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

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

This is the second time the group has held a protest in Winchester, with the last one in December. 

Ten people and a dog sat outside the crown court, taking up their positions just before 9am. 

Group spokesman Lucy Harding, from Reading, said: “We have come to support this because people who have been protesting about the lack of action taken by the government on climate change. When protesters are sent for trial, what has been happening is the courts is that judges are saying to the defendants that they cannot mention climate change, fuel poverty or what their motive is. We feel that jurors are not getting the full evidence. 

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Hampshire Chronicle: Defend Our Juries demonstration outside Winchester Crown Court

“Also judges are very forcefully directing jurors as to how they expect them to vote. It makes a mockery of the jury system which goes back to the Magna Carta. It is our right to be tried by our peers.”

They were holding placards which 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.”