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Irate_Alligate1 t1_jayg8y4 wrote

The judge told them not to mention their defence and they did... that's a dumb judge that needs to be retired. You can't tell people to not mention the thing their defence hinges on.


Law_Student t1_jayskqz wrote

This is one of those situations where the way the law works doesn't always make sense to someone who isn't immersed in it.

The critical issue here is that "I broke the law to bring attention to climate change" isn't a legally recognized defense. It was the judge's job here to exclude it as an irrelevant attempt to influence the jury with emotion rather than a legal or factual argument. That's because the way the system is set up, the jury is supposed to consider only the narrow issue of whether the accused committed all the elements of the crime or not.

The law is set up the way it is; it doesn't care why someone did something in a case like this, only whether or not they did it. The judge's job is to follow the law. The judge had no choice but to exclude.

You might think that's wrong, and reasonable people can argue that point. But that's a question for the legislature. The judge doesn't have the freedom to make that call without exceeding their authority.


craybest t1_jazy613 wrote

How can motivation not be important in every case? This is the dumbest thing I've read. (I don't mean your opinion, but how the law works)


Law_Student t1_jb0g0vb wrote

I think it's about trying to ensure that the law is applied evenly, without prejudice. Most criminals will probably have some rationalization for why they did something. If we get into judging their guilt based on such things, that could open the door to the law only applying to some people at some times, and as a society we want everyone to be subject to the law equally. So instead we take into account the entirety of the circumstances when deciding how much punishment is deserved and necessary, but someone is still guilty if they committed the act.


craybest t1_jb0g4rn wrote

And the entirety of the circumstances should obviously also include their intent and reasoning. It's absolutely nonsense it isn't.


Law_Student t1_jb0hn3q wrote

It will come up in sentencing. The judge is allowed to take it into account then. The jury can't, though, when deciding on guilt.

In this particular case the defendants essentially committed a crime against the court when they were ordered not to bring up the reason in the "are you guilty or not?" phase of the trial, and then did it anyway.


craybest t1_jb0ic6u wrote

Why shouldn't the jury know the intent of the person though? What's wrong about considering all sides in that part if the process?


Law_Student t1_jb0kk0l wrote

I suppose I can make two arguments on behalf of the way things are done.

First, the jury's role is to establish whether or not the defendant is guilty of the criminal act as defined by the statute. Did the defendant commit the crime, yes or no? Someone's reasons, in a case like this, don't really change whether they did the crime or not. They're superfluous to the limited question at hand.

Sentencing is the part where we worry about how much someone deserves to be punished for committing the crime, so mitigating factors are relevant there.

Second, it might be dangerous to the justice system's impartiality and effectiveness to allow a jury to consider other factors when they come to a decision about guilt. The laws are supposed to apply equally to everyone. If juries start carving out unpredictable exceptions based on how sympathetic they feel a particular defendant is, then the application of justice might become very unequal. For example, young black men stereotyped as hoodlums might be treated much more harshly than young, attractive white women who have different, more positive stereotypes. (Indeed, that sort of bias is already a problem even with the current system.)


Fanwhip t1_jb0ye9i wrote

Look at anti abortionists.
"our god says they are evil so we destroyed the thing bringing evil here"
Anyone who shares the same religion would/should go "they didn't do anything wrong"
The crime was "firebombing a building and destroying property of the owner"
Not "Was the religion's beliefs so strong they had the right to destroy a building and shouldn't be held accountable"

If we allowed the argument " I did what i thought needed to be done" and that was all that was needed to be guilty/not guilty. I cant imagine the amount of folks that could or would be set free.

"My body said it was natural to take what i want from them"
"I didnt like them any my brain said i should get rid of them"
"I wanted it so i made them give it to me"

None of those should be a viable defense to committing a crime.


TeamRandom27 t1_jazhpcr wrote

But if it doesn't matter why someone did something why does the separation between murder and manslaughter exist if the difference is the intend?


vascop_ t1_jazx67o wrote

They literally typed "in a case like this". Motivation is important in some cases but not in all. It doesn't matter what your motivation is for example if you stop paying your taxes.


TeamRandom27 t1_jazxgxi wrote

But the thing is that in many cases there are factors that change how long/if someone gets sentenced etc. I just don't really see how this would be different?


vascop_ t1_jazxwrx wrote

Motive can be inculpatory, exculpatory or meaningless depending on the case. I'm not sure how to repeat the same thing in different words. Maybe you'd like motive to always be considered, but that isn't how most countries practice law. This is particularly relevant for menial cases, most traffic offenses, etc. You cannot start going through red lights because you want to minimize your driving time to stop climate change for example.


