I knew that I would not be spending Christmas in prison. I now know that I shall not be spending Easter in prison, either. My trial has been put back to 11th April next year. I was charged on 13th April this year, having been arrested on 14th March. The judge was no happier than I was, but the Crown Prosecution Service is still insisting on two or three days to try no evidence whatever, including further no evidence whatever that they profess to need another four months, over and above the eight months that they have already had and the ninth month that the Police had before that, in order to uncover.
Certain public figures received one of those unhinged communications which they receive very regularly, and a highly ambitious councillor, whose identity is common knowledge in these parts, took the opportunity to curry favour with those in a position to arrange the Labour nomination for a certain safe seat when the sitting MP retires, by using that communication to seek to remove an outspoken and, though I say so myself, an energetic opponent of the local municipal Labour machine.
But this has now gone on for an outrageous length of time, entirely at public expense, and there are now, unlike in the first instance, credible threats to the safety of numerous people, including me, but more to the point including teenagers. Those threats have not been not been posted once, from Durham or thereabouts, and referring to a local dispute. They have been posted at least twice, from thousands of miles away, from a country that I have never visited, and referring to major international conflicts. This needs to end. That councillor needs to withdraw the complaint. Or, frankly, expect to face me at the polls when that opportunity next presents itself.
More broadly, we need reversal of the erosion of trial by jury and of the right to silence, reversal of the existing reversals of the burden of proof, abolition of conviction by majority verdict (which, by definition, provides for conviction even where there is reasonable doubt), extension throughout the United Kingdom of the Scots Law requirement for corroborating evidence, requirement that the prosecution present its case within three months of charge or else that case be dismissed, abolition of the admission of anonymous evidence other than from undercover Police Officers, exclusion of the possibility of conviction on anonymous evidence alone, restoration of the provision that no acquitted person should ever have to stand trial again for the same offence (the previous change to this having now done its job in the Stephen Lawrence case), a return to preventative policing based on foot patrols, Police Forces at least no larger than at present, restoration of the pre-1968 committal powers of the magistracy, restoration of the pre-1985 prosecution powers of the Police, restoration of the network of police stations and police houses placing the Police at the very heart of their communities, and disbandment of MI5 in favour Police Officers who, while highly specialised, were nevertheless part of accountable community policing. Among very much else besides. Make it happen.