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Vicky Haigh - yesterday's court hearing

Yesterday's court hearing brought into the public domain more about the case relating to Vicky Haigh.

It, however, has not brought into the public domain all of the issues relating to this case and the judiciary retain control of those aspects of the case.

I am not making any statement as to the details of the underlying care issue. The Judge who took the hearing yesterday was also the judge in P, C and S v The United Kingdom. The link gives the case report from ECtHR on Bailii. In this case the decision was found to be in contravention of a fair trial on a procedural basis.

The same judge (Sir Nicholas Wall) was also a judge in the case which is now RP v The United Kingdom. I have considerable concerns about the way that particular case was handled by the judges concerned.

It remains that I am making no public comment about the underlying care case in respect of Ms Haigh. However,

1. Even if the court's decision is 100% accurate - does that warrant the removal at birth of Ms Haigh's baby. I don't think so.

2. Is it right to set out to imprison someone on the basis of what they have said to a Member of Parliament. I don't think so.

We now have someone imprisoned for 6 months for recording a court hearing and someone else imprisoned for 9 months for talking about court secrets. I think these sentences are excessive at least. In terms of the recording of a court hearings this always appears to be more about protecting the revenues of the transcription services than ensuring the fairness of trials. We do need to review the law from the perspective of allowing independent recording of the audio of court hearings.


Jimmy said…
Not having seen the judgment I'd be grateful if you could cite the passage which indicates that she has been imprisoned for talking to an MP. You keep making this assertion without providing any evidence for it.

This woman (who appears to be a few sandwiches short of the proverbial picnic) is in prison for behaviour which you encouraged by abusing Parliamentary Privilege. Do you not feel even slightly responsible for this?
John Hemming said…
The applications to commit were made and made and that for vicky haigh heard before I spoke in the house.

Jimmy - it is worth looking at some of the material available before commenting.
Jimmy said…
I have indeed. The behaviour continued after your speech and she and her associates were clearly encouraged by your assurance that the "gag" had been "lifted". They referred to it repeatedly. Watson has also published e-mail exchanges with you in which you appear to have done nothing to discourage her.
John Hemming said…
The point I am making is that the hearing was about issues that had arisen prior to my involvement.

I also made it clear to Vicky Haigh that I did not think Elizabeth Watson was helping.
John Hemming said…
I have also looked through my emails to her. None can be seen as encouraging her (Elizebth Watson) and I was quite explicit in a number in April 2011 about following the injunction.

These have probably not been published.

Hence although I do not think it is my responsibility to discourage her I have in fact discouraged her. Very explicitly.
Jimmy said…
In that case I apologise.

In retrospect do you think you were unwise to raise the matter on the floor of the House?
Will Benson said…
John didn't say that Elizabeth Watson was imprisoned for talking to an MP. It is obvious that he was talking about Vicky Haigh and the threat she faced for talking to an MP. Any order that is made that prohibits a UK subject from talking to their MP is a Contempt of Parliament and the judge that makes it should be hauled before Parliament and, thus, charged.

But it is quite obvious that the State is always more concerned about disrespect to its authority (hence, the outrageous prison sentences for Contempt of Court) than it does for any actual human beings (hence, the usual non-custodial sentences for violent crime, theft etc.).
John Hemming said…
Jimmy - thanks for your apology. I do not think I was wrong to name Vicky as someone subject to an attempt to jail her for speaking at a meeting in the House.

I am aware of far more than is in the public domain.
Unknown said…
I think that Liz was jailed on the basis of her emails that were published by myself and others, i.e. she violated a 'reporting restriction order'.

But she has all the evidence that indicates that that order and others are 'fake', i.e. they have never seen the inside of a court. That's the same experience I've had with Swansea and Haringey when they gagged me.

I am now building her case from the documentation I have.

What's most important to remember at this point, it seems: whether good or bad press, do not believe it!!!

Web publisher,
Jimmy said…

Are you arguing therefore that privilege should extend to non-parliamentary business? What is the test? Anything that takes place on the parliamentary estate? It strikes me as a recipe for abuse.

My concern is with the assertion that you had "lifted the gag". Clearly there are those who took that to mean that you had in some way altered the order, which clearly you had no power to do. I'm really not clear on what you meant by those words or what you hoped to achieve. It seemed to me at the time that this was bound to end in tears. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of someone getting banged up for nine months just because they're a bit nutty, but I can't see the Court was left with much choice.
John Hemming said…
The precedent comes from the late 1600s and is quite clear on privilege. I have posted things on my weblog about this.

