Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, and said to them, ‘You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and here I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him.' (Luke 23.13-14)
Roman officials like Pilate had the power and the duty to exercise summary justice when accusers brought an alleged criminal before them. This power was open, of course, to abuse, but it was generally practised responsibly. Pilate, a man well capable of harsh and provocative decisions, was not in sympathy with the baying mob of Judaeans who were ganging up on Jesus and gave his reasoned verdict – not guilty. Pilate was intimidated to override his conscience. The power of group think, the prejudice of invested interests can lead to terrible injustice.