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High Court finds displaying placard conveying principle of jury equity to potential jurors does not amount to contempt

Published:

The High Court today delivered judgment in HM Solicitor General v Trudi Warner [2024] EWHC 918 (KB).

Mr Justice Saini refused the Solicitor General’s application for permission to bring proceedings for contempt against Ms Warner. Ms Warner had displayed a placard with the words “JURORS YOU HAVE AN ABSOLUTE RIGHT TO ACQUIT A DEFENDANT ACCORDING TO YOUR CONSCIENCE” to passers-by outside Inner London Crown Court on the morning a trial of a number of defendants associated with the environmental group Insulate Britain was due to begin.

Mr Justice Saini reached the firm conclusion that the Solicitor General’s case did not disclose a reasonable basis for committal, given Ms Warner merely “accurately informed potential prospective jurors about one of their legal powers” (§39).

He concluded that:

“…the claim is based on a mischaracterisation of what Ms Warner did that morning and a failure to recognise that what her Placard said outside the Court reflects essentially what is regularly read on the Old Bailey plaque by jurors, and what our highest courts recognise as part of our constitutional landscape” (§42).

Clare Montgomery KC and Rosalind Comyn acted for Ms Warner, instructed by Raj Chada of Hodge, Jones & Allen.

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