21 May 2023

Defend The Right Of Juries To Reach Decisions According To Their Conscience & not those of Judges Protecting War Criminals

Under threat of Contempt of Court & Imprisonment I have been forced to take down my blogs on the Elbit trial in Wolverhampton

Last Tuesday, after a 7 week trial, four of us were found guilty of intent to cause criminal damage at Elbit’s Shenstone factory on March 9 2021. The jury could not reach a decision in the case of Helen Caney and Judge Michael Chambers gave a strong steer to the Crown Prosecution Service that a retrial would not be in the public interest.

When considering bail, pending sentence, Chambers ordered all my blogs on the case to be taken down on pain of immediate arrest and imprisonment for contempt of court. Further that there should be no further comment on what had transpired in the case. As a result all the posts, on both this and my shadow blog site have been taken down. 

At the time when I took down posts on this blog I forgot to take those down on my shadow blog. Jonathan Turner, CEO of UK Lawyers for Israel immediately emailed Chambers seeking my incarceration. [See Craig Murray's Blog, Lawyers For Israel Oppose Conscience]

Regavim recently went to the Israeli High Court to get the eviction of Khan al-Ahmar sped up

UKLFI is a far-right Zionist organisation which in December 2019 invited a representative of Regavim, an Israeli NGO, whose main activity consists of urging the Israeli government and courts to demolish Palestinian villages and homes, to speak to a meeting they held.

Regavim was founded by current Israeli Finance Minister and the Gauleiter of the West Bank, Bezalel Smotrich, a self-describedproud homophobe’, who declared that he wouldn’t want his wife giving birth in a ward where there were Arab women. Smotrich recently called for the ‘wiping out’ of the Palestinian town of Huwara and in the face of widespread criticism claimed it was a ‘slip of the tongue’.

UKLFI has made the targeting of Palestinian academics like Shahd Abusalama and Palestinian supporters and events one of its priorities in Britain. It is an organisation stuffed with far-right politicians as its patrons, most of whom also appear to be lawyers including a former Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson.

Turner is a barrister at 3 Stone Buildings. He is however concerned about possible contempt. When my own barrister Danielle Manson sent me a copy of Turner’s email I immediately took down the offending blogs.

I have, at the suggestion of other counsel in this case, made a formal complaint about Turner behavior to the Bar Standards Board since Turner is not involved in the case and has no interest in it other than to try and cause mischief.

Jonathan Hoffman demonstrating alongside Paul Besser of Britain First

Paul Besser with Jayda Franzen, Deputy Leader Britain First (left) and Paul Golding, Leader of BF (right)

Hoffman denies that Besser has any connection with Britain First despite the   photographic evidence above

Jonathan Hoffman – Link Man Between Zionists and Fascist/Neo-Nazi Groups

Another Zionist who was excited by my conviction was Jonathan Hoffman, who send me an email. Hoffman is a former Zionist Federation Vice-Chair and these days the link man between Zionist and Fascist/Neo-Nazi groups. Hoffman wrote that:

‘Haven't been so deliriously sic!) happy since Corbyn got smashed on 12/12/19.’  

We all get our kicks in different way and this is how Hoffman gets his. 

Hoffman is particularly close to Paul Besser, former Intelligence Officer for Britain First. He also demonstrated alongside the English Defence League at the picket of Ahava, an Israeli shop in Covent Garden.

Hoffman and Besser (back) Ambrosine Shitreet (Pegida) and Mad Mel Gharial - a Tommy Robinson groupie

Besser (left), Hoffman (right) and Tommy Robinson and Pegida supporter Sharon Klaff (centre)

Hoffman is someone who will defend any war crime indeed any crime that is committed by Israel or Israelis. This even extended to the gang rape of a British woman by 12 Israelis in Cyprus in 2019.

The Cypriot police charged the woman with making a false allegation and the Israeli rapists returned home to a heroes welcome. Eventually the charge against the woman was overturned after a public outcry.

