The Law

When Justice Comes Jury-Rigged

On Monday June 3, The Australian printed eleven letters on Donald Trump’s trial, all  stemming from an editorial and article by Greg Sheridan in the weekend edition. Sheridan’s article accurately described the trial as being part of a politically motivated witch-hunt; a monstrous attack on US democracy. Eleven out of the eleven letters, presumably all of the letters fit to print, took a contrary view. The letters came from places across all of the mainland states.

Simon Gamble (Qld) bemoans the possibility of America being led by “a convicted criminal.” Peter Tesch (NSW) refers to the jury as “12 impartial citizens, who quickly delivered a unanimous verdict. Trust in the US justice system has been upheld.” Martin Walton (Qld) notes that “Donald Trump has shown no contrition since his conviction.” David Salter (NSW) finds the verdict “a practical expression of US democratic principles, not an attack on them.” Kevin Burke (Vic) describes Trump as “a narcissistic convicted criminal.” Mark Tomkinson (WA) asserts that Trump’s conviction wasn’t a dark day for America but “akin to the end of a second Dark Age.” Susan McLochlan (Qld) asserts that Trump was “found guilty of paying ‘hush’ money” (he wasn’t; that’s not a crime) and contemplates the Statue of Liberty being embarrassed that he could still run for president from a prison cell while puffing on Cuban cigars (Trump neither smokes nor drinks). Suzanne Germain (Qld) chides Sheridan for failing to mention “the tens of millions of Americans who would lose trust in the American judicial system if Trump were not held to account for his dishonesty.” Nick Palethorpe (NSW) draws a parallel between Cohen and Trump as convicted fraudsters. Brian Tierman (SA) captions the US election as “the decrepit versus the deceitful.” And finally, Tony Brownlee wonders whether Stormy Daniels will need to repay the money to Trump as it “must now be deemed the proceeds of crimes.”

In the same newspaper on June 4, Troy Bramston, well known sufferer of Trump Derangement Syndrome, points to the latest Lowy Institute poll showing that 68 percent of Australians would vote for Biden and only 29 percent for Trump. He complements Australians for having the “infinite wisdom [to] know Trump will be bad for the US and Australia.” I am surprised, in view of unanimity among the aforementioned letter writers, that the figure for Biden isn’t 98 percent rather than a mere 68 percent. After all, I doubt those who read the Age or the SMH or the Guardian would be better disposed towards Trump than Murdoch readers.

It is depressing, is it not, that 70 per cent (to round it) of people we pass in the street or meet in churches or in pubs and clubs would vote for Biden over Trump. Wars are raging under his watch, millions upon millions of people of mixed nationalities and unchecked backgrounds have been allowed to cross the southern border, energy independence has been lost, the justice system has been weaponised – yes, that is patently true, despite the sheer head-in-the-sand ignorance displayed by the letter writers. It is a case of see no evil if it is being done to Donald Trump and, by easy extension, to anyone on the “wrong side” of the political fence. Among others, Peter Navarro is in jail and Steve Bannon will shortly join him.

And it is all above board, apparently. Or so the blinkered think. After all, Trump had his day in a duly constituted court, didn’t he? Well, so did Alexei Navalny (Russia), Aung San Suu Kyi (Myanmar), Anwar Ibrahim (Malasia), Imran Khan (Pakistan), Otto Frederick Warmbier (North Korea), George Pell (Victoria), among other victims of politicised courts. Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime; the old-fashioned communist standard, repurposed in New York, especially for Trump.

Equality under the law is not a nice to have. It is an essential component of our peerless Judeo-Christian civilisation. When the rule of law is gone, truth, trust and peace of mind are replaced with lies, suspicion and trepidation. Sheridan despises Trump, he’s made that clear enough many times, but he recognises the enormity of the injustice at work and how it strikes at our fundamental values.

Written constitutions and common law are meaningless unless the character of a country’s people is overwhelmingly decent and fair-minded. Beyond reasonable doubt is a Christian bulwark against convicting innocent people. When you can find not one among twelve people who are prepared to uphold that standard of proof, whatever their political leanings, you know that something is rotten in the state of New York.

