Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Our most recent day in court

Bias: a personal view that has the tendency to interfere with the ability to be impartial, unprejudiced or objective. Bias is not something the general public expects from a judge - or do we?

What a fascinating day! With a full court room waiting for more than 30 minutes past the scheduled start time, a judge walking in late without so much as an apology, a judge with a 'good' reputation, but known to be 'grumpy', a judge with a strong Labor past, we were in for a day of surprises - and a good display of 'grumpy' and 'past'.

If you actually get to have your matter heard on the day it is scheduled, you're lucky (a bit like our hospitals perhaps?) So in that way we were lucky. First up was a team of 4 lawyers and barristers getting their matter adjourned until tomorrow. Took a few minutes and probably cost the clients $5000 combined. As a criminal matter, those clients legal costs may well be paid by the tax-payer!

What would YOU do with $5000? These guys charge for a full day in court, even if the entire day was spent waiting. Can we charge our doctors for the hours we wait?

We've been waiting for this day for nearly two years; since our legal assembly on Long Reef Beach back in May 2007. Without getting technical, our system of government invites and respects protests and criticism (think the Opposition). Even without a bill-of-rights, this expression is long established in case law and even statute. The Right of Peaceful Assembly by R.M. Hope QC.

Barking Mad conducts our assemblies legally - they are 'authorised' by law which means with permission of the commissioner of police. This allows us to express an opinion peacefully, without menace. However, as we've said and continue to say, Warringah has been successfully menacing with us for quite some time.

If an authorised public assembly is held in the way it was approved by the Commissioner, a person is not guilty of any offence relating to participating in an unlawful assembly . . .if done for the purpose of participation. Reference.

PS: 14-April-09 The cost-effectiveness of being a criminal. Our District Court appeal was dismissed so we're off, two years after having a dog on a beach, to the next court up.

And, what everyone has asked about this day in court: It was Judge Finnane who showed us an amazing display of judicial intelligence (or some other term that makes it ok for judges to show what 'normal people' would call bias).

After judgment and before the sentencing, for the purpose of leniency, I was explaining my extensive environmental contributions in the fields of organic waste, composting, corporate environmental management and computer recycling . But I was interrupted with the rhetorical question: HOW CAN YOU BE FOR DOGS IF YOU ARE AN ENVIRONMENTALIST - DOGS DEFECATE, DOGS BITE. And I said, we defecate too, every day if it's a good day! (And I'm not sure how you eat your steak, but I like to bite mine). We await the transcript. We point you the reader to all about dog poo...

Read the continuing story and our very exciting next action on the members web.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Campaigning and the Law - Your Rights and Responsibilities published by the Environmental Defender's Office talk about authorised legal assembly and defences against charges.