The Bar Council has launched its biggest attack on the Government’s Criminal Justice Bill by lobbying 400 MPs, including those hostile to the UK’s intervention in Iraq.
The Bar’s briefing pack containing its claims has been sent to MPs before the Commons is due to begin its report stage of the Bill tomorrow (2 April).
The Bar Council’s principal areas of concern are: the erosion of the right to jury by trial in complex cases; disclosure of previous convictions; abolition of the double jeopardy rule; admission of hearsay evidence; and the requirement on the defence to give notice of the witnesses it intends to call.
Bar chairman Matthias Kelly QC said: “Juries must remain a cornerstone of our justice system, and plans to reveal previous convictions on a blanket basis will lead to a ‘round up the usual suspects’ police culture.”