Hoffman found it difficult to understand the attacks on him from 'the women's rights lobby' i.e. feminists, because he had defended Israeli rapists

Hoffman was unperturbed by the injustice to the woman. All he could see was that Israelis had been accused of rape and leapt to their defence. To be fair Hoffman has defended rape and abuse by the Israeli military for so long that he was unable to understand what all the fuss was about when a British woman was raped by the best that Israel could produce.

Hoffman & Kevin Caroll of the EDL on official Jewish EDL video

Hoffman is particularly irked by the proof I provided of his links with fascist and neo-Nazi groups

Hoffman has himself previously been convicted of harassing a group of women protesters. Quite ludicrously he compared his conviction to that of suffragettes who were convicted. 

The Rights of Juries to Acquit According to their Conscience

Although I can't comment on the proceedings of the trial itself, I am not required to abstain on commenting on Judge Chamber’s own remarks when ordering my blogs to be removed. It was reported in the Brighton & Hove News that:

Following the verdict, Greenstein, 69, was also ordered by the judge to take down several blog posts in which urged jurors to acquit him and his co-defendants as a matter of conscience – which the judge said constituted “serious contempt”.

His Honour Judge Michael Chambers said: “It has been brought to my attention Mr Greenstein has been running an open commentary as to what’s been happening in the trial on his blog.

“Had the jury not come back, I was going to consider whether his liberty should be maintained.

“Not only has he been running a log of what’s happened, including matters not in front of the jury, it’s also been inaccurate.

“He’s also been calling on jurors to return outcomes according to conscience. That’s a serious matter of contempt.

“It’s a serious contempt to invite jurors to return outcomes which are not in accordance with the facts, but in accordance with their conscience.

“He will remove all this material from the log and desist.

“He needs to understand that if he fails to do so he will be brought back here under a warrant and will be remanded in custody.”

He added: “I don’t spend all my time reading blogs, but there are some people who do.”

There are, suffice to say, serious errors in all of these remarks.

i.              At no time, in any of the blogs, was I urging the jurors in the present case to return a verdict according to their conscience. The place to do that was in the Court and that was impossible since such an appeal would have been ruled out of order and the jury sent out.

ii.       What I have done was to argue, stemming from Bushell’s case in 1670, that jurors have the right to return a verdict according to their convictions or conscience. There is no reason why I should not have referred to this case since it is established law.

iii.        On the walls of the Old Bailey is a plaque which states that:

Near this site WILLIAM PENN and WILLIAM MEAD were tried in 1670 for preaching to an unlawful assembly in Grace Church Street This Tablet Commemorates The courage and endurance of the Jury Thos Vere Edward Bushell and 10 others who refused to give a verdict against them although locked up without food for two nights and were fined for their final Verdict of Not Guilty The case of these Jurymen was reviewed on a Writ of Habeus Corpus and Chief Justice Vaughan delivered the opinion of the Court which established the Right of Juries to give their Verdict according to their Convictions

Judge Chambers is therefore wrong to suggest that the call for jurors to return a verdict according to their conscience is ‘a serious matter of contempt’. It is nothing of the sort. Chief Justice Vaughan’s ruling in the Court of Common Pleas ‘which established the Right of Juries to give their Verdict according to their Convictions’ remains good law today. That is not my opinion.

iv.        As Marcel Berlins and Clare Dyer wrote Lord Devlin, one of the great law lords, regarded the jury's right to bring in a perverse acquittal as one of the glories of our jury system.’

"It gives protection against laws which the ordinary man regards as harsh and oppressive . . . an insurance that the criminal law will conform to the ordinary man's ideas of what is fair and just. If it does not, the jury will not be a party to its enforcement."

v.           It has been more recently restated by Heather Hallett, a member of the Court of Appeal from 2005-2019. In her 2017 Blackstone Lecture on the Role of the Jury she said:

A jury may refuse to convict in spite of the law and the evidence because it concludes that the law is an unjust law. The jury passes its verdict on the law. Secondly, it ensures that the prosecution and the judge are on trial….

