie that it’s just a demonstration by our rulers and their enforcers that they are in charge and that privilege (or absence of same) is granted or withheld at their unchallengeable pleasure (cf Brexit)

  8. Question – what would all the rest of you do about the traveller problem, if you were a PCC or Home Secretary?

    Another question – have travellers always been this troublesome? I know the folk memories of gipsy types didn’t exactly have them down as trustworthy, but neither did they appear to be regarded as some kind of travelling mafia. Did something change? (The move from ponies to motors? The start of planning permission?)

  9. You can’t win a defensive war.

    He needs to resolve–like the Brolin character said (in that “No Country for Old Men film) to the bloke with the awful haircut– “I’m going to make you my special project from now on”.

    Plod will be up to his neck in dirty goings on.

    In one town I know of shagging-in-the-station takes up a lot more police time and effort than does crime.

    Something like that coming to light–as well as the red faces of course–would further show what a fucking useless and destructive shower the blugoons really are.

  10. I can access your site from my office. You must have cut down on hate speech and divisive language. Oh. And then I read the posts.

  11. “Another question – have travellers always been this troublesome? I know the folk memories of gipsy types didn’t exactly have them down as trustworthy, but neither did they appear to be regarded as some kind of travelling mafia. Did something change? (The move from ponies to motors? The start of planning permission?)”

    What changed was the police response to interaction with travellers & the community. By & large the police were servants of the community & looked after its interests. Travellers largely behaved themselves, for fear of raising the anger of the community.

    Example from when lived out in Essex, during the 70s. Pikeys parked up on a bit of ground a mile or so out of the village. Started making a nuisance of themselves around the village. Thefts. Householders being hustled for unwanted service provision. Village kids being hastled by pikey kids. If the police suggested they bugger off, they obviously didn’t take any notice & there may not have been evidence would stand up in court.
    One night, bunch of local lads left the pub, went up & torched a caravan. Damned all left but scorched ground & some metal scrap. Pikeys had scarpered the next morning. You think the police made exhaustive enquiries about ethnic harassment? This was a place, when a new young copper out the local station made a fucking nuisance of himself with the locals, his shiny police mini-van got driven over by an artic. Could have had a particular haulier’s name on the side. If anyone had been looking to see. He was fortunate he wasn’t in it. Most of it was 6 inches high.
    Police have changed. Now they’re controlled from miles away & do response policing. When they’re not all making a fucking nuisance of themselves over trivialities. Community has changed because its policed by a bunch of uniformed thugs.
    Oh & you guessed it. There’s now a council travellers’ site about three miles down the road. So now pikey shit’s a permanency

  12. Interesting to see they also went after the wife too. For ‘assisting an offender’. Lost that, as well! 😄

  13. phil – Technical arguments over who precisely does what aren’t going to impress anyone when there seems to be not a sliver of difference between the approach of the two organizations.
    The police have a great deal of leeway in which crimes to target and the attitude they take when they do. ACPO and other police pressure groups are often pressing for shiny new PC laws as if they properly enforced all the old ones and while still bleating about toree cutz.
    Juries are likely to hate the CPS as much as what the police have become and rightly see no reason to absolve either.

  14. “have travellers always been this troublesome?”

    Further to BiS, my old man was a farmer and in the 60s/70s (before I was born or at least old enough to remember) the farm was visited once a year or so by gipsies of the painted wagon, old school variety. They’d been coming for years and possibly generations. Neither of my parents had a bad word to say about them, by all accounts thoroughly decent people.

    However, after the patriarch passed on, the younger generation did not behave and my Dad had to insist that they didn’t come again. Nothing terribly serious but some minor annoyance and thieving. Now I have written that, I am not sure the example means much.

    Although I do wonder if the changing mores of the 60s had an effect, or the downturn in the 70s or maybe the increasing regulation of life was a squeeze on travelling people? There isn’t much space in modern Britain for those who want to live differently. I think a lot of Romanies ended up settling – not in camps but in towns and villages. There’s a small handful of settled gipsy families around the rural area I grew up for example and they’re neither better nor worse than their neighbours.

    These days it seems the vast majority of travellers are Irish Travellers, which is like having the more feckless elements of a Liverpool council estate on the move, with the same thieving, violence, benefit fraud and moaning about oppression.

  15. “… is usual for the jurors to decide the fact, and to refer the law arising on it to the decision of the judges. But this division of the subject lies with their discretion only. And if the question relate to any point of public liberty, or if it be one of those in which the judges may be suspected of bias, the jury undertake to decide both law and fact.”

    – Thomas Jefferson, “Notes on Virginia,” 1782

    “…the great principle of Habeas Corpus and Trial by Jury…are the supreme protection invented by the British people for ordinary individuals against the state. The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him judgment by his peers for an indefinite period, is in the highest degree odious, and is the foundation of all totalitarian governments.”

    – Winston Churchill 1943

    “His Lordship may tell you that to his heart’s content. As a great Lord Chief Justice of England, a judge superior in rank to any in this Court, once said, “It is the duty of the Judge to tell you as a jury what to do, but you have the power to do exactly as you like.” And what you do, Members of the Jury, is a matter entirely between God and your own consciences….”

    – Horace Rumpole 1998

  16. I’d like to see a lot more of this from juries and in more serious cases. The police and the establishment in general should come to understand that the law is no longer their tool to intimidate people into meek compliance.

  17. Question – what would all the rest of you do about the traveller problem, if you were a PCC or Home Secretary?

    The Irish travellers are here largely because of laws passed in the ROI which made their habit of parking up where they liked and creating a nuisance from a civil to a criminal offence – specifically the 2002 Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, known as the Criminal Trespass legislation.

    I would implement similar legislation into UK law and also tell Police Chief Constables and ACPO that if they wanted to keep their funding they’d better enforce it tout suite.

    I’d also make sure that there was faster and stricter enforcement over unlawful building, particularly the practice of buying farming land (at farming land prices) through a proxy, waiting until the Easter or Bank Holiday weekend and then occupying the site with as many caravans as they can before the council can stop them. Currently the only method that has worked is locals (usually under threat of arrest) blocking access to the site.

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