Some footnotes to the conviction of Thomas Mair

Seldom can there have been less doubt about the outcome of a case than there was over today’s conviction of Thomas Mair for the murder of the MP Jo Cox.

The prosecution was able to rely upon numerous eye-witnesses, a compelling battery of scientific evidence, CCTV, weapons, and Mr Mair’s own words at the first hearing in the magistrates court when he shouted “death to traitors, freedom for Britain!” To cap it all, the house where he lived contained a bookshelf full of Nazi-related books, topped off by a metal Third Reich eagle.

There may be people wishing to speculate on the political ramifications of the case. I offer just 5 law-related observations.

  1. How can you defend a man you know is guilty?

This is the classic “dinner party” question with which barristers quickly become familiar. The normal answer is that we do not know that our clients are guilty, we may suspect, but “knowing” is something different. The question is easily answered, some might say evaded, by pointing out that fact, and saying that it is for the Court and not defence counsel to decide guilt.

In this case, however, it is possible that Simon Russell-Flint QC did literally know that his client was guilty. Whilst we cannot know what instructions he was given, it seems quite likely that Mr Mair had admitted it.

Even if – and of course I have absolutely no way of knowing – Mr Mair had told his barrister that he was guilty, Mr Russell-Flint was right not to withdraw from the case, although the rules of ethical advocacy would have greatly restricted what he was able to say. The barristers’ Code of Conduct makes fairly clear what is not permitted:

… you would be misleading the court and would therefore be in breach of [the code of conduct] if you were to set up a positive case inconsistent with the confession, as for example by:

  1. – suggesting to prosecution witnesses, calling your client or your witnesses to show;or submitting to the jury,that your client did not commit the crime; or
  1. – suggesting that someone else had done so; or
  1. – putting forward an alibi.”

Mr Russell-Flint did none of those things.

He would, no doubt, have attempted to persuade him to plead guilty, or at least he would have pointed out the futility of contesting the charges. Mair now faces an exceptionally lengthy sentence; very likely a “whole-life” tariff. His only real hope of ever enjoying freedom again (and it would have been a slim one) would have been to plead guilty. Clearly his advice was ignored.

His conduct of the trial was a demonstration of the ethical limitations a barrister has when defending a person who has no answer to the charges. He challenged virtually none of the evidence apart from a minor issue about what Mair said to the police when he was arrested. He did not call Mair to give evidence and his very short closing speech amounted to an acceptance that Ms Cox was “brutally murdered,” and no denial that his client was responsible, or even what would have been a patently absurd argument that the prosecution had failed to prove its case:

You and you alone will determine whether Thomas Mair can return to his quiet and solitary existence or will forever be remembered as the man who assassinated Jo Cox.”

Nevertheless it would have been unthinkable for Mair, if he wanted it, to be denied legal representation. Even in the very worst case there is always a possibility that a competent defence can find something to say which mitigates the crime. And from the wider public perspective, if Mr Mair had been refused representation because of his admission of guilt, that would only serve to encourage the neo-Nazis who even now, absurdly, are claiming that he has been “stitched up” by the “establishment.”

  1. Why was no medical evidence called on the state of Mair’s mental health?

The prosecution would have had no interest in proving that he was insane, or that his responsibility was diminished as a result of mental health problems.

Why then did the defence not call any such evidence? Insanity or, more realistically, manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, provided the only remotely plausible escape route from a life sentence. So why did the jury not hear from any psychiatrist? There are quite a number of explanations: perhaps Mair had refused to co-operate with the preparation of any such report. Perhaps he had co-operated but the psychiatrists had agreed that he was entirely sane and not suffering from any relevant mental health problems.

Even though the defence did not run any form of “psychiatric” defence, it is likely that before he is sentenced the judge will want to give some consideration to his mental health.

  1. Why were the jury read a statement from Stephen Kinnock?

Mr Kinnock’s statement seems to have had nothing to do with proving the guilt of Mr Mair. It was a heartfelt tribute to a friend and political colleague.

I have no idea why it was admitted into evidence. Such letters are often read once someone has been convicted, but it is hard to see the relevance while Mair’s guilt was still not legally established. Perhaps, for some reason, the defence agreed to this unusual course being adopted.

