Throughout my working life I have respected and defended the jury system as an important guardian of liberty and not to be undermined.

In the past, upon hearing critics casually remark that ‘the law is an ass’ I have perfunctorily dismissed them. Following the perverse decision of the jury in the Colston statue trial when four violent young agitators were cleared after admitting brazenly tearing down the statue during a BLM protest and tipping it into Bristol harbour I find myself having second thoughts.

Defence counsel on their behalf articulated that their actions were politically motivated against the 17th century slave trader and the jury inexplicably agreed.

Where do we go from here? What message about the rule of law does it send out?

The verdict has set a dangerous precedent or disturbingly the jury has conceded the principle that criminal damage is justified provided it is in keeping with a fashionable woke political cause.

If people are offended by a statue they should use the local democratic process to have them removed and not use mindless thuggish behaviour.

Over the past few days in my neighbourhood sadly two glass bus shelters have been smashed to pieces.

I ask myself has this astonishing verdict opened the floodgates and provided a green light and a charter for the yobs responsible to act in such a senseless manner?

Jim Oldcorn

Retired Detective Inspector