Local man, Geoff Thomas, has become the first man in the UK to opt for the new and controversial trial by Facebook. The new form of trial has been available since July 2010 but this is the first live case that is going to use the format.
His case was heard in Hartlepool Magistrate Court where he expressed a wish to be tried by his peers. Acting Magistrate, Julia Hall, asked Thomas’s solicitor whether his client was mental or thick.
Outside the court his solicitor read out a statement: My client has expressed his wish to have his trial dealt with by Facebook. He had considered trial by jury but with juries being notoriously stupid he felt he wouldn’t get a trial based on anything other than whether the jury fancied him or not. My client does have a look of a guilty person and this would affect the jury who will make their decision of innocence or guilt based solely on his appearance when they first set eyes on him.
The new trail format allows two random people who have never met Mr Thomas to set up rival Facebook groups. One is <Insert Name Here> Is Innocent!!!!! and the other is Hang The B*stard!!!!!
The Facebook groups will run for 3 months and the views expressed will be carefully considered by a select group of guest columnists from National newspapers who will ultimately throw their support behind which Facebook group they think their readership would most likely identify with.
The final decision will be left to the Home Secretary, whose decision will then be overturned by the judicary just because they can. It's not a question of innocence or guilt but more about who has the final say and that will always be the guy in the wig.
Most people are currently opting for 'Straight to Appeal' trials which was also introduced in the recent Judical Reform Act. You plead guilty in the Magistrate Courts and then cross over the road to the Appeal Courts who overturn, or quash, the guilty verdict after three days of careful deliberation and a 26 page report outlining their decision, which wasn't taken lightly and in no way criticises the original verdict, which was correct 3 days ago but is now considered unsafe.