  1. Why did Prosecution Counsel make a closing speech?

There used to be a convention in the Crown Court that where the defendant called no evidence the prosecution would not make a closing speech. Since the case of R v. C (Mark Anthony) [2007] EWCA Crim 378 – as an aside, if you are going to anonymise the case as “C” why then go on to give his two other names? – this has largely gone. Certainly in cases in which, as with Mr Mair, the prosecution wish to invite the jury to draw an adverse inference from a defendant’s silence, the Court of Appeal’s view is that the argument should come from counsel, not the judge. If the judge raises the issue for the first time there would be a much greater danger of him or her seeming to be partisan in favour of the prosecution.

5. What will his sentence be?

Subject to any last minute psychiatric evidence, he is bound to receive a life sentence: that is mandatory for murder. The only issue is what minimum term the judge will set before he can be considered for release.

Under Criminal Justice Act 2003 Schedule 21 Paragraph 4 (2) (c) the “appropriate starting point” for a murder that is done for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause” is a whole life term.

I find it impossible to imagine that there could be any mitigation that could change that, so he should expect to die in prison.

The prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison must be a terrible thing but this was a terrible crime and there will be very few, outside the neo-Nazi community, that will feel sorry for him.

Jo Cox’s family will have at least the small consolation that justice has been done to her killer.

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Author: Matthew

I have been a barrister for over 25 years, specialising in crime. You may also have come across some of my articles I have written on legal issues for The Times, Standpoint, Daily Telegraph or Criminal Law & Justice Weekly

36 thoughts on “Some footnotes to the conviction of Thomas Mair”

  1. I have not been a barrister but I have been an Appropriate Adult with a mental health charity/local police service and I can only say that the reason why he did not have a plea of manslaughter diminished responsibility was that he admitted that he did it; thereby admitting that he formed a mens rea. He told the police “Yes it was me”; that’s apart from all the eye witness evidence. As an adjunct to that he probably told his barrister that he had done it; I remember many “confessions” to me from my clients “I did it you know”. On that basis I think that the defence counsel did the only things remaining to them, to keep silent. There can be no mitigation to what Thomas Mair did in broad daylight and quite bluntly he got what he deserved.

  2. Matthew, you write with such clarity and compassion, it is a joy to read your pieces. Especially when so much of what I’ll loosely call ‘journalism’ is getting worse, almost unbearable.
    Thank you, Chris G.

  3. Thanks Matthew. I seem to remember that in Norway – with a different legal system – court psychiatric reports were that Breivik was mentally ill and another that he had narcissistic personality disorder and was capable of intent. Breivik himself insisted he was sane and his sentence was decided on this basis.
    Is it still the case in the UK that a ‘personality disorder’ is not a psychiatric illness such that it is capable of obviating mens rea in murder – while people are still deterred by the McNaughton rules from avoiding fitness to plead on the grounds of insanity?
    I remember the psych issue came up in the Sutcliffe case – he was mentally ill (in addition to whatever else) but public policy dictated there had to be murder trial? Not a diminished responsibility plea?
    Would think it unlikely the Cox case would admit of a diminished responsibility in the circs.

  4. “Under Criminal Justice Act 2003 Schedule 21 Paragraph 4 (2) (c) the “appropriate starting point” for a murder that is “done for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause” is a whole life term.”

    I, along with many lay-people I’m sure, struggle with the legal difference between murder and manslaughter.

    Could someone please enlighten us by, for example, explaining the legal difference, and treatment of the accused, between releasing a bullet from a gun in the direction of a victim, as happened here, and releasing a concrete block from a high bridge in the direction of a victim (incidentally, “done for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause”) as happened in the miners’ strike?

    And if in the current case the accused didn’t “mean” to kill the victim, the release of the bullet from the gun being “done for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause”?

    1. To be guilty of murder the killer has to intend to kill of cause grievous bodily harm to the victim.

      The difference in the two cases is that Mair clearly did intend to kill Jo Cox. There can be no serious dispute about that. In the Miners’ case, I think I am right in saying that the intention was to frighten the working miner travelling in the taxi, not to kill (or cause GBH to) the taxi driver. I remember from my undergraduate law days there was much argument as to whether doing an act that will almost inevitably lead to death (or GBH) equates to intention to kill (or cause GBH) even if the killer did not form the intention in his own mind. I believe the Court of Appeal said it did, whilst the House of Lords said it didn’t. So ultimately the killers in that case were done for manslaughter rather than murder as they did not intend to kill or cause GBH to their victim.