These trials all took place in the full glare of publicity. Here we see a specific application of the principle of open justice: the public can attend court and scrutinise what is going on. They can see the jury make its protest as to what they see as an unjust law or unjust application of the law. There is a check against arbitrary or oppressive conduct by the court. Here the 17th century rationale lives on despite Caverno’s claim. We see as Professor Zander has properly pointed out the jury can set aside ‘unjust laws, oppressive prosecutions and harsh sentences.’

If further proof was needed that a jury returning a verdict according to their conscience is good law, then Law Lord Lord Hoffmann confirmed this in R v Jones (Margaret) [2007] 1 AC 161 (89) when he stated:

My Lords, civil disobedience on conscientious grounds has a long and honourable history in this country. People who break the law to affirm their belief in the injustice of a law or government action are sometimes vindicated by history. The suffragettes are an example which comes immediately to mind. It is the mark of a civilised community that it can accommodate protests and demonstrations of this kind.

The second error made by Judge Chambers was to say that:

“It’s a serious contempt to invite jurors to return outcomes which are not in accordance with the facts, but in accordance with their conscience.

The error lies in counterposing ‘facts’ to ‘conscience’. Nothing I wrote suggested that jurors should not have regard to the facts. Quite the contrary. It is the Court of Appeal and Judges like Silas Reid of Inner London Crown Court, who has gaoled at least 3 Insulate Britain protesters for daring to mention the words Climate Change who object to jurors knowing all the facts.

The problem is not with jurors knowing the facts but that they are prevented from knowing all of the facts. It is the perverse ruling of the Court of Appeal and LCJ Ian Burnett in the Colston referral excluding the defence of lawful excuse, which is a statutory defence to criminal damage, that is the problem.

Jurors are being prevented from knowing why Defendants take the action they do, i.e. their motivation. As has been seen in the case of Silas Reid, mere mention by Defendants of their motives is met with a sentence of immediate prison for contempt of court which is an abuse of process since the decision to imprison is in the hands of the same judge. Jurors don’t sit on a contempt of court case. The judge is a judge in his own cause which is a breach of natural justice.

The real objection to jurors acquitting according to their conscience is not to them knowing the facts but to them knowing too many facts! The fear is that if jurors understand why activists commit criminal damage, i.e. in order to prevent far greater crimes such as war crimes, then they will acquit the defendants in what has become known as ‘perverse verdicts’ but which in reality are anything but perverse.

I have however taken down my blogs, not because I accept there was anything in them which merited the charge of contempt of court but because I didn’t want to deliberately court imprisonment.

Boris Johnson lying about parties in Downing Street

The Rule of Law and How It is Selectively Applied

Britain is, in theory governed by the Rule of Law but in practice this is a legal fiction whose purpose is to act as a smokescreen hiding who it is that holds power.

In recent years this concept has become more threadbare and honoured in the breach under Boris Johnson who, as Prime Minister, openly flouted and disregarded the very COVID lockdown laws that he had insisted on others obeying.

Johnson attended at least 10 parties according to an ITN investigation but the Metropolitan Police, who had initially refused to investigate any breach by Johnson of the COVID regulations, only investigated half of them and only sent Johnson a Questionnaire related to one of them. Johnson was recorded as saying of one party that “this is the most unsocially distanced party in the UK”.

The Met’s excuse was that it did not investigate breaches of coronavirus regulations “long after they are said to have taken place”. The Met presumably only investigates crime before they are committed! Which is probably why they arrested protesters against the Coronation before they even got to the demonstrations! It was only after the Public Law Project threatened to judicially review the Met’s decision that they conducted a cursory investigation.

Nor was this the only instance of the Met turning a blind eye to Johnson and his cronies breaking the law. Johnson, when Mayor of London, secured for his mistress, Jennifer Arcuri, a £100,000 grant from the Greater London Authority for her business, Hacker’s House, which was based in California not London, whilst failing to declare an interest. Unsurprisingly the Met has not investigated this fraud and Whitehall’s internal audit agency conducted a whitewash inquiry.

The massive fraud, estimated at £16 billion, in COVID grants to cronies and friends of the Government is well documented. The government's use of a "VIP lane" to award contracts for PPE to cronies and friends was ruled unlawful by the High Court. Yet despite this there have been no consequences for the fraudsters.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock secured a £30 million deal to supply test tubes for COVID tests for his friend and local pub landlord Alex Bourne’s company Hinpack Limited. The company had no experience of supplying medical equipment but who cares? Certainly not the Met.