When you can’t find a letter-writer to the Australian able to put aside their disdain for Trump and think more broadly and objectively, you know that something is rotten somewhere in this nation. In that light, it is less surprising that an innocent Cardinal Pell being convicted of a crime he could not have feasibly carried out. There were a number of parts to that particular gross miscarriage of justice.

Many in the media were complicit, as Keith Windschuttle (The Persecution of George Pell; order your copy here) and Gerard Henderson (Cardinal Pell, The Media Pile-On) amply demonstrate. Inside the justice system, bungling cops out to get their man at whatever cost to fair play started the charade. Prosecutors played along. Appeal court judges implausibly added the coup de grâce by seemingly translating “not impossible” as ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. However, be not alarmed, “twelve good men and true” stand between them and you. Or do they?

When all is said and done, freedom from oppression, from unjust incarceration, comes down to the character of those on juries. Clearly, this was wanting in Pell’s trial, as it was  in Trump’s. At question. Is it wanting in the populations from which the juries were drawn? Are the letter writers representative? If common sense and common decency, forged in our Christian culture, have ebbed away in society at large, then we all better watch out. J’accuse…à la guillotine!

15 thoughts on “When Justice Comes Jury-Rigged

  • Peter OBrien says:

    Great article, Peter.

    I too was struck by the the tone of that letters page. My online comment:

    Were there really no letters supportive of Greg Sheridan’s position on the Trump persecution? No-one in the readership of The Australian who cannot see this supposed ‘hush money’ trial for the politically motivated travesty that it was?

    attracted 88 likes, so there are plenty of Trump supporters out there. It seems very likely the letters editor just weeded out their contributions.

  • GG says:

    The Australian letters – as per The Australian article comments, are heavily censored by leftist activists at the lower end of that food chain.
    Any reasonable, polite criticism of Leftist dogma is instantly binned, and that’s that.

    In addition to the malevolent, intentional miscarriage of Justice against Pell, which came directly from the Victorian executive, judicial and legislative branches of an utterly corrupt government, others too have suffered a similar fate and been classified as “convicted felons”. They include:
    Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn
    Mahatma Gandhi
    Martin Luther King
    Nelson Mandela, and recently
    Donald Trump.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Good piece Peter. One could add that the 12 jurors themselves were possibly not exactly of the free, fair , good and true kind, if what I’ve read has any truth in it i.e. that the Judge was alllowed to overrule objections Trumps lawyers had , during the selection process.
    Now I’ve been called up for Jury duty before in the Qld. District Court and to arrive at 12 they usually had to go through almost 70 of us before they got them, there were so many rejections.

  • Brian Boru says:

    With the greatest of respect to Peter and other commenters here, (and to the Australian letter writers) I think that you are missing the main question in Trump’s conviction.
    That question is simply whether he could, on the evidence, be found guilty of a breach of the law. Yes the prosecution was part of a witch hunt and as such it is to be condemned but that is not the issue.
    It is not correct to compare it with the Pell trial and appeal. That was a matter where, on the evidence, the jury and the two incompetent appeal judges were demonstrably wrong.
    To effectively analyze the Trump jury’s verdict, it is necessary to consider the evidence and then decide if a reasonable person would have convicted.
    Conflating the witch hunt with the verdict may be politically effective but it is not fair to a jury which had a different consideration. That is unless we expect that the jury should have found Trump not guilty despite being convinced of guilt. Now that would be as destructive of the rule of law as was the Pell judgements of Ferguson and Maxwell.
    I may have missed a point or two because I don’t read the Australian.

