Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories
In describing U.S. vs. Conrad Black et al.—fraught as it is with $500-an-hour complexities—the journalistic inclination is always toward the metaphor: ebb and flow, give and take, back and forth, shifting tides, blah, blah, blah. There aren’t so many occasions where happenings speak for themselves. Therefore, St. Eve’s decision yesterday to include the so-called “ostrich instruction” is the trial’s Kodak moment. In her charge to the jury, the judge will explain that sticking your head in the sand and simply ignoring the implications of an allegedly illegal conveyance (the non-competes) amounts to consciousness of guilt. This so lowers the bar for conviction as to make the defence’s summation a form of legal limbo (I couldn’t resist). The defence immediately petitioned the judge to amend the instruction, thus confirming its dire implication. Even Mark Steyn had to admit it was a bad day for the defence, but only after excoriating the judge: “Given that three of the four defendants are foreigners and non-residents, and thus are not being tried by ‘a jury of their peers’ in any meaningful sense, I think Judge Amy should have made especial effort to set the bar fairly.” I’m tempted here to compare and contrast this with Steyn’s views on American foreign policy and its implications for the justice system as evidenced at Guantanamo, but far be it from me to add to his woes. The trial, as the Brits are wont to say, continues.
Federal prosecutors win key point in Black fraud trial [Chicago Tribune]Jury permitted lower burden of proof [Globe and Mail]Black jury gets ‘ostrich instruction’ [National Post]Black wilfully blind? [Toronto Star]A conspiracy of ostriches [Maclean’s]