Sunday, 19 January 2014

On contempt of court

A&S Plod:  Go sit in the corner.
Avon & Somerset Dunces must be off their rockers.  My barrister isn't especially up on matters of Contempt of Court, but y'see, we have this little "internet" thing - Something I know the plod are only vaguely familiar with - and we know rather a lot of people who do know something on the subject.

The point of the law pertaining to Contempt by Publication is to avoid a situation whereby publication of material might prejudice a fair trial.  Given the fact the first trial was conducted unimpeded (without even a mention of this blog) tells us that the likelihood of it impeding a fair trial was somewhere around zero.  The whole thing is risible.

As I understand it, it is primarily governed by the Contempt of Court Act 1981 ("CCA 1981"), which makes it an offence to publish material which creates a substantial risk of serious prejudice to pending court proceedings.  I would like to see them argue that the (now edited) blog post (on a low circulation blog) poses a "substantial risk".  I'm sure we could all use a good laugh.  Even with my own creative mental gymnastics, I would struggle to make a credible case out of that.  The law Commission has its own view on this:
The law on contempt by publication must balance the right of a defendant to a fair trial, with the right of the publisher to freedom of expression.  There are also concerns that the procedures for dealing with this form of contempt may not be as fair and efficient as possible.  
Given that I am both the publisher and the defendant it's difficult to see how or why I would prejudice the outcome of my own trial, especially when that which was published was only of marginal significance.  If the Plod REALLY want to make this into a landmark Freedom of Expression case, then I'm happy to entertain them (at their expense).  Then there is the matter of context.  Irrespective of whether or not a trial was in progress, I would still have publicly exposed Nicola Spring as a fraud.  The fact she was a witness (and not EVEN an eye-witness) never came into my head.  This blog is about serving the public interest and that's exactly what I did.

The fact that A&S Plod are even considering this tells me just how desperate they are.  They called me about it some months ago, AFTER the initial verdict (apparently unaware that I was appealing the it).  It is then that the plodette in question said that unless I edited the "forum" that I "could", bizarrely, face a contempt of court charge.  I told her, that I was unsure exactly what she was talking about so she would have to call back with specific URL's  She appeared not to know what a URL was and never called me back.  But I did comply.  So again I ask, why bring this up now if not to sabotage the ongoing proceedings?  What are Avon and Somerset afraid of?

I cannot say for certain how the Plod will play this.  If they are daft enough to turn a minor transgression into a major case, they will need to bring me in for questioning.   They can do this one of two ways.  They can either do it by appointment with my solicitor, or they can pull their usual dirty trick of hammering on the door at 6am on a weekday, while I'm still in my pyjamas, then bang me in a cell all day - and then fob me off with some recently qualified duty solicitor who is unaware of the broader case. 

It should be noted that my medical records show that I do suffer from severe panic attacks and am on a higher dose of medication to treat it - and I'm suspected as having Aspergers Syndrome.  Anything the plod attempts to extract, after banging me up in a cell all day, can easily be argued in court as taken under duress.  If they want to turn this into a human rights circus, I'll hapilly oblige them and take it all the way to the European courts.  In short... try it bitches.  I'll be waiting with bells on.

As to witness intimidation, the law describes it as "an act which intimidates, and is intended to intimidate, another person (“the victim”)".  My intention was merely to expose Nicola Spring as a shill on a public advice forum, while posing as an ordinary member of the public.  As to whether I "intimidated" her, it is difficult to see how this large and hatchet-faced woman (a certified bailiff), who intimidates people for a living, could possibly be intimidated by this exposure - from this humble blog no less!

Witness intimidation is also described as "an act which harms, and is intended to harm, another person or, intending to cause another person to fear harm, (or) he threatens to do an act which would harm that other person".  I would like to see them prove intent given that I issued no threats whatsoever and they will have to work hard to define "harm" in this context, when contrasted with the public good.  

If this is what little old me can dig up with only the most cursory inspection of the law, imagine what an experienced solicitor is going to do with it?  It should be noted that if Avon And Somerset Police pursue this line, we are then likely looking at a jury trial, in which case, all of the details of this case come out of the woodwork, including the professional incompetence of PC Bird, who logged my car as stolen, entirely on hearsay, resulting in further harrassment by the police on a public highway.  The conduct of the bailiffs themselves will also be described in detail.

If these dumb-asses think a jury will give a verdict in their favour, then good luck to them.  They will need it.  I suspect the plod are playing double or quits here.  Any charge that sticks on me will absolve them of their obligation to investigate bailiff fraud.  That is their strategy - and you can see why the council have a vested interest in pressing the police to shut my activities down.  I think they're hoping I will throw in the towel.  Not gonna happen!  And if I lose, the great thing is, there's always this years council tax to play with.  I can keep going with this.  Can you?  I'm game if you are.

Corruption or just bone idleness?

Click for full size

If any of you thought I was exaggerating when I said the police are wilfully turning a blind eye to bailiff crime, here is the actual letter sent to me from Avon & Somerset plod. Note that not at any time did "Investigator" Peter Miller attempt to review the evidence in my possession, or even speak to me in person, or indeed examine the case notes held by Rundles.  He has not been even remotely bothered to familiarise himself with the law.

He is essentially saying he's not going to look into the case because the court granted a Liability Order. He is saying fraud, intimidation and trespass against goods is fine, since in their view, a Liability Order is free licence to break the law, to any extent, without intervention by the police.  He also states that only if an unrelated matter is resolved, in my favour, in court (the clamping) will he consider an investigation. 