  5. It still doesn’t explain WHY he did it, though, does it? I mean, quite clearly it did not advance the cause – it was wholly repugnant and counter productive.
    Which begs the question: did he do it because he believed in ‘the cause’ in which case he is utterly deluded and/or very stupid,
    Or did he do it because he has a huge boiling well of anger and resentment in his breast at all the imagined injustices he has suffered – a bit like Thomas Hamilton, the Dunblane killer, perhaps?
    There does seem to be a pattern of sad and bitter older males, loners, taking out their anger on innocents, whether targeted, powerless, or perceived as powerful, through deliberate and premeditated assassination. But most take it out on themselves, through suicide – murdering others and murdering yourself are surely closely related violent expressions of depression?
    In which case we are discussing a very sick man.

    1. @Robert In other words, murdering others and murdering yourself are similarly malicious acts. But I don’t think you can say, “I’m malicious because I’m mentally ill and for no other reason, therefore I am innocent”. You might say, “I’m malicious because I have no way of discerning right from wrong, because I’m mentally ill”, which mitigates wrongdoing, but not malice. Or something.

  6. I noted that after the verdict Mair asked to address the court but the judge declined to allow him to do so.

    I did a bit of research on Sutcliffe ending up in Broadmoor once and noted that the suggestion was that he was moved there not because he was deemed insane but because Parkhurst couldn’t hold him safely. He had lost an eye in an attack by a fellow prsioner.

    My only other wonder is if the Judiciary, as representative of the State, is keen to ensure that there is a fail-safe deterrent sentence made obvious, if a “law-maker” (as our democratic representatives are often called in the USA) is murdered for apparently political reasons.

  7. The accused’s admission of commission should not necessarily preclude a mental disorder defence if he had been thinking delusionally at the point of commission. From what was originally reported, there was a background of some psychiatric disturbance in respect of Mair. Of course, I don’t know how much substance was in that. But I wonder whether the defence were unable to source a UK psychiatrist, who was prepared to go out on a limb and diagnose some kind of personality disorder – that might just have given them an ‘in’ for running a diminished responsibility defence. It might not have had much prospect of success, but there might then have been some purpose in going to trial.

    Were the experts witnesses spooked by the high profile of this case – and feared the resultant media scrutiny? Could it be because of the chilling effect of the Supreme Court’s decision in Jones v Kaney (2011) to abolish their immunity from suit?

    Could the defence not have done some more shopping around? After all, the murder only happened as recently as June. How many experts did they actually use or approach?

    Meanwhile, I find it remarkable that the judge has proceeded to immediately sentence the accused.

    1. “Shopping around” for a “helpful” psychiatrist requires

      (a) money; &

      (b) the co-operation of the accused.

      I’m pretty sure (a) was lacking & I’d guess that (b) may well have been.

    2. Sir, you make a valid point. As someone who has acted as an expert witness in a criminal trial and been accused of ‘choosing’ to assist undesirable people, I can understand why an expert would not wish to be instructed by the defence in a case such as this. I suspect the expert might fear abuse and threats via social media.

      .

  8. I’m glad the murderer has been convicted. As for his victim, she was keen on Britain attacking Syria, a country in which we have no vital interest. Some people would reckon that as an attempt to promote murder. Still, she probably didn’t mean it: just manoeuvring for political advantage, I dare say. And if she was guilty of attempting to foment murder, I’d prefer she had been tried rather than murdered by this horrible fool/nutcase.

      1. She promoted the cause vigorously before the vote. But, as I said, she was probably just manoeuvring for political advantage.

  9. Although we can never condone murder, one is however, given to wonder what Jo Cox’s family thought about all those thousands of White women and girls in our Northern towns and cities who have been systematically raped, sexually enslaved, beaten, tortured, murdered and in one case apparently turned into kebabs and consumed by unwitting members of the general public in racially motivated attacks. – Attacks which Ms. Cox’s mass immigration policy directly caused and which mass immigration policy Jo Cox was so vehemently decided on continuing without end right up until the moment of her death.

    Thomas Mair’s defence could have been greatly improved by referencing the UN Convention on Genocide Article 2 Part C, which defines genocide as: “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

    It is absolutely clear that this is what Jo Cox and many other MP’s were engaged in at the time of her assassination. It is equally clear that far from the police and Crown Prosecution Service doing their job by arresting and prosecuting these MP’s for their many serious crimes against the nation, these institutions actually went out of their way to conspire to cover up these crimes and to find excuses not to investigate them. – Or even worse in some cases actually found excuses to investigate the whistleblowers of these crimes themselves in an effort to impose a culture of mass intimidation and convenient silence.

