At the inquest on the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, Sir Michael Wright, a former High Court judge, said that it was "not justified" to consider the death as a criminal offence.
As the jury prepare to be sent out to reach a verdict, Sir Michael instructed them that the death could not be considered an unlawful killing and told jurors they can only return an open verdict or one of lawful killing.
On Thursday, several relatives walked out of the hearing wearing T-shirts bearing messages critical of the coroner's decision to exclude a verdict of unlawful killing - "Unlawful killing verdict" and "Your legal right to decide". .
Sir Michael Wright said it was "wrong for anyone to try to put pressure on a jury and it should not have happened". BBC They have commenced their third day of deliberations this morning.
Bushel’s Case (1670) is a famous English decision on the role of juries resulting from the desire of the Crown to persecute Quakers. Having failed to succeed against Sir William Penn (founder of Pennsyvania) they decided to prosecute him with his son, William Mead, for a charge of unlawful assembly.
.... in the parish of St. Bennet Grace-church in Bridge-ward, London, in the street called Grace-church street, unlawfully and tumultuously did assemble and congregate themselves together, to the disturbance of the peace of the said lord the king:In August, 1670, the two Quakers were challenging the Conventicle Act, which restricted certain religious practices.
The judge had charged the jury that they "shall not be dismissed until we have a verdict that the court will accept."
When the juryled by Edward Bushell decided to acquit, the judge was not willing to accept it and sent them back, fining them.
Clerk. What say you? Look upon the prisoners at the bar; is William Penn guilty of the matter whereof he stands indicted, in manner and form as aforesaid, or Not Guilty?
Foreman. William Penn is Guilty of speaking in Gracechurch-Street.
Mayor. To an unlawful assembly?
Bush. No, my lord, we give no other verdict than what we gave last night; we have no other verdict to give.
Edward Bushell, refused to pay the fine and so the judge threatened him that "[y]ou shall be locked up without meat, drink, fire, and tobacco. You shall not think thus to abuse the court; we will have a verdict, by the help of God, or you shall starve for it."
This was apparently not unusual - well into the nineteenth century, jurors were locked up without 'food or fire, water or candle' until they reached a verdict.
Bushel, the foreman of the jury, took a case to the Court of Common Pleas, where it was established by Sir John Vaughan (Christ Church) that a jury could not be coerced into giving a particular verdict. This case established unequivocally the independence of the jury. Reported by Chief Justice Vaughan in 124 ER 1006 (The English Reports). See whole case here Howells State Trials also 6th Form Law !!! and Wikipedia
There is a plaque commemorating 'Bushell's Case' in the Old Bailey with the names of the jurors involved and also include Sir John Vaughan....
This tablet commemorates the courage and endurance of the jury, Thomas Vere, Edward Bushell and ten others, who refused to give a guilty verdict against them although they were 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 Habeas Corpus and Chief Justice Vaughn delivered the opinion of the court which established the Right of Juries to give their Verdict according to their conviction.
Curiously no legal eagles / Press have pointed this out.