From The Telegraph h/t Grace
Faced with seven men in full Muslim dress, a District Judge bravely changed the rules to accommodate the accused, says Gill Hornby.
By Gill Hornby
Published: 8:06PM GMT 08 Jan 2010
It’s up to District Judge Mellanby to decide whether these men are guilty of “threatening abusive or insulting behaviour”, and we, of course, expect that she will do so in a fair and proper manner. But we should keep an eye on the case, to see if she brings in any other radical legal innovations, overturning centuries of common law, in the process.
Fascinating legal developments in Luton this week, where District Judge Carolyn Mellanby has created important judicial precedents – without receiving sufficient attention for her pioneering work.
You may know that Mrs Mellanby has been hearing the case of the seven Muslim men who are accused of disrupting the homecoming parade of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment last March. As the soldiers paraded through the town, the men were allegedly heard to shout: “British soldiers go to hell” and “They are killing babies”. They were also allegedly seen to display placards with slogans such as “Butchers of Basra” and “Cowards, Killers, Extremists”, and so face charges under the Public Order Act.
When the case opened, the accused refused to stand for Miss Mellanby. Their religion, they argued, forbids them to stand for anybody except Allah, and they were therefore unable to show their respect for the court’s officers in the customary manner.
Faced with seven men in full Muslim dress, the District Judge bravely changed the rules to accommodate the accused. She did not – as others might have – suggest they might be in contempt, but instead arranged that, thenceforth, the men would enter the court after her, so that the sticky issue of respect would not have to be dealt with again.
We at Vladtepesblog, would like to dedicate the following video to that brave judge for protecting the innocent, and maintaining the west’s fine traditions of legal history. Thank you Judge Mellanby