I specifically advised Ms Watson to follow the injunction. That cannot be seen to be unclear.
Jake Maverick said…
is it right to impriosn someone for talking to ANYONE? about ANYTHING? having opinions? thinking? communicating by some other means?
what about refusig to talk to someone, especially thse who refuse to confirm or deny if they know who they are? especially when you suspect them of being a member of a terrorist organisation, like the poolice, for example? heard a rumour once that that had been made illegal....? between that and joint enterprise law i dnt think it's me that has broken any laws...

when you refuse to commit this 'crime', is it right that you should be locked up (one prison or another) for over ten years now? have your genitals mutilated? dog murdered? homeless? left entirely destitute? no access to basic things like money/ bank accounts in any form? electrodes through the brain? gang raped? tubes down the throat? that sort of thing...tortured with DEW? distinct possibilty, i have been experiencing some of the symptoms...
Jake Maverick said…
what if 20 yobos, with or without masks break into your home and ATTACK you and your family whilst you naked in bed? what would your advice be then John? bend over and take it in the ****from them? they kick the shit out of you regardless whther you capitulate or not...the fact that they already broken inand attacked you is implementing the threat already.....

what would your 'advice' be if one of them (you) crept up behind you and tried to shoot you repeatedly in the head? allow them to murder you/ commit suicide? that's ILLEGAL as is instigating soembody to commit a criminal offence, last rumour i heard....but if you managed to kill your assialant in self defence with jedi reflexes or soemthing, they'll fit you up for killing a non physical entity and label you a schizo to prejudice the jury whilst being tried by kangaroo? none of us will win WITHOUT sinking to their level, that is reality/ evolution....

i'll buy you a pint if you publish that one, presumingi ever allowed access to money again!
Jim N said…
@ Jimmy & John,

Forgive me if I'm paraphrasing your position incorrectly, but I understood from the video of various meetings you have spoken at that your position on Parliamentary privilege is fairly clear. You seemed to be taking the position that the only situation in which you yourself enjoyed privilege was when speaking on the floor, in a parliamentary committee, or in other circumstances where you are discharging your legislative functions as an MP.

I'm no authority on the extent of parliamentary privilege, although the position above is in agreement with the sort of things you learn at university! Nevertheless, while the proposition is uncontentious, it might be useful if you could highlight authority for claiming privilege covers communications between MPs and members of the public (constituents or otherwise). This would help clarify where you believe the limits of the privilege to lie.

Which, in a rather roundabout way, brings me onto the topic of Ms Haigh. I think it is widely known that Ms Haigh wrote or ghost-wrote an anonymous article for the Indy, detailing how she was summoned to a committal hearing at the RCJ after speaking at a meeting you had invited her to. Although that article made it clear that nobody did, in fact, "set out to imprison" her. And unfortunately I can't remember whether the article stated whether or not the council sought to impose a fine for the contempt of court.

It seems odd to describe this as "what they have said to a member of parliament", when what you refer to was a public meeting which an MP attended and/or organised. Which, by your own position, you accept you yourself could have faced contempt proceedings had you spoken as Ms Haigh did in that setting.

In any event, as you say, it is impossible to form any view on the validity of the court ruling at least until the open part of the decision is published to BAILII. And, thankfully, this result seems to have worked out for the best for everyone--addressing some of your concerns about open justice, allowing Mr Tune to publicly demonstrate his vindication by the court, and hopefully allowing X (the daughter) to move past all this.
David said…
So instead of being the commenter/observer on the side, you have placed yourself right in the middle of it. There have been calls for your resignation. The least you can do is apologise to the father.
Jake Maverick said…
apologise for what? are you trying to accuse John of soemthing? may I know what?
Anajinn said…
In our inner city areas there’s a 34% unemployment rate among young people and to foist their foul, fascist agendas on to the country as whole sections of our communities that are wilfully marginalized, socially excluded and of whom no one in power gives a damn then wickedly find themselves additionally faced with the overtly elitist, fear-induced factor of divide and rule that is cynically used against them to brand and demonize those that are forced onto the margins of society or who speak up for them, even if they’re not from this social stratum themselves, and bravely challenge this iniquitous and fascist system which masquerades as democracy. In reality, it’s nothing other than an even more reprehensible reproduction of Animal Farm with the judiciary and judges enthusiastically taking on the function of and acting as the ferocious, brutal dogs to David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s hierarchal pigs with the similar maxim that some animals are more equal than others.