    • kh says:

      That seems a fair point – did Trump actually commit a felony or not is important. Lawyer Cohen says that on instructions from Trump he paid money as a disbursement to a third party and then invoiced it as professional costs. Trump’s company paid the bill and recorded it as legal fees. None of this would have been a felony except that the payment allegedly hid a conspiracy to violate electoral laws as the allegations would have damaged Trump’s electoral campaign if the money had not been paid. It is difficult to see how the decision to prosecute such an abtruse case over such a modest sum was not politically motivated – the improper use of the criminal justice process as a political weapon. Even if technically guilty, it hardly establishes more than what we already knew – that unlike his political peers, Donald Trump lacks the virtue of a canonised saint.

    • ianl says:

      You missed the main point, as you usually do. I expect that is deliberate. What precisely was he guilty of ? You have refused to list that.

      kh below your comment does it for you and does it well. Payment of “hush” money is not illegal – in fact, under law it is named as a “consideration”. Refusing to publicise such a payment is merely common sense. To ascribe Cohen’s rendition of Trump’s position to criminal intent is laughable (particularly as the Statute Limit had long passed). The back story (from a Washington paper) is that Stormy babe was employed as a “hostess” in one of his casinos and while plying her wares began backmailing her clients. This being ungood for business, he had her sacked.

      Current examples of hidden “hush” money payments in Aus ? Many – one example is payments by the NSW Govt to the smelter in Newcastle when the smelter is forced to shut its’ line down due to power rationing (which is itself forced Govt policy). The smelter is under requirement not to publicise this, nor reveal the actual amounts, as that would damage re-election prospects. Under the law-to-get-Trump, that is a felony.

      • Brian Boru says:

        The reason I commented was that I did not think it reasonable for Peter or commenters to conflate the criticism of the witch hunt (lawfare) against Trump with the jury’s duty to deliver a verdict. That is the point I was trying to make. To me it did not matter to the jury deliberations as to how the charge arose or how unreasonable it was. To expect the jury to consider otherwise is to corrupt the rule of law. That is a different question to how or why or how trivial the charge was.
        At law what should have mattered to the jury was simply whether the standard of proof of the charge was satisfied. Even if the jury consisted of fervent Trump supporters, they would still have been bound to uphold the law and convict if they were satisfied.
        I do hope that you can now see ianl that I was not deliberately missing “the main point” but that I was making a quite separate one. I have not considered the evidence in detail, only hearing news reports, so I can offer no opinion on whether the verdict was justified or not.


        • Peter OBrien says:

          Brian and kh,
          the jury found Trump guilty of 34 counts of misrepresenting payments, in his company accounts, to Stormy. These are, in themselves, misdemeanors (not felonies) for which the statute of limitations had expired. You could argue that the prosecution proved these events occurred. The problem is that they only became felonies when committed in furtherance of an intent to commit an actual felony. , viz, fraud. What was that fraud? The prosecution claimed it was that Trump defrauded the American voters by concealing that he had had an illicit affair, which might have damaged his electoral prosects. You might argue that Trump had a moral duty to disclose this fact but there is no statute in New York, or anywhere else that I am aware, that compels a candidate for public office to air his dirty linen (making false statements is different). So there was no substantive felony. If there were, why was Trump only charged with ‘intent to defraud’? Paying hush money to protect your reputation is not a crime.

          • Max Rawnsley says:

            What we have witnessed, as we have seen in NSW ,with Crown prosecutors repeatedly losing cases without apparent evidentary merit. Its another assault on the separation of powers. Fortunately the HCA dealt summarily with the Victorian decision re Pell. We are may witness a similar Crown pursuit of Jarryd Hayne, if the matter morphs into a fourth trial.

        • Peter OBrien says:

          Further to my last, the jury was irrelevant. They just lapped up the fish DA Bragg, ably assisted by Judge Merchan, tossed up to them. Bark, bark.

        • cronky says:

          The timing of the matters the jury were asked to reach a verdict on is very germane. Here commented is that the statute of limitations was varied – for this case – and he was pursued under NY consumer laws for the payment by Cohen to SD – and yet depending on the close analysis of DJTs communications he may not have finally authorised the payment until after the election that he was accused of impairing (under Federal Law) : The DOJ had considered the election interference charge and had previously not proceeded it.

