On sunday 16th August I attended a grand jury assembly in Luton, which seems to be the first for many years.
The Grand Jury can be said to be “celebrating” its 800th birthday in 2015, because a precursor to the Grand Jury is defined in Article 61, the longest of the 63 articles of the Magna Carta, also called Magna Carta Libertatum (Latin: “the Great Charter of Liberties”) executed on 15 June 1215 by King John and by the Barons. The document was primarily composed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton (1150-1228), who is also the man who divided the books of the Bible into chapters and verses. He was a Bible scholar, and the concept of the Grand Jury may possibly derive from Deuteronomy 25:1: “If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.” (King James Version) Thus the Grand Jury has been described as the “Shield and the Sword” of the People, as a “Shield for the People” from abusive indictments of the government, or malicious indictments of individuals, and as the “Sword of the People” to cut away crime by any private individual, or cut away crime by any public servant, whether in the Judicial, Executive, or Legislative branches.
Upon arrival at the venue in Luton, I met several local men and women who had heard about the assembly through social channels and local community action. We moved venue when it became apparent that a more suitable location would serve our needs better. So, we travelled in convoy to a local community gathering on reclaimed land which had been cleared by 40 unemployed people from Marsh Farm. There in front of a newly built round house with a roaring fire, 16 people sat and took a simple oath to affirm their open minded intent to listen and decide without prejudice.
John Hurst of the UK Column was in attendance and took us through the procedure of the grand jury, and provide the case outline & proceedings.
This conveyed to us why Michael Sinclair had been unlawfully evicted and suggested individuals who should be held to account. Michael was then cross examined by the jury to clarify his actions to date and explain aspects of documents presented supporting the case. After 30 minutes we were left alone to confer, elect a foreman and give him the decision we had reached.
After an hour, our findings were given to the foreman, and this was passed on to John. The following day at Luton magistrates court, the presentment was made to court officials, and we await their findings.