Tory peer, Lady Michelle Mone and her husband, Douglas Barrowman, were beneficiaries of the VIP lane. Mone and her company, PPE Medpro made in excess of £100m in profits from government contracts worth £203m. Little or nothing appears to have been done to prosecute Mone and Barrowman. PPE Medpro stated that its principal business activity was international trading in coffee, consumables, edible nuts and fruits. In other words nothing to do with the supply of PPE. What they did supply proved useless.

Powerful politicians and government ministers effectively have immunity from criminal prosecution whereas those who threaten Israeli arms company with ‘criminal damage’ feel the full force of the law. Are these decisions political?  According to the judges the answer is no but to most people the answer is obvious. There is one law for the rich and one for the poor.

The rule of law, has been closely associated with Tory constitutionalist A.V. Dicey and his book Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution.

There were 3 aspects of the rule of law that Dicey highlighted. The first was that no man is punishable or can be lawfully be made to suffer or be deprived of their goods unless they have violated the law and an absolute supremacy of regular law over arbitrary power.

The second was equality before the law. Theoretically whatever an individual’s rank s/he is subject to the ordinary law of the land. State officials were not to be given any special privileges or protections from the law. “Be you ever so high, the law is above you.”

The third aspect denotes that the principles of the constitution are the result of the ordinary law of the land. Dicey stated that Britain had a court-based common law constitution, in the sense that decisions made by the judges directly resulted in the principles of the constitution concerning the rights of private persons. Yet all of these fine principles have never been observed.

In theory the selling of honours is a criminal offence under the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925. The only problem is that no one has ever been prosecuted under it because those who have breached it have been Prime Ministers and powerful officials. We had the Cash for Honours scandal under Tony Blair, when those who loaned large sums to New Labour were given seats in the House of Lords. Blair was interviewed by the Met but not under caution.

There has been a similar cash for honours scandal under Boris Johnson but again the Met has done nothing despite the fact that one in 10 Tory peers have donated £100,000 to the party. In total 21 Tory peers have donated almost £50 million yet the Police have done nothing and there hasn’t been so much as one prosecution.

Thomas Bingham, a former Lord Chief Justice and Senior Law Lord, who was described as “the most significant judicial figure … in the history of the Anglo-Saxon legal systems." formulated Eight Principles of the Rules of Law. The third rule stipulated that ‘The laws of the land should apply equally to all, save to the extent that objective differences justify differentiation.’ As the above demonstrates, defrauding the public exchequer of billions of pounds by friends and cronies of government ministers is fine whereas someone who shoplifts to feed their kids in the local Tesco faces going to gaol.

The eighth rule of Bingham was that ‘The rule of law requires compliance by the state with its obligations in international law as in national law.’ Given the absence of any such compliance or enforcement by the British state, human rights and political activists have filled the gap. But to British judges this has been called ‘taking the law into one’s own hands’. But when the law is selectively applied what else can people do but apply it themselves?

For reasons of political expediency, Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett and the Court of Appeal have ensured that this obligation by the British State is rendered null and void by judicially erasing the phrase ‘without lawful excuse’ as a defence in cases under the Criminal Damage Act 1971.

If the rule of law meant anything then the Police would have investigated Elbit’s manufacture of drones which commit war crimes in Gaza, Kashmir and Myanamar. Instead they have turned a blind eye. Elbit provides Israel with 85% of its drones and 80% of its munitions including White Phosphorous which Israel has used against UN schools.

However you would be failing to account for the ingenuity of the British ‘Justice’ System. Burnett presided over the trial of Julian Assange whose ‘crime’ was disclosing US war crimes in Iraq. He revealed how US pilots had deliberately murdered innocent civilians, including two Reuters journalists, mowing them down with machine gun.

