By Geoffrey Robertson
Charles I waged civil wars that expense one in ten Englishmen their lives. yet in 1649 parliament was once tough placed to discover a attorney with the ability and bold to prosecute a King who was once above the legislation: after all the guy they briefed was once the unconventional barrister, John Cooke.
Cooke used to be a plebeian, son of a terrible farmer, yet he had the braveness to carry the King's trial to its dramatic end: the English republic. Cromwell appointed him as a reforming leader Justice in eire, yet in 1660 he was once dragged again to the previous Bailey, attempted and brutally executed.
John Cooke was once the bravest of barristers, who risked his personal lifestyles to make tyranny against the law. He originated the perfect to silence, the 'cab rank' rule of advocacy and the obligation to behave free-of-charge for the negative. He carried out the 1st trial of a Head of nation for waging conflict on his personal humans - a forerunner of the prosecutions of Pinochet, Miloševic and Saddam Hussein, and an enduring proposal to the fashionable global.
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Additional resources for The Tyrannicide Brief: The Story of the Man who sent Charles I to the Scaffold
The King was once current, his sympathies signalled through his course that the ceremonial awl – usually on show in treason instances to symbolise the inevitable sentence – may still stay locked up within the Tower. The ‘managers’ of the trial – MPs led by means of Pym, Oliver St John and younger Sir Harry Vane – awarded the costs to the friends of the world. Strafford used to be accredited counsel – the simplest constitutional legal professional within the state, Matthew Hale, defended him – and his solutions, either written and oral, sounded convincing. One witness, who had claimed to overhear him say (from twelve yards’ distance) ‘the King’s little finger can be heavier than the loins of the law’, was once quick proved to be stone deaf. The witnesses from eire, reeking with malice, have been mockingly dispatched. yet because the weeks glided by, the cumulative impact of the facts left without doubt that Strafford had enriched himself tremendously either in land and in funds from his deputyship and that a lot of his judgements extraordinary at neighborhood worthies, quite on the money-grubbing ‘new English’ grandees with associates one of the MPs, were made arbitrarily and with no due strategy, even though a lot they might were justified. Strafford quickly chanced on it politic to vow to retire from public provider if the decision went in his favour. His easy argument – and it was once definitely right – used to be that which were sketched out via Cooke: the costs, no matter if proved, couldn't quantity to excessive treason simply because his abuses of strength didn't represent an assault at the monarch on whose behalf they have been devoted. As for his reviews concerning the worthlessness of parliamentarians, there has been visible aspect in his reaction that ‘if all choleric expressions of that nature might be accounted treasonable, there will be extra fits of that sort flying up and down Westminster corridor than universal law’. forty five After 3 weeks the result of the trial hung within the stability. The facts had broken Strafford, yet now not terminally. The ‘smoking gun’ that was once produced by way of the prosecution, Vane senior’s be aware of the recommendation Strafford had given to the King approximately bringing over the Irish military, used to be ambiguous. Prejudice apart – even supposing prejudice couldn't be set aside by way of the Puritan nobles who sat in judgment on a guy whose dying lots of them inspiration will be within the pursuits of the nation – there has been inadequate proof to convict. The longer the trial endured, the extra the murmuring public who were resulted in anticipate a demise sentence felt they have been being cheated in their prey. At this element a brand new MP, Arthur Haselrig, made the 1st of his many debatable contributions to public existence: he brought into Parliament a invoice for the attainder of the Earl of Strafford. This equipment, while glided by either homes, grew to become a statute which decreed conviction and sentence of demise. Parliament was once the top courtroom and will ordain loss of life through statute, and not using a trial and topic in simple terms to the King’s approval – an not likely prospect, in fact, given his aid for the earl.