The decision of Lady Butler-Sloss to dispense with the services of a jury in the Diana inquest was tonight described as 'patronising and arrogant' by a Christian group.
Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, said tonight:
'I heard the decision with total amazement this afternoon. I found it inexplicable, incomprehensible and irrational. Looking at the reasons she has given not to have a jury, I am still amazed, but now with her arrogance and her patronising dismissal of the cranial abilities of ordinary people.
'To say that a jury cannot come to a careful and fully reasoned decision betrays the contempt for the lower orders which has sadly become a characteristic of the Establishment under the present Prime Minister.
''A jury cannot come to a reasoned decision, she says, but of course a judge can, in particular a judge like Lady Butler-Sloss. Don't trust the people, trust the judges, or the minister, or the man in
In just a few words, she has put on display all that is pompous, self-serving, proud and vain in those who purport to rule us.
'The reality is, there have been so many conspiracy theories circling this matter that only by trusting a jury with the facts can those theories be laid to rest. It is easy now to say that it is just the faint risk that a jury might not agree that the death of the Princess of Wales was an accident which worries Lady Butler-Sloss. From that, it is a small step to see her as an actress in an Establishment stitch-up.
'Anyone would be forgiven for observing that if there is not an establishment conspiracy, her ladyship is doing her very best to make it appear as if there is one.
'She did not help confidence in her impartiality by accepting so publicly the conclusions of Lord Stevens' report. With her latest utterance, surely no trust in her can remain. And as that trust ebbs away, the frightening thing is that confidence in the law as a whole might go out with it.
'Mr Al Fayed says he will seek to overturn her decision. I wish him well in that. He should also challenge the presence in the coroner's chair of Lady Butler-Sloss. Much is at stake, not least the integrity of the law in general and the coroners' courts in particular.'