You have to hand it to Burnett. It takes a certain genius whereby those who reveal the secrets of war crimes are imprisoned at the behest of the war criminals. The Nuremberg Trials of 1946 in respect of the Nazi war criminals would have been turned on their head if Burnett and the Court of Appeal had had their way. If Nazi Germany had won the war then the Nazi equivalent of Burnett would have prosecuted those who revealed the secrets of Auschwitz. After all, under Nazi law, Auschwitz and the extermination camps were also state secrets.

This is the irony of the decision of the Court of Appeal in the Colston case which was referred to it. The British Establishment – from Cruella Braverman to Keir ‘liar’ Starmer - was outraged that those who toppled the statue of a mass murderer and slave trader, Edward Colston, from his plinth and which was thrown into Bristol harbor were acquitted.

Julian Assange has been imprisoned in Belmarsh, Britain’s equivalent of Guantanamo, whilst the war criminals he exposed are free to commit further crimes.

At the same time as the jury in our case was deliberating, Israel was bombing Gaza. In order to take out three leaders of Islamic Jihad Israel murdered 10 civilians, including 4 children. This is a war crime but British judges are like the 3 wise monkeys – they neither hear, see or say anything about this because it is ‘political’ and we are mere criminals.

Exactly the same arguments employed today against those who engage in direct action was said in the past. From the Barons’ revolt against King John that led to Magna Carta, to Oliver Cromwell and the Roundheads, the Chartists and the Suffragettes. All of them defied the existing constitution and its judges. Judges are always the last defenders of the ancien regime.

In 1912 the Prosecutor told the jury in the trial of Emmeline Pankhurst:

Suffrage is not the issue, it is the criminal behaviour of the suffragettes and their incitement to partake in militant activity at which 54 windows were broken

As Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, wrote Protest Is a Moral Duty. The Police are dtheir best to prevent any and all protests – from the Coronation to Palestine. Likewise the Judges are doing their best to criminalise and lock away demonstrators. Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights guaranteeing a fair trial has become a dead letter.

Of course when this happens in Hong Kong then the BBC and the Tory press wax lyrical about freedom of speech and democracy but when it happens in Britain these same hypocrites fall silent.

Tony Greenstein


  1. An excellent and informative article. Thank you for writing it. There is not, in anything I have read by you, a racist cell in your body.

  2. I have learned much from your book and your blogs. You and Craig Murray are right about jury nullification and Judge Chambers and Jonathan Turner are wrong - and it is very upsetting to all right minded people that you are now going to face a sadistic prison sentence. Chambers and Burnett et al. have made the law an ass.

  3. Your blogs are amazing!

  4. Real religious Jews would be horrified by the vicious uncalled for and warranted attacks on Tony Greenstein. Happily, most Jews aren't like that just the zionists!

    1. Well some religious Jews because some today are now thoroughly Zionised and in the camp of the far -right pogromists.

      I thought it useful to publish Jonathan Hoffman's vile email, not because it has any merit in itself of course but because it shows the hate and bitterness that Zionism has engendered in its adherents.

      It is the same hatred that enables a group of soldiers to destroy a children's centre in Jenin refugee camp on the pretext of looking for weapons and to tear up children's books because Palestinian children don't need to learn to read as they will sooner or later be killed as 'terrorists.'

  5. What we do not know is whether the conscience of every jury member in this case accords with that of the defendants.

  6. As always an insightful and readable array of discourse even while some with malice aforethought might peruse and misuse your eloquent writings to incite maliciously against you. You are brave, dogged, tenacious and to a few with your ongoing principled drive clearly an extremely annoying fellow with your views as it unsettles 'the few' of their own certainties, surely? But, anyone with an ounce of wanting to know truths can see you have a bright angel or two on your shoulders buoying you up. No doubt these angels will be whispering patronisingly in your ear to be gentle with yourself. And, if you aren't already, to leave your pen and take a pleasant airy stroll with a friend along a nearby promenaded sunshine seashore once in a while.🙂

  7. Richard Lightbown22 May 2023 at 17:56

    I admire and applaud your dignity and courage Tony. Thanks again for all that you are doing to uphold human rights.

  8. Excellent. I reprinted the Craig Murray post.

    Best of luck!


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