Criminal bar association warns of 'mob rule' if government breaks the law

PUBLISHED: 12:20 09 September 2019 | UPDATED: 12:40 09 September 2019

Boris Johnson speaking outside 10 Downing Street. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA.

Boris Johnson speaking outside 10 Downing Street. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

The largest bar association for criminal lawyers has spoken out against suggestions that Boris Johnson might ignore anti-no deal Brexit legislation.

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The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) said that we "cannot expect people not to rob, rape and murder" if the prime minister decides to break the law by not observing the bill, which was passed in parliament last week.

The organisation said the CBA's role is to explain and help to uphold the law, rather than pass judgement on the Remain or Leave camps.

CBA chair Caroline Goodwin warned that the government would be opening "the door wide open to mob rule" if it cannot uphold the law itself.

Boris Johnson risks being taken to court or even being jailed if he breaks the law, reported the Telegraph earlier.

MORE: Boris Johnson could end up in prison if he ignores new law to stop no-deal Brexit

But Goodwin has added that the consequences for the country at large could be grave.

"We cannot expect people not to rob, rape and murder when a government declares it may break the law. We cannot lay rape to the rule of law," she said.

"As the CBA our role is not to say 'remain' or 'leave' but part of our role is to explain the law - criminal law - and play our part in upholding the rule of law.

"Standing up for the rule of law underpins our civil society - the economy, justice system, societal cohesion.

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"In or out of the EU, a government that stands up for the rule of law acts in the best interests of the people - parliament included.

"Any government - the executive - which ignores the rule of law and actively seeks to break the law undermines the entire justice system, opens the door wide open to mob rule and very quickly to anarchy.

"How can a government on the one hand pledge to unleash a 'reign of terror' on criminals when its own leadership threatens to break the law?

"We cannot expect people not to rob, rape and murder when a government declares it may break the law. We cannot lay rape to the rule of law."

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