The Three Trials of William Hone


with a special introduction by Alan Dershowitz

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The iconoclastic defendant in these cases—there were three trials in all—had published a series of religious parodies which the authorities deemed libelous of Christianity as represented by the Church of England.  In the end all three juries quickly and unanimously acquitted the defendant, and the public applauded the jury nullification.  These outcomes demonstrate the important difference between English law and other contemporary legal systems.  Under English law, a jury of lay people served as a check on the combined power of the established church and the state that established it.  Twelve ordinary people, themselves religious Christians, had the power to thwart unjust laws, when these laws, as applied, conflicted with the sensibilities of the public.  Thus, England of the Magna Carta triumphed over England of the Star chamber and justice was done despite the law.

Additional information

Weight 2 lbs
Dimensions 6.5 × 9.5 × 1 in