The Conventicle Act of 1664 and the independence of the jury
Religious persecution under Charles II was enforced using the Conventicle Act restricting non-conformist worship and banned assemblies of more than five non-Anglicans. Many felt the law was morally wrong. When two Quakers, William Mead and William Penn, were tried for breaking it, they were found not guilty by the jury, led by Edward Bushel. The Judge imprisoned them at Newgate jail for failing to bring in the ‘right’ verdict. Lawyer Harry Potter then discusses with Lord Igor Judge, the significance of the Edward Bushel’s use of Habeas Corpus and how Chief Justice Vaughan decreed that juries should be free to return their verdict without fear of punishment.