    When professional law enforcement is itself corrupt to the point of conspiracy and collaboration with a self-evidently criminal regime or government, there is always the case for self-defence for those who choose to take the law into their own hands in an attempt to protect their lives, families, culture and wider communities from organized hostile threats imposed through corrupted state powers.

    1. I have let your thoroughly nasty comment through, partly because I have a policy of moderating as little as possible, and partly because I think bigotry and political extremism is better revealed than concealed.

      1. I wonder if the above comment from Chris White had been written by, say, a member of the White Helmets (supposedly given $23M by the US, pledged £33M by the UK, and over £100M overall for providing shall we say, “rescue” services, in Syria), or the husband of Jo Cox (apparently a specialist in “promoting causes”), with the appropriate names/ countries/ sects/ peoples revised, would the content still be considered as “thoroughly nasty……. bigotry and political extremism?

        Or even if they had been written about, say, Bush or even Blair?!

        Or, for that matter, if they had been written by Jo Cox about the Assad (and/or Putin) “regimes”?

        Or if she had survived and written something similar about the Trump “regime” in the future?!

      2. It doesn’t seem to be bigotry and political extremism to me: just another serious point of view. Perhaps you are covering your back against a bigoted and politically extremist third party causing trouble for your blog? Of course the subject is nasty, just as yours was.

        At the time of the murder I looked up the the local paper and there was a report of a particularly nasty rape case of the kind referred to. I wondered whether this might have tipped the murderer over the edge, given his possible psychological frailty. This was while lots of people here and abroad were telling us it was the referendum campaign which had done that. Which do you think is more likely? Is it politically extremist or bigoted to ask?

        1. About the time of the referendum the papers were full of an “assault” (verbal) by three, was it, drunken yobs on a Manchester tram telling a Hispanic Yank to go home and eventually even, shock horror spilling some beer on him.

          This treatment of a white looking, American sounding, person was blamed on the Leave campaign?!

          At the same time the media were also blaming a phoned threat to firebomb a West Indian old people’s home in Manchester on the Leave campaign?!?!

          The Manchester Police Facebook page seemed to be exclusively and obsessively concerned with these two Brexit fuelled “hate crimes” and their determination to track down and punish the evil perpetrators.

          This attitude was reflected by the “liberal” public responses (along the lines of if we can’t hang the knuckledragging, racist, xenophobic, bigoted, Little Englander Ukippers, then they should be locked up for life and the key thrown away, after accidentally falling down the stairs to their cell……).

          However, one local posted querying why the police weren’t taking as seriously the sexual assault of a seven year old girl, or the beating up of a bus driver by a gang of real thugs (which probably sparked the firebombing threat) and was subjected to a torrent of “liberal” Remainer abuse for being a knuckledragging, racist, xenophobic, bigoted, Little Englander Ukipper who should be locked up for life and the key thrown away, after (she) accidentally fell down the stairs to her cell……

          The least offensive reply was along the lines of: the police would OF COURSE be treating the sexual assault of the seven year old girl and the gang beating up the bus driver EQUALLY SERIOUSLY as the “attack” on the American tram passenger.

          And they wonder why some people get frustrated!

  10. If the defence council suspected that the defendant was suffering from severe psychosis but, as is often the case, was under the delusion of self rationality, would the defence council be obliged by the court to insist on an independent psychotic evaluation, against the wishes of their client ?

  11. There’s been an awful lot of Kant over the Jo Cox killing. It was an absolutely indefensible crime and one which shocked the entire nation, but the implications of its timing has been ignored in favour of creating a myth which suits the Xist machinery.

    The media show images of Nazism and the Final Solution on a perpetual basis. They also show continuous salacious crime ‘documentaries’ about killing. Last night there were more than a dozen such programmes available on Freeview. It’s the same every night and I often ask ‘Who watches this stuff, they must be sick?’.

    I don’t know why but many people are fascinated by violent voyeurism, as their constant exposure in the ratings proves. Various studies have supposedly scientifically proven that exposure to crime and killing in the media does not cause ordinary people to go out and kill, which suits the Media no end. Juxtapose this with the claim, by the same media, that exposure to pornography increases the likelihood of sexual crime.

    The Rochdale false Satanic Abuse Scandal in the 1990s was created by over-zealous fundamentalist Christians in the local social services, but though he condemned them for creating the false accusations the judge in the inquiry, Justice Brown, found that the cause of the children’s ‘horrors’ which were replayed to the questing social workers, was that the parents had allowed them to watch ‘Video Nasties’.