I call this corruption because I cannot think of any other word to describe it.  This has too much in common with other examples of such breathtaking indifference I have seen, over the last year, to view it merely as incompetence.  This adds to the growing body of evidence that suggests a high level strategic decision by the police to allow bailiff malpractice and fraud - and to throw the book at the victim if they dare to say no to fraudsters. 

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Police: A warped sense of priorities

Plod:  In it for the money.
Someone said something mildly offensive on Twitter today.  The police are now investigating.  "A Police Scotland spokesman said: "Any reports of racist, offensive or abusive comments made online will be thoroughly investigated and those responsible will be brought to justice. "

But if you threaten to break into someone house and confiscate their belongings without lawful authority and extort unlawful fees - that's fine.  National epidemic of bailiff fee fraud?  Nah...  Not remotely interested... Throw the book at the victim instead.   Too busy fitting up Tory ministers and thought-policing on Twitter.

Meanwhile there is evidence of dangerous community divisions where the police have no idea what is going on in their own back yard.  What exactly are we paying these people for?

Friday, 17 January 2014

The plot thickens

Rundles: Crying "intimidation"
Today the court case was supposed to be concluded.  I have a VERY talented barrister who even spotted something I didn't!  We compared notes for an hour before proceedings and by the time we had rehearsed the arguments, we both concluded that we would have to work very hard to lose this case.  The notes kept by Rundles are in complete disarray, and if I didn't have enough case law for my chap to nail their balls to the wall already, what he added was just rubbing it in.  I can say with complete confidence that Rundles are a bunch of crooks and they broke the law.  If they wish to test this in a civil case, I double-dare them.  Today should have been a slam dunker.  But...

We were well prepared to go in there and knock their socks off. But Avon and Scummerset Plod had different ideas.  They sabotaged the trial by suggesting to the prosecution that they are "considering" filing a complaint of contempt of court and, get this... Witness Intimidation!

The very suggestion of this moves the case out of the criminal realm and into matters of procedural law, outside the remit of criminal law - and thus the case has been adjourned.  The basis of the complaint, as I understand it, stems from a phone call I received back in September from a thick-as-pigshit plod.  The plodette told me that I had published the email address of a witness on my "forum" (thick-as-pigshit plod does not know the difference between a blog and a forum) and I had posted a scanned image of a witness statement that could be considered contempt of court (if I did not remove it).

I told her that, as a blogger with a strong commitment to transparency and freedom of speech, I would seek legal advice, and if that advice found that I was in error, I would remove the offending statements.  As it happens, I was perfectly within my rights to publish the email address of Nicola Spring, though the scan of the witness statement was sketchy territory.  By my own good will, I decided to self-censor and edit both of the "offending" posts.  I considered this to be the end of the matter.

However... Rundles made a complaint of witness intimidation (oh the irony) on the basis of me publishing a witnesses email address.  I did so on the basis of this post, whereby I uncovered the fact she was acting as a paid shill on a public advice forum, attempting to discredit and libel me, ironically using the forum username "truthful and honest".  As a programmer, and a php forum administrator, I posess the skill to backtrack posts without violating forum security, and was able to deduce the origin of these posts.

I take the view that that exposing such underhanded tactics is not "witness intimidation".  A better description would be "journalism".  It is in the public interest to reveal that a bailiff firm is trolling bailiff advice forums, pretending to be a member of the public, lying about the case in question, and calling ME a liar.  It should be exposed. 

If Rundles are engaged in such activity then any email it traces back to is a de-facto a business address  - and if I publish that address, I am perfectly within my rights to do so.  If members of the public then registered their disgust by emailing that address then I cannot be held accountable.  If you live by the sword, then you will die by the sword.

Howsoever, Rundles is playing the victim, presumably because they know as well as I do exactly how shaky their case really is, hence their attempt to derail proceedings.  I should have expected nothing less.  This tells me they are worried.  The plod have already admitted in a letter to me that they turn a blind eye to bailiff crime if a Liability Order has been issued, and have said to me that if I win this case, only then will they entertain the possibility of fraud.

Given that I have employed a highly successful, charismatic, competent and lovely barrister, I think Avon and Scummerset are worried.  Had the case proceeded as planned today, Rundles would now be facing a fraud investigation, and the plod would be answering for their wilful negligence.  You can see why they both have a vested interest in stalling these proceedings.

And that is the crux of this.  Avon and Somerset Police appear to be engaged in an abuse of process to pervert the course of justice.  They could have brought these complaints to me at any time since September.  Don't you find it interesting that they waited for the day of the trial to spring the suggestion that they are "considering" charges?

Rundles and the Plod are up to their necks and they know it.  My message to them is that you cannot win.  My agenda has always been to make it cost you more than it costs me, and to take corrupt bailiffs off the street.  I had already achieved this aim long before today - and every day after is just icing on the cake.  Rundles lost a days trading today.  And if it is the last thing I ever do, I will make sure the guilty pay for what they have done.  And there is NOTHING you can do to me that will deter me from doing what is right.

I am told Contempt of Court may carry a modest custodial sentence as a worst case scenario.  Do what you will to me, but there are many waiting in he wings who will take up my sword if I fail.  But I will not fail.  Because I will not rest until justice is served, whatever form that may take.  You have turned a simple criminal case into something much more significant.  Now you are fighting on my battlefield.  And you will pay for your mistake.