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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Lawyers and civil liberties groups condemn jury curbs

The Independent reports that lawyers and civil liberties groups yesterday urged the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, to back down over proposals to limit the right to trial by jury as he prepared for a bitter parliamentary battle to force the proposals into law.

In a letter to The Independent, the Law Society and the Bar Council joined civil liberties groups in urging Mr Blunkett to accept a string of Lords amendments toning down the Criminal Justice Bill.

Ministers will attempt to revive the plans in the Commons today after they were thrown out by a coalition of Conservative and Liberal Democrat peers. They will also try to reverse defeats over proposals to allow juries to be given details of defendants’ previous convictions.

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