    This caused Jeremy Laurance to later write:

    “It would be helpful now to everyone, especially those charged with the protection of children, if the debate about whether or not ritual abuse exists were drawn to a close. Allegations of Satanism should be directed where they belong – at the horror films and videos that almost certainly triggered the scare a decade ago, and have fostered it ever since.” Jeremy Laurance, Independent 1st March 2001

    Yet surely if people were influenced to commit crimes by watching them enacted on TV or film, then there would be predictable and mammoth increases in violence, murder, robbery and rape whenever a film or video was shown. We know that is not the case, therefore the conclusion is that images and ideologies of violence push only a minority of SUSCEPTIBLE people into criminal acts.

    We can all bring to mind cases where SOME criminals have copy-catted crimes they’ve watched first on TV or in movies. Yet millions watched the same programmes and movies without going out to kill.

    Obviously the majority of people who have control of their thinking assume that they can rationalise a TV documentary on crime and not become obsessed or fascinated with it and this seems to be the case BUT there was one particularly horrific photograph I accidentally came across on the internet of a pretty little four year old Sunni girl who had her heart cut out whilst she was still alive by ISIS militants who then took a picture of her blood soaked slashed open chest and her last grimaces to post on the internet as a warning to their enemies. That made me want to kill them for sure! Does that make me ‘susceptible’ to crime. I suppose it does, in extremis, but that kind of crime our society would call Heroism.

    Many millions of people appear to be fascinated with the Nazis because of the horrors committed. Only a few thousand of those millions of voyeurs actually give Nazism credence as a valid political path. Millions of people will have books on Nazism and Nazi paraphernalia in their homes and have no intention of committing any crimes. Mair is said to have been interested in Nazism for about 20 years. Why didn’t he do anything before now? What was it that prompted him to mercilessly kill poor Jo Cox? We will never know because the Xist machinery effectively rolled it all up into a left-wing Nazi stereotype and projected the cause of his actions on Neo-Nazis and Brexiter anti-immigrant propaganda! A classic example of the Establishment strengthening its hold on dissenters.

    The government and the police keep saying that they don’t understand how and why young men get radicalised and join ISIS whilst at the same time condoning Media propaganda showing wall-to-wall images of children being killed and maimed in Syria. Is it any wonder that a nominal Muslim of the Shia sect would demand action from the U.K. government, and then, after realising that it is in reality powerless (or unwilling), go to fight for their side in Syria and elsewhere? Isn’t this exactly what respectable socialists did in the Spanish Civil War?

    The British Media are trying to pass Mair off as some kind of Gavrilo Princip (the lone anarchist who shot Franz Ferdinand and tipped Europe into the Great War.) but this is not a conspiracy. The police have found no active political connections. There is no audit trail of political activities, no ‘declaration’ of war, as there was in the case of Anders Breivik who the press are likening Mair to. Mair did not use his trial as a platform to espouse his political beliefs and get the oxygen of publicity for his ‘comrades’.

    The motivation for Mair killing Cox is far more likely to have been the fact that, in those few days prior to the Referendum, the British Press were crowing unanimously that it was a certainty that Brexiters would lose. In searching locally for some Remainer to pay for that Mair fell on the unfortunate Jo Cox.

    The history of racial tensions in Dewsbury, next door to Birstal are completely ignored, where the ironically named Savile Town ghetto contains over 4,000 moslem immigrants several of which have been radicalised and killed in the middle east.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3125530/The-breeding-ground-jihadis-ice-cream-lady-wears-burka-great-textile-town-Dewsbury-undergone-terrible-transformation.html

    All this would have been simmering in Mair no doubt. In such a situation Mair should NOT have been allowed to refuse to give evidence and he should not have been silenced when he tried to speak at the end. His mad reasoning should have been chased down publicly and his thinking ridiculed for what it is.

    As far as the aftermath of the trial is concerned. Taking the opportunity to belittle and disenfranchise ordinary people who suffer at grass-roots level what intellectuals who live in their rich ghettoes never see, and defame all Brexiters as ‘Nazis’ is simply beyond the pale and will make matters far worse.

    If Britain is to get through this world-shift in political ideology which is progressively eroding the machinery of State here, in Europe and throughout the U.S. then the government and the judicial system will have to do a lot more than scapegoat a stupid white man as a Nazi political assassin.

