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Conundrum: How can two lawyers support a statement that breaches our law?

23 January, 2020 — By John Gulliver

A CORNERSTONE of our justice system is that a person accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty. A similar code can be found in other European countries as well as the US.

So I am baffled as to why two of the contenders for the leadership of the Labour Party, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Sir Keir Starmer, should both support the statement of the Jewish Board of Deputies published the other day condemning anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

I’m not referring to the issue about whether anti-Semitism exists in the party but the fact that the statement names two Labourites as being guilty of the crime – and insisting they should never be readmitted to the party from which they have been expelled. Thus, in the eyes of the Board they are guilty of a crime involving the offence of “hate speech” and other elements of our race laws. What followed became a trial by the media.

Here comes the conun­drum: How can two law­yers – both contenders are members of the prof­es­sion, Keir Starmer, a former head of the Crown Prosecution Service – support a state­ment that breaches a foundation of our legal system?

Both Labourites named by the Board may have been found “guilty” by the party’s national executive but that is not a court of law, nor have they have been investigated by a court.

In the eyes of the law, anyone who accuses them of a race crime through the media is themselves in breach of the law. They have either libelled them or damaged them in terms of the “privacy” or human rights laws.

Didn’t Long-Bailey or Starmer think of that before they brushed aside a protective shield of the rights of the individual?


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