But more telling is the sewer depths to which these so-called but risible pillars of society have sunk to. Judge for yourself; no pun intended. Hard hearing and 85 years old Norman Scarth as I stated earlier got landed with a six month prison sentence for recording what was taking place in an English court, this in a country that routinely spies on its subjects, for that’s how the British establishment regards us as not citizens, and therefore has more CCTV cameras installed countrywide to observe our every movement than the rest of the world put together. Every Briton is photographed and monitored a minimum of five times daily and in our city centres, shopping malls and marginalized communities that figure is even higher. But if this were China, Russia, Venezuela, Iran, Zimbabwe or any other state drawn randomly that the British government doesn’t like these hypocrites would be up on their high horse pontificating about all sorts of the violations of the citizens of these states human rights, the identical human rights that David Cameron and his ilk have no genuine regard or see any real purpose for in Britain but nevertheless don’t mind liberally using as a handy stick to beat others with that for totally perverse, racist or imperialist motives they either don’t like or even despise.
Anajinn said…
Norman Scarth says he’s hard of hearing and that’s the explanation he gave for recording this particular court hearing. It’s neither an illogical nor a far-fetched explanation bearing in mind that he’s an 85 year old gentleman and there are countless Briton much younger than he is who have hearing problems. The judge in question, who clearly has his hearing problems but of a different kind refused to accept Mr Scarth’s explanation and summarily and what can only be considered as a rather idiotic whim of his sentenced this gentleman to six months, jail time far exceeding that which many of the judge’s sect get for far more serious and dare I say offensive crimes, like porno judge David Selwood who was given a one year community sentence he then bold as brass said he couldn’t do as he wasn’t well enough to do it; no problem though in hanging on to his £33,000 a year pension, and even more reprehensible was the collusion that occurred between the CPS, prosecution, police and Selwood’s defence team that jointly concurred he didn’t need a jail sentence as it was too harsh, his crime was for his own pleasure (which is like saying Dracula’s blood bank was for his own personal utilization) and therefore fell into the category of minor. Or the case of Deputy High Court Judge, James Allen, who was served with nothing more than a 12 month supervision order after he beat up his wife in an argument about an uncooked dinner in a country which purports with self-righteous horror to consider such conduct as totally beyond the pale. The judge, Daphne Wickham that handed down this sentence had no reservations though when she jailed the Rupert Murdoch pie thrower, a decision which though marginally reduced was none the less upheld by the appeal court.

Drawing a contrast between the two cases mentioned above and that of Norman Scarth, just the tip of this disturbingly sinister, judiciary iceberg that I could have recounted, it is clear to anyone with a functioning brain cell in his or her head that the judge in Norman Scarth’s unfortunate case has at best evidently either gone over the top or else has lost his marbles completely, assuming of course there were any there to start with. And if this is a measure of the objectivity or justice we can expect from our judges in the future then as a country we Britons are in a much more parlous state than even the most prescient-minded of us suspected; for what we’ve witnessed is just plain barmy!
Anajinn said…
And even if Norman Scarth did intentionally break the rules what actual harm I ask you did he do to anyone? At the top of our Animal Farm hierarchal system we have those that lord it over us consistently breaking the rules and the major difference between what they are doing and what Mr Scarth did is that their multitudinous actions, premeditatedly done with malice aforethought, cause grievous psychological and financial harm to millions of our people as well as utter devastation to many millions more abroad, and the sad thing is that judges like the one in the Norman Scarth case turn a blind eye to this and allow them to get away with it. Would any of these judges for example have the guts to exercise their so-called judicial independence and call for the prosecution of the likes of Tony Blair that dishonestly took us into an illegal war and with George W. Bush and others were they the leaders of developing nations would have been hauled before the courts on a multitude of war crimes and crimes against humanity? Or are you simply a part of the problem; part of the same old boys, public school, Bullingdon club stinking network that live in your own gilded world and couldn’t give a damn about anyone other than yourselves and your own clique of social parasites, more interested in accumulating baubles representing an empire that no longer exists rather than honestly dispensing justice equally without fear or favour to everyone, not just the rich, powerful and influential.

