Fighting for his honour and the jury system
Moving overseas, settling into a house, dashing around watering currant bushes and simultaneously bringing a book into print do not make for long and lucid posts. The subject deserves more.
Almost alone in Britain we defended Conrad Black against unsustainable charges brought by what appeared to be malicious, novelistic and hubristic American prosecutors. We wrote here and here. Lord Black had a better and more stalwart defender in Mark Steyn.
Boy, were we wrong in believing that American jurors would find Lord Black innocent. In retrospect we see that his jurors were misled and the law was misapplied. And so, in a rare, unanimous ruling, did the US Supreme Court when Lord Black appealed.
We have called the jury system a bulwark against government tyranny because jurors have the right to rule on both the facts of a case and the constitutionality and rightness of the law in question. (See William Penn for the details.) Lord Black's trial is an example of jurors relentlessly barraged with complex information they found difficult to grasp. The prosecution improperly interpreted the law, confused them with unsustainable legal theories and wore them down.
The result - an innocent man was imprisoned and a company worth hundreds of millions to its shareholders was destroyed.
Lord Black, who has already served two years in prison, goes back to to the appeals court for the rethinking ordered by the Supreme Court. We wish him well, and hope that he will be released from prison to make his case freely. When he does, we hope he will take the stand in his own defence.
Not for the first time I'm behind the news. Conrad Black has been released from prison. He writes about his experiences and his leave-taking - jovial, emotional and heart-rending.