The country’s best-known lawyer has launched a campaign to save the swearing of an oath on the Bible to tell the truth in court.
Nick Freeman, who claims to have acted in more magistrates’ trials than any other lawyer, said moves to scrap the age old tradition were undermining the very fabric of British society.
Later this month the Magistrates’ Association will consider replacing the swearing of oaths on the Bible and other holy books with a simple “promise” to tell the truth.
In a bid to combat this, Mr Freeman, who represents some of the country’s best-known celebrities, has launched an on-line petition on the 10 Downing Street website, which he hopes will be signed by more than those just working in the legal profession.
It reads: We ask the Government to ensure British courts retain the option to take an oath on the Bible and it is not scrapped as discussed by the Magistrates’ Association.
Scrapping the Bible Oath would undermine the fabric of our society and of the law. There is already an option for people to take a secular oath, and those of other faiths are able to swear on their own holy texts, therefore there is no need to abolish the Bible Oath.
Rather than scrap the Bible Oath it is more important that we prosecute those who lie in court under oath, which will reaffirm the importance of taking oath.
He is also writing to Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling, asking him for his support.
Mr Freeman said:
The values and traditions of our country appear to be under constant attack, and removing the Bible from the courtroom is the latest attempt to undermine our heritage.
What really is the problem is the courts’ reluctance to punish and sentence those who do lie under oath.
Over the years I have seen witnesses perjure themselves on numerable occasions, and from personal experience I have never known anyone prosecuted.
Perjury is an extremely serious offence and by not punishing offenders the courts’ are simply undermining the value of any oath!
Mr Freeman added:
Our legal system is based on Christian beliefs and values and it has served us well for the best part of 1,000 years.
There is already an option for people to take a secular oath, and those of other faiths are able to swear on their own holy books – therefore there is no need to abolish the Bible Oath.
Mr Freeman’s petition can be found at: https://submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/55605