One of my very first posts since I started this blog concerned a defendant`s right to choose trial by jury in low value charges of theft; an either way offence. The English legal system is unique in its allowing a defendant the right to choose mode of trial in certain cases. By all logical thinking this anomaly should have been eliminated long ago. With the funding of the justice system having been hacked to pieces by the cleaver of Kenneth Clarke the retention of the right to choose is in itself an anomaly for its cost to the budget irrespective of the legal positions. It is mainly the opposition of lawyers which shoulders the blame for this continuing aberration their main argument being that for certain defendants of previous good character a conviction for theft of however minute an amount can be a devastating blow to career and lifestyle and therefore they should take their chances with a jury of their peers. Except their so called peers might be virtually illiterate lacking basic English and unable to follow even a simple conversation never mind complex argument. But the corollary of that position is that what is good enough for the common man.....summary trial, is not good enough for higher profile professional defendants. This appears to be flying in the face of a justice system where all are equal before the law. Or perhaps it is the cash available for high priced non legal aid barristers to defend their wealthy clients. Unlike the magistrate quoted in this report, it was the first time he had committed a case like this to the higher court, benches where I have been involved have committed about 1% - 5% of such cases to the Crown Court. I wonder whether in the current climate Mr Clarke will have the cojones to grab this nettle and initiate the mooted long overdue changes?