A DEMONSTRATION is taking place outside Winchester Crown Court by Defend Our Juries.

The group, which hold demonstrations nationally, is highlighting the rights of jurors. 

Eight protesters sat outside Winchester Crown Court just before 9am this morning for a silent protest. 

Group spokesman Steve Masters said: “We're here to highlight the fact of the absolute right of jurors to acquit on matters of conscience. Defendants are being prevented from telling juries their reasons for why they are in court.”

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On a placard Mr Masters was holding, it said: “Jurors have an absolute right to acquit a defendant according to their conscience.”

On the group's website, it said: “Juries are widely accepted to be the safeguard we all have against the tyrannical abuse of power by politicians, ministers and those in positions of authority in our courts.

“But following a pattern of jury acquittals of those exposing Government dishonesty and corporate greed through direct action, Judges in UK courtrooms are denying both defendants and jurors their rights by restricting what defendants can say in their trials and by limiting what jurors are allowed to hear. People have been sent to prison just for using the words ‘climate change’ and ‘fuel poverty’ in court and banned from explaining their motivations to the jury.”

The Ministry of Justice has been contacted for a comment.