TeamRandom27 t1_jb03nds wrote

I totally see what you mean but I don't really understand why it's taken into consideration for some examples and in other you aren't even allowed to mention it but I probably just don't know enough about it


mrp3anut t1_jb2et8r wrote

Ill try my hand at explaining why motive matters sometimes and not other times.

Up this chain someone mentioned murder vs manslaughter. The difference between these crimes isn’t based on “why” someone did it. The difference is based on what level of “did you do this on purpose”. The various degrees of murder aren’t different based on the specifics of your justification. In the case of manslaughter the crime is usually “you were doing some generally stupid or bad thing that wasn’t murder and by bad luck you killed somebody “. Generally the “bad” behaviour in a manslaughter case did not have the goal of killing someone. That is very different than someone who planned out the murder of another person. If you plan out a murder because you hate that person for their race, believe murdering people will reduce climate change, or just dislike that person etc doesn’t have any bearing on the question of “ was this crime done on purpose rather than bad luck while doing some far milder bad thing”


SellDonutsAtMyDoor t1_jb03hz4 wrote

Which is, in itself, an admission that the law is fundamentally intended to be ignorant or indifferent of morality in most instances, and that only high-prorile charges are afforded the consideration of moral judgement.


mrp3anut t1_jb5q3t1 wrote

Its more that “i did it because X” is only a defense when X is something society has written in as a justified reason to break that law. In the case of murder society has predetermined that self defense is a legitimate reason to kill someone and thus it can used as a defense. Killing someone because they are a climate denial activist, they are on the other side of the abortion debate, or any other reason that you personally believe to be a good enough is not a legit defense.

The law needs to be applied as equally as possible and not be subject to the whims of a given judge or jury. Obviously we aren’t perfect at accomplishing this but to purposefully undermine that foundation is a very dangerous thing. It took society a long time to progress to the point that our legal systems are set up to strive for fairness rather than punish whoever the local powers doesn’t like while letting others off because they “did it for the greater good”. Would you support the idea that the state could highlight that these two “did it for climate change” if the jury was likely yo be climate change deniers and thus more likely to find the women guilty due to their political dislike of climate change activists?


mrp3anut t1_jb56fvm wrote

It isn’t different but the time for arguing why you did it in hopes of a lighter sentence is during sentencing not when the jury is deciding if you did it or not.


Law_Student t1_jb0dd8m wrote

Some crimes do have intent requirements. First degree murder must be willful, deliberate, and premeditated, for example. So if you trip and accidentally stab someone with a knife you're holding and they die, that's not murder because it doesn't fit any of the intent requirements, and testimony about intent would be relevant.

But even with intent crimes, the ultimate reason for the intent isn't usually relevant. It's more about "did you mean to do X". The law won't punish someone for an involuntary action or an accident, only if someone chose to do something is punishment justified. But the reason for the choice rarely matters. If you intentionally walk into the road when the crosswalk sign is red then you're jaywalking and it doesn't really matter why. That sort of thing.

Voluntary manslaughter is a rare exception that gives an imperfect defense to murder for certain kinds of provocation, so we actually do need to examine the why there.


mrp3anut t1_jb5nb7x wrote

Murder vs manslaughter is not a good comparison to this scenario. The difference between murder and manslaughter is a difference in “did you do this on purpose” not a difference in your personal justification for why you did the thing.


zanderkerbal t1_jb3hvl2 wrote

I understand how dangerous a precedent this would be when applied to any of the many terrible political reasons people do things for, but frankly, the way climate change is going, I think we're at the point where if people don't start exceeding their authority very fast the legal system is going to become a suicide pact.


WasteAd9692 t1_jb9msyi wrote

Well, that sounds like a very broken legal system to me.

The right to free speech should have higher priority than procedural concerns.


Law_Student t1_jbbgsof wrote

Such a rule would make courts places where everybody shouted at everybody else and nothing got done. One of the first things people discovered about courts is that the procedure is required in order for the whole process to proceed in a way that gives everybody a chance to speak and be heard. Courts heavily regulate speech to make everything work.