Norman Scarth was well aware of all this just as he was of the manifold inadequacies of the police, judiciary system, magistrates and judges and vitally wasn’t afraid to stick his neck above the parapet and loudly criticize what he saw and knew to be wrong, so he had to be made an example of; in other words he had to be silenced. Previously Mr Scarth had won an EU court ruling against secret court hearings in Britain and therefore the judiciary was out to get him for his bottle in taking such action and actually winning. My question is, if justice shouldn’t only be done but ought also to be seen to be done why are a bunch of totally unrepresentative and wholly unaccountable, no one actually knows how you get your jobs although we suspect what really goes on, and drawn exclusively from a section of our society that is light years removed from the rest of us by its mindboggling elitism, arrogance, privileged existence and in many case rank stupidity, what are you so afraid of in terms of the public transparently seeing what you get up to rather than having a coterie of obsequious, disreputable and discredited hacks telling us the versions that you and they evidently want the rest of us to obediently swallow? Besides this is 2011 the age of social networking and a surfeit of alternative communications and like Norman Scarth countless millions of us globally don’t as previous generation passively did see you as our betters, since you’re public servants and that’s what we consider you to be; that means you work for us not the other way round.
Anajinn said…
But like feral, cretinous kids recklessly playing around in wet concrete oblivious of the inherent dangers there are when the concrete sets you try to preserve an era that has long passed by and which your lot can’t come to terms with. It’s why you and so many others on the extreme rightwing detest with consummate passion the Human Rights Legislations that are now part of our legal code and do all you can to undermine it. My advice to you is go get a life.

Norman Scarth served Britain with distinction and bravery during the Second World War that was started by people having the same fascist mindset we see today across the British establishment. He ploughed through the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean to take supplies to the Soviet Union that was gallantly keeping the Third Reich at bay and finally defeated it on the Eastern Front enabling the brave members of our own and millions of our colonial forces: 2 million Indians comprising the largest voluntary force in the history of mankind; hundreds of thousands of black African and West Indian troops and many others besides to finish of the job and win the war against fascism and Nazism. And it’s a great insult to their memory and selfless sacrifices as well as to those still alive like Norman Scarth and my own father and uncles for an assortment of self-centred, effete nonentities with the so-called right social connections and that feel they have an invincible right to dispense their own brand of kangaroo justice over the rest of us; people who as we all know have never worn a British military uniform of any kind, seen a bullet fired in anger, or see any reason why they should as that they consider are tasks only for the likes of brave Norman Scarth, my dad or me while theirs is to take control of our lives, well let me tell you this, you can all go to hell in a handcart as far as I’m personally concerned, for I know who, despite my own priceless education, I would rather see inhabiting this country, running its affairs and doing so on merit not through incestuous privilege or a wholly contemptible and vengeful old boy’s network.
Anajinn said…
It’s been widely reported on the alternative media that Norman Scarth is being denied his necessary medication and is forced to live in conditions that are inhumane to say the very least, all this just because those who absurdly feel they were born to rule can’t in the 21st century see and acknowledge that the rest of us don’t accept the warped notion they have of their own inherent superiority, whether this is based on social or racial lines, and that those who unwarrantedly consider themselves to be great only appear to be so as long as the rest of us stay on our knees. And I take my hat off to Norman Scarth and all the other folk like him across our country. So how about those of us who genuinely believe in what justice and fair play is all about starting a national campaign to have this judge minus his pension swiftly kicked out of the judiciary thus prohibiting him and others like him from ever again adversely affecting the lives of decent members of our assorted communities and particularly those like Norman Scarth that he evidently considers inferior to himself.

We don’t have to be told that our Con-Dem government, it leaders and the overwhelming majority of our lawmakers are rotten to the core or that preceding ones also were, but one gets the government they deserve. That said we still have the ability to change them at the ballot box and replace them if we so wish with others of our choice; that’s as it should be even if they turn out to be worse than the previous lot. This is most certainly not the case with our judiciary who as I said before are entirely unaccountable and unrepresentative in every conceptual sense of those words, and I honestly believe that it’s high time we do a complete root and branch change of the nepotistic and corrupt system that produces them and fashion one that is more in keeping with the 21st Century and the needs of a modern not a colonial, class-ridden and archaic Britain; since I also steadfastly think that much of so-called British superiority and Britain’s civilizing mission to the world that these crazed judicial Neanderthals are steeped in rest upon nothing more than delusions of grandeur.

Free Norman Scarth!

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