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On yer bike

Our constitutional rights are slowly being eroded by an increasingly managerial approach to criminal cases, says David Rhodes

17 March 2009

“What distresses me most about our times,” lamented the late Sir John Mortimer’s anti-hero Horace Rumpole in Rumpole à la Carte, “is the cheerful manner in which we seem to chuck away those blessed freedoms we have fought for, bled for and got banged up in chokey for down the centuries. We went to all that trouble with King John to get trial by our peers, and now a lot of lawyers with the minds of business consultants want to abolish juries. We struggled to get the presumption of innocence, that golden thread that runs through British justice, and no one seems to give a toss for it anymore. What must we do, I wonder? Go back to Runnymede every so often to get another Magna Carta and cut off King Charles’ head at regular intervals to ensure our constitutional rights?”

This month, thousands of people gathered across the country for the Convention on Modern Liberty, a clarion call to renew the spirit of Runnymede and to defend our ancient freedoms which are currentl...

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