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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Court in the act

Court in the act

Yesterday morning there was only time to have a cup of tea, take Rocky for a walk and then take a taxi down to Hull Magistrates Court. Having signed in at the Reception, and told I would be in Court 5, assured that both cases were being dealt with together, I bought a Flapjack at the canteen and nervously waited for my name to be called.

The previous afternoon, I did phone Harrison Bundy (the firm which dealt with the case before) but the legal executive was on holiday. I managed to speak with a solicitor, who confirmed that I would not be represented because of the cuts to the Legal Aid budget. However, he advised that at the court I should ask to see the duty solicitor.

The duty solicitor listened to me and then looked at my paperwork, and said I was probably better equipped to argue the case than most of the solicitors in Hull. I said, "If the judge decides to hear me out". Readers may recall that at my last appearance the judge was not prepared to listen to me. Given that Legal Aid is not available, and I don't have the money for a lawyer, it follows that I must represent myself. However, the judge looked down upon me because I did not have a solicitor!

The duty solicitor disappeared into Court 5 and later emerged confirming that, at least for today, both the civil complaints relating to a dog not kept under proper control, and the criminal charge under s.5 of the Public Order Act 1986, would be heard together. When I mentioned my defence to the latter, he said that there is a Court of Appeal decision going against me. Undaunted, I said, "It can get distinguished, or go to the Supreme Court to be overruled".

When my name was called I went into court. It was the same judge. His attitude was a lot better this time, he was dealing with a qualified solicitor. Nevertheless, I did not trust him and still moved to get the judge to recuse himself from the trial. The prosecution tried for a single trial and the judge had suggested combining both cases to be heard together and he would hear them. We argued to keep them separate, as only one witness featured in both cases. In addition, given the judge's previous knowledge he should stand down. The judge accepted the need for separate trials, and recalled that he had given me an order binding me over to keep the peace before and so would recuse himself.

The prosecution was put on the spot when I announced that a Crown Court judge had already given me a not guilty on the same charges he was pursuing again, and that I intended calling as an expert witness, Guy Richardson, an ex-police dog handler, whom the prosecution's expert witness at the time had agreed that Rocky was not dangerous. The prosecution said he was not automatically going to accept this as evidence and might challege it later. I thought and said that this was just wasting court time and taxpayers money.

After some more arguments, it was agreed that the s.5 charge would be postponed to await the outcome of the civil hearing. The date of trial for the dog not under proper control was fixed for 14 September 2010.


FONT LOVER said...

hello! warm greeting ^^!
you have a nice blog 0_0

Charles Cowling said...

"The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely ... the law's delay, the insolence of office and the spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes"

Shakespeare. Hamlet. Right then, right now.