          The other comment here is that SD was shaking down clients or blackmail – there is good evidence that Cohen was aware and in this instance likely assisted SD by claiming that by purchasing the publication rights to her story – CD and Cohen wd be in a good place to extort DJT – Cohen of course relieved the Trump organisation of funds along the way

          The jury claim above is designed to show that an ‘above board’ court process leads to a reliable jury result : there is now an email claiming early pre-decision jury agreement to convict share on the Judicial web pages which was later removed that Marchan has publicised to both sets of lawyers – probable mistrial – but don’t hold your breath – Marchan is unlikely to allow the governments assurances to fail to succeed

  • Occidental says:

    Peter your article appears to be about two separate issues, “Trump derangement syndrome” and the impartiality of juries. Let’s leave the first issue alone for a while, as that is politics, and as in taste, everyone has their own view. The second of course is the most critical to a functioning community. Pell’s miscarriage of justice was the creation of media, and its effect on otherwise impartial minds. If there had been no reporting, prior to trial of Pell’s arrest and indictment, he would have obtained a far fairer trial.
    Imagine where instead of an occasional suppression order, a publication order was needed before the media could publicise the indictment or trial of an accused. The fascination that the media have with naming and identifying an individual, who until conviction is a presumed innocent person, never ceases to amaze me. I mean to be told that so and so is charged with the rape of an unnamed victim, or even the alleged murder of his spouse is of such fleeting prurient interest, it still fascinates me that the judiciary have entertained this “public interest” myth for so long. It just demonstrates the power of the media.
    I suspect if we only were ever told of the trial and sentence details after the verdict, none of us would miss the pre trial reporting, and the administration of justice would be immeasurably improved.

  • Ceres says:

    Thanks Peter for your clarity.
    The 11 letter writers obviously did not follow the case and like non critical thinkers merely repeated the msm talking points of convicted felon, and slogans. As you pointed out Peter, paying a non disclosure agreement or ‘go away’ money ain’t a crime – so common and it was the bookkeeping entry which was regarded as a misdemeanour but which the prosecutor decided could be used to lead to Trump’s supposed crime. Pure lawfare tactics to take out Biden’s opponent.
    This ‘crime’was never specified , it was a case of Merchan telling the jury take your pick from these options or another that you don’t even have to identify and dont worry about being unanimous. Unheard of and shameful, to be overturned in US Supreme Court

  • lenton1 says:

    Two significantly prominent local cases come to mind that illustrate firstly, the innate “blood-lust” of an ill-informed public and secondly, how a majority, when better informed can (and did) change their minds when they eventually saw the truth. These examples being: Lindy Chamberlin and The Voice.

    Who now still believes Ms. Chamberlin killed her baby? Hardly a soul. But, remember the disgusting “blood-lust” (lead by MSM naturally) pile-ons that unfortunate women had to endure, let alone the unjust gaol time she unfairly suffered. So, all you letter writers mentioned in Peter’s wisely considered article, might you not be a bit more reflective and cautious in your rush-to-judge ill-conceived and frankly unwanted opinions, least you not be on the right side of history. Here, as with the Voice the once majority guilt-shrills have been, with the emergence of truth, reduced to a meagre minority.

    And so too with the farcical Voice where we can find embers of hope to prevail in the USA. Remember when the vast majority of the population were steadfastly in favour of Constitutional change, only to see that completely reverse once truthful information finally became mainstream? Little thanks to the Libs it must be remembered! Hope was regained in our people’s ability to see sense and fairness once provided sufficient, truthful information. Against the odds it must be emphasised.

    So we can live in hope that once truthful information reaches mainstream (ironically not via MSM) the currently biased opinions of 68% of the population will change their currently ignorant views and eventually see who is the true crook vying for Presidency. The time frame is similar to that which took Australians to see through the lies of the Voice, so hopefully by November 5th the same result will eventuate. But similarly, we can expect the defeated to pretend it didn’t happen, such is the lost-in-the-wilderness minds of the increasingly irrelevant Left.


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