OneLongjumping4022 t1_jay6kd9 wrote

Their motivation for stating the true and honest reason for their actions while in court is ALL IMPORTANT - the judge spent quite a while discussing what their motivation in telling the truth could be.

Their motivation for protesting, however, is absolutely never to be spoken out loud, and besides it's completely beside the point! Why would the motivation behind a.crime even matter, duh? Said. The. Judge.


vascop_ t1_jazwzgu wrote

Everyone thinks they are right. These two blocked a road for everyone else and ignored judge orders. If everyone that has something they care strongly about started cutting roads we wouldn't have a society for long.


SellDonutsAtMyDoor t1_jb03kat wrote

If people don't protest climate crisis we won't have a society for very long...


Darzok t1_jb1ymrl wrote

You do not understand the problem enough to make a comment like that as if you did you would not make it.


vascop_ t1_jb048an wrote

Like I said, if you ask others, they will tell you the impending doom is coming due to other reasons. AI will destroy the world, nuclear weapon proliferation, religion going out the window and the collapse of the family unit, climate change, these are all pet subjects from different people. Living in society means understanding you might be wrong. The way you feel about climate change, that the other subjects I mentioned are stupid or meaningless in comparison, that's how others might feel about your topic.

All of those might be correct to different extents, but the fact you think you're right doesn't mean an ambulance doesn't need to drive through the road you're cutting, for example. If I start cutting roads to protest the US doing drone strikes on children I'm right but I still will go to jail.


SellDonutsAtMyDoor t1_jb06poz wrote

There's a little something called scientific objectivity that separates some of those things from others. Courts are supposed to be scientific.

The fact that you think you're right doesn't mean you should be able to block emergency responders, but putting an outright ban of explaining the defendant's reasoning is stupid and is not in any way the necessary response. It's not one or the other and I'd argue it's antithetical to the concept of fair trial. Courts are supposed to have nuanced reasoning and the judge does when deciding upon a punishment.


vascop_ t1_jb07guj wrote

What's incompatible with a fair trial is making a mockery of procedures to determine if you blocked a road or not by doing a PowerPoint on climate change. It's incredible you are dancing around the fact that no level of "I think I'm right" allows you to block a road and act like an asshole in court.


SellDonutsAtMyDoor t1_jb08pl1 wrote

I literally said that I didn't think that, you dummy.

It's not a question of the act and it's consequences, it's a question of the intended act and it's intended consequences. You seem to have lost your edge on the ethical and philosophical considerations that are massive in determining how we are suppose to condemn certain behaviour, and your defence of this mechanism of the legal system comes off as infantile, reductionist and, ultimately, quite flaccid.

I lost my mother within the last year in an instance where faster ambulance response might have saved her, but I can recognise that not being able to explain yourself in court is a far wider problem than just me.


OneLongjumping4022 t1_jb133qo wrote

If only they would agree with everyone else that corporate profits come before planet death. I mean, kids are horrible little beasts, and your great-grandchildren will taste nummy. They'll be so happy you stood up for faceless corporations over your heroic fellowmen.

But hey, protesting out loud while wearing breasts! Get the scolds bridle! Oh, right, the judge already put that on them.


GetlostMaps t1_jayxml1 wrote

This is a bait article for people who don't understand legal practice. It has zero substance and is just stirring ignorant people. It's mainly a story about people who needed a lawyer and refused to get one because they were arrogant and wanted to fall on their sword for the publicity you're not giving them. Congrats. You got played.


KingRobotPrince t1_jaz104a wrote

>He concluded that the defendants had either set out to “manipulate” the jury into acquitting them even if they were sure of the pair’s guilt, or to use the trial to continue their protest within the courtroom.

>“Either motivation would be serious as you would be seeking to set yourselves above the law,” the judge said.

Seems pretty clear. They don't want people breaking the law and then saying that even though they did it, it was OK because they were fighting climate change.

People should be able to see how bad it is be to allow people to mount such a defence, and how juries letting people get away with crimes based on ideology would be a very bad thing.

The court decides whether they are guilty or not, not that what they were doing was so noble that they shouldn't be found guilty of a crime for doing it.

Something like self-defense is different, as the circumstances can mean that the accused is in reality not guilty of a crime.


zanderkerbal t1_jb3hf7d wrote

Frankly, if the law says that it's not okay to try to prevent your extermination, the law can get fucked, and anybody in a position to prevent the law from getting us killed has an obligation to do so. In the majority of cases, I would probably agree with the principle, but even then seven weeks is ridiculous.


