THE decision of the jury to clear the Colston Four of criminal damage is in many respects both a shocking and logical expression of the changes taking place in law, where universal rules of law are replaced by a rule by values that are promoted by the new establishment.

From even the conservative press who described the Black Lives Matter protests during lockdown as a 'river of humanity', to the knee-taking police and football players, the big tech, corporate giants and cultural elites who adopted the BLM logo as their own, and the politicians who set up commissions to assess which statues should be torn down, the message has been very clear: 'Educate Yourselves'.

Showing that they were part of the new 'educated' classes, the police in Bristol stood back and allowed protestors to tear down the Colston statue, drag it through the streets, and throw it in the river.

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One of the four legal frameworks of defence offered to the four accused of this offence was that if property is destroyed with the owner’s consent, then it is not a crime. Well, if the police response is anything to go by, then fill your boots – the rule by values means right thinking people can destroy what they like.

Another of the four possible outs given to the accused and hence the jury during the trial was based on a ruling by the UK Supreme Court known as the Ziegler case. Here we found that the right to use public highways was trumped by an extension of the freedom of expression that allowed the righteous environmentalist to lie down in front of your evil car.

In other words, if you have the correct opinions, like an environmentalist, you have the right to break the law because these laws do not apply to you. In the Colston case, you have the right to express your opinion by destroying property.

Another defence for the vandalism was that the statue itself was an affront to public order. The difficulty here is in judging what we mean by 'the public'.

At a time when genuinely active mass public and political organisations are noticeable by their absence, what counts as 'the public' is often little more than the noise made by the cultural elites and the media.

Once again, based on this, as a jury member it would be reasonable to assume that the statue was an affront to public decency. Indeed, the Colston Four claimed that the statue was a hate crime, and we all know which way we must bend when that accusation is thrown our way.

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During the trial, the defence lawyers were told off by the judge for urging the jury to make sure they were standing on the right side of history. Judge Peter Bain QC further remarked that the jury may have felt a further burden due to the defence claims that their decision would have global ramifications.

Additionally, major criticisms have been raised about political 'experts' being used by the defence, like the testimony of Professor David Olusoga, a man who wished he had been with the protestors, who was used as an expert witness, not about the vandalism but about the sinful nature of Edward Colston.

Other prominent figures and campaigners, like the artist Banksy, who supported the accused, helped to turn a court case about criminal damage into an assessment of your values. In the end, the jury appears to have gotten the message and shown to the world that they had indeed educated themselves.

Unfortunately, this shift from the rule of law to the rule by law, where law itself is little more than an extension of elite values, means that law as a universal set of rules is torn to shreds.

The very same actions, if carried out by 'gammon' man, 'TERF' woman, or simply Joe Bloggs would result in fines and imprisonment for the perpetrators. Once again modern law comes to look like an aristocratic ass.

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