Express & Star

Why people have been sat outside Wolverhampton Crown Court holding placards

A midlands-based protest group has staged a 'silent protest' in an attempt to 'defend' the rights of juries to make decisions based on emotion as well as evidence.

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Six West Midlands residents sat silently outside of Wolverhampton Crown Court on Thursday afternoon as part of a campaign organised by 'Defend Our Juries'.

The vigil also marked another significant event for the group as member Trudi Warner, a 68-year-old from London, appeared at the Royal Court of Justice for her permission hearing after she was arrested for contempt of court after protesting outside of Inner London Crown Court.

Now, the group displayed signs and sat silently as many passed them to get into Wolverhampton Crown Court, with Kris Welsh, welfare officer for the group, answering questions on their behalf.

Kris, 71, from Telford, said: "The six people sitting here today are quite literally upholding the law. They're holding the same sign that exists in the marble entrance to the Old Bailey court, that allows the right of juries to bring in a verdict according to their conscience.

"It's silent vigil is happening at every single Crown Court in England and Wales. So I'm not sure how many people overall at the moment. On the last National Day in December, we had over 500 people sitting. But it will definitely be more this time."

'Defend our Juries' protesters staged a silent vigil outside of Wolverhampton Crown Court on Thursday afternoon

Kris said that the optimal outcome for the group would be that juries are given the right to give their verdict according to their conscience.

Kris continued: "I think the optimal outcome of this is that the legal system confirms that the juries have this right to give their verdict according to their conscience because that is absolutely being challenged by some judges in some cases at the moment.

"We want the jury to be able to hear all the arguments, from both sides and be able to base their verdict on the conscience."

The group's silent vigils took place all over England and Wales, with protests taking place at each Crown Court across the two areas.