Marrossii t1_jazvi1v wrote

I don't know about UK, but presenting their "reason" for a crime as a part of defence, in order to make it look like a "reasonable decision" is common practice in other jurisdictions and sometimes it even works, typically by getting lighter sentence.

I would imagine in UK it is similar because if not, than what would be the point of having a trial and a defence if the guilt is already proven. Just have the judge pass a sentence from an office.


Hot-Ad-6967 t1_jay7iez wrote

It seems like the judge does not want to accept the grim reality they are living in right now. This is not a healthy mental state for the judge. There may be a need to replace the judge with a tough judge who is not afraid to face reality.


magicseadog t1_jaya57d wrote

I guess you don't understand how laws and courts work? Judges can't let people off because they are sympathetic with their cause. They adjudicate on the law. These people are not even helping to fight climate change. Climate change needs work and ingenuity to solve.

If these people wanted to do something they would go study and then help, rather than inconvienncing those of us who are working on solutions and destroying art.


vlsdo t1_jayd5oz wrote

Nobody said anything about letting people off. But surely mentioning the motivation for their crime is relevant to the case and should be admitted in court. Otherwise why even have courts in the first place? Why not just dispatch justice Judge Dredd style, where the judge decides on his own the guilt and punishment for any action?


KingRobotPrince t1_jaz07i4 wrote

>But surely mentioning the motivation for their crime is relevant to the case and should be admitted in court.

It's their defence. So they would be saying that the fact that they did something because of climate change should have some effect on their guilt or sentencing.

Most decisions made in court have an effect on subsequent cases, so accepting it might set a precedent for these kinds of ideological beliefs to be accepted in court.

It's fairly obvious why fighting climate change isn't allowed in someone's defence.


ZharethZhen t1_jayhssi wrote

I mean, that's just wrong. Judges can and do let people off when they are sympathetic to them.


GetlostMaps t1_jayxoqu wrote

Maybe in shithole countries..


ZharethZhen t1_jb4b1kg wrote

Yeah, like all of them. Seriously, just google how rapists are often treated by the judges, like the Rapist Brock Turner.


Hot-Ad-6967 t1_jaye4v1 wrote

You are correct. I did not suggest that they should be let off. The judge is preventing them from explaining their motivations in court. It is already known what motivates them, so why prevent them from explaining their motivation?


KingRobotPrince t1_jaz15ja wrote

>You are correct. I did not suggest that they should be let off. The judge is preventing them from explaining their motivations in court.

But he is doing that because he believes that the defendants will use their motivation to influence the jury to let them off. (Which appears to be what happened.)


Hot-Ad-6967 t1_jaz5f89 wrote

The jury probably already knew this. In this case, climate change is well known, and there are a number of climate change protests going on, so this is not a rocket science for the jury to determine why this is happening. From the jury's perspective, the judge prevents them from explaining their motivations and are afraid of the grim reality. Is that influencing the jury in any way?


KingRobotPrince t1_jazaalj wrote

Sure, they obviously know what is going on, but the court doesn't want the defendants putting on a lecture on how bad climate change is and how we need to act now or they had no choice but to do what they did.

There is no "not guilty based on climate change". And nor should there be.


Hot-Ad-6967 t1_jazbe14 wrote

The judge is personality martyring them and may cause other people to follow them.


KingRobotPrince t1_jazgwgr wrote

I don't think so. He's punishing them for not following his directions.

If it becomes a trend for these kinds of protesters to lecture in the courtroom to try and sway the jury, there are going to be consequences.


Hot-Ad-6967 t1_jazhke0 wrote

Yes, the followers will want to emulate them. They want that to happen, and the judge is providing them with what they desire. It is a dangerous political tactic.


ShadowDragon8685 t1_jb04h42 wrote

This judge needs to bone up on Streisand, Barbara, Effect Thereof.

The correct response in this case, if the judge's motivation is to support the property-owner status quo, is to declare a mistrial, or whatever the English equivalent of a jury unable to reach a verdict is, and tell the prosecutor to quietly fail to file again.

Jailing them like this is only going to amplify their message. Case in point: I'm some schmuck from New Jersey and had no idea an old British woman and a British woman about my age had glued themselves to a tarmac. Now I do. I hadn't even heard of "Insulate Britain;" now I have.


kawkz440 t1_jazxgb8 wrote

And here I thought US judges could be incompetent boobs.