    The SAFF predicted all this years ago. You can see our analysis and background on Breivik and the rise of the Christian Right here: http://saff.nfshost.com/norway.htm

    You can read how ancient blood-libels indoctrinated into our society since mediaeval times keep resurfacing to create pogroms, witch-hunts and ‘justified killings’ here:
    http://saff.nfshost.com/nwo.htm

    Tony Rhodes
    Director
    SAFF

    1. It’s worth noting that the Law dealt with a “Muslim terrorist” in a manner compatible with the sentencing of Mair. However, my memory perception of the mass media approach to the almost-murder of Stephen Timms seems to be somewhat different, but perhaps I just wasn’t paying so much attention to the media back in 20120. I certainly don’t recall anyone harking back to the crimes of the Ottoman Empire.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roshonara_Choudhry

    2. “There’s been an awful lot of Kant over the Jo Cox killing”.

      I may have missed it, but I don’t recall anyone referring to Mair having read the “Critique of Pure Reason” or have had a working knowledge of the categorical imperative.

      Sorry, couldn’t resist…..

  12. Thanks for this, Matthew. Perhaps I move in different circles, but the question I’ve heard asked most frequently is “why wasn’t Mair charged with terrorism?” – the implication being that a political attack by a Black or Muslim individual would have been dealt with differently. It’s a mistaken question based on a misunderstanding of the law – as I’ve already explained a couple of times on Twitter – but it would be good to have it addressed more authoritatively.

    1. It most certainly would be helpful to have a barristers pov on the terrorism issue.

      My understanding of TACT 2000 is that Mair’s crime fulfilled the criteria & definition of terrorism.

      Mr Justice Wilkie also described the crime as an act of terrorism.

      Pre-trial it was widely reported that the case will be dealt with under “terrorism protocols”.

      What does that mean and why wasn’t Mair charged under TACT 2000 ?

      Mark Gobell

  13. Thomas Mair’s alleged National Vanguard orders.

    I’m still perplexed by those alleged delivery notes for National Vanguard book orders, allegedly placed by Thomas Mair going as far back as 1999.

    On the same day as the events in Birstall, on the 16 th June, the “Hatewatch Staff” at the SPLC had miraculously managed to dig out some alleged old paperwork for Nazi books and National Alliance subscriptions, allegedly in the name of Thomas Mair.

    How & why did they do that I wonder …

    https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2016/06/16/alleged-killer-british-mp-was-longtime-supporter-neo-nazi-national-alliance

    Mark Gobell

  14. The right to make an unsworn sentence before conviction was abolished in England in 1982 (by section 72 of the Criminal Justice Act). However, the Act gave a convicted defendant the right to speak in mitigation, viz:

    “2 Abolition of right of accused to make unsworn statement.

    (1)Subject to subsections (2) and (3) below, in any criminal proceedings the accused shall not be entitled to make a statement without being sworn, and accordingly, if he gives evidence, he shall do so [F1(subject to sections 55 and 56 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999)] on oath and be liable to cross-examination; but this section shall not affect the right of the accused, if not represented by counsel or a solicitor, to address the court or jury otherwise than on oath on any matter on which, if he were so represented, counsel or a solicitor could address the court or jury on his behalf.

    (2)Nothing in subsection (1) above shall prevent the accused making a statement without being sworn—

    (a)if it is one which he is required by law to make personally; or

    (b)if he makes it by way of mitigation before the court passes sentence upon him.”

    Plainly Mair could have wanted to make a plea in mitigation and it would almost certainly have been a plea of mitigation in the sense that he wished to explain his actions which would whatever they were bear on mitigation even if he was to say he thought his action justified because Cox was a traitor for supporting the EU.

    The refusal to allow him to speak should have been challenged by his barrister but no challenge appears have been made.

    Another oddity of the trial, as the writer pointed out, was the reading into evidence, ie, before Mair was convicted, of Stephen Kinnock’s statement about how praiseworthy he thought she was. That was simply bizarre because it could have no bearing on Mair”s guilt or innocence. Again Mair’s brief appears to have made no protest.

    There is a raft of oddities and anomalies in this case, for example, Mair’s strange calmness throughout and as his refusal to make a statement to the police or give evidence despite having made it clear a during the act of killing and his initial court appearances that his actions were politically motivated. It is a very strange political killer who does not use his trial to put forward his political message at every opportunity.

    Read more at https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/the-thomas-mair-affair/

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