Thursday, March 23, 2017

DSEI trial - Crown granted permission to proceed

Last October the Crown was granted permission for a judicial review of Judge Hamilton’s refusal to allow an appeal (by way of case stated) into our acquittal on charges of obstructing the highway.  You can see details of the case day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4 and day 5 and the appeal at here with the judges response here

The Crown “forgot” to pay their court fees and therefore the action was struck out.  However, the Crown has now asked that the rules be waived and that the case be allowed to proceed despite this failure.  This morning’s action was to allow the court to determine whether or not the Crown should be allowed to proceed.

262 pages have been served on the court, most of which (I have deleted some personal information and medical records) can be found here.

There were oral hearings this morning which concentrated on four areas
  • The seriousness of the Crown’s omission
  • The delay to justice
  • The finality of proceedings
  • The impact on the “interested parties” (ie the defendants).

It was conceded by the Crown that the failure to pay on time was a serious omission, but they then claimed that it was not paramount and that it was more important that justice be done than that the Crown be held to account for their failures.

The Crown claimed that the three month delay was immaterial as it had not caused any disruption such as needing to move hearings that had already been scheduled, and that there would be no additional costs resulting from the delay.

They then claimed that the issues are of significant public importance, as in the Barkshire case the issues of imminence, proportionality and democratic deficit were not addressed, and the judges said these issues “would have to be considered some other time” and this case offers opportunity to do so.

Finally, they also claimed that our acquittal was a miscarriage of justice that needed to be put right.

Our representatives argued that there is a strong argument for finality, and on four occasions we believed that the case had ended – on acquittal, when the judge refused to state case, when he refused to do so at the second time of asking and when the Crown failed to pay their fees and the case was closed by the court.

They also pointed out the affect that the case is having on the mental health of some of the interested parties.

They also argued that the more robust use of sanctions (ie not allowing the case to proceed) for failure to follow the rules is important and has been laid out in the guidelines.

Finally, it was argued that whilst the prosecution evidence was agreed the defence evidence was oral and would therefore be affected by fading memories which would have a disproportionate effect on the defence.

The verdict

Whilst the burden falls on the claimant to demonstrate why the sanction should be overturned the judge stated that this error “falls towards the bottom of seriousness as it was not done to gain procedural advantage”.
  • The judge then basically re-iterated the Crown’s case that:
  • The Email didn’t include demand for fee, but the that the email made clear that the email was not complete,
  • There is at least an explanation for the breach
  • There has been nonconsequential loss as a result of the breach
  • The case does raise questions of law
  • Remitting the case would not disadvantage defendants (through fading memories) as the evidence concerned the status of highway and no of vehicles
  • The amount of time lost as a result of current failure is not major
  • There are important legal issues to consider
  • The time taken by dpp was not unreasonable in the circumstances
  • Finality important however correct application of law important
  • We would only have “hoped” that the case was over from 20 November when the case was struck

The judge thus entirely sided with the Crown, perhaps not surprising given David Lloyd Jones previous record defending the Paras in the Bloody Sunday Enquiry.

He also refused to impose the condition of not remitting the case, suggested by the claimant

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Ask the government to continue to support the "Dubs Amendment" - Open letter to Julian Sturdy MP

Dear Mr Sturdy,

I am afraid that I find myself writing to you only too frequently at the moment because of the appalling actions being undertaken by the government.  Here we have one of the vilest and most hypocritical actions that we have seen it take which will make hardly any difference to the number of people coming to the country, but will have a vast effect on a small number of vulnerable youngsters.

The government has announced that it after the current people being accepted under the “Dubs Amendment” no more will be accepted.  I, like many many other people find this shocking and hypocritical.  When the government eventually accepted the amendment they said that they would obey both the spirit and the letter of the law.  It is clear that they never had any intention of doing so as they have been laggardly and niggardly in their implementation.  From the debates at the time it was clear that the number that would be accepted would be in the thousands, but only about 350 children will have come. 

To suggest that the country struggles so much that we can barely accept on vulnerable young refugee in every two constituencies is simply ludicrous.  From discussions in York I know that York would be willing to accept more than one.

We have duties to refugees under international law. We have moral duties and as the fifth largest economy in the world we can clearly afford to take more.

Please will you write to the Home Secretary and the Immigration Minister demanding that as a simple matter of humanity they urgently review and rescind this decision and ensure that all eligible children are accepted.

Best wishes

Tom Franklin
4 Frazer Court
YO30 5FH

Julian Sturdy please oppose building in the West Bank - Open letter

Dear Mr Sturdy,

As one of your, probably few, Jewish constituents I am writing to ask you to please attend and speak up at the debate on Israeli settlements in the House of Commons on 9 February 2017 in order to show opposition to the illegal building of settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The building of settlements constitutes a war crime under international law. Palestinians already walled in to the West Bank face continual loss of land and livelihoods due to the expansion of settlements, not to mention the violence from settlers and the Israeli military that goes along with them. In Jerusalem the situation is as extreme, with settlers invading homes with Israeli security support while the Palestinian owners are left without any channel of redress, protection or rights.

If the UK government is serious about peace and justice, it must take immediate steps to curb the growth of settlements including:

1) Refuse trade negotiations with Israel so long as it continues denying Palestinians their rights. Despite its systematic violations of international law, Israel enjoys favoured trade status with the UK and the European Union. Negotiating a new trade deal would encourage Israel’s impunity and send a clear message that its war crimes can continue without any meaningful consequences. As the UK prepares to renegotiate trade deals in light of the ‘Brexit’ process, it must not reward Israel’s aggression with an upgrade in diplomatic and economic relations.

2) Implement a two-way arms embargo on Israel over its blatant disregard for international law. UK arms companies like BAE sell weapons to Israel, used in its brutal occupation of Palestine. UK banks hold investments for arms companies that lend material support to Israel’s violations of international law. If the UK’s official criteria for licensing arms exports was properly applied, it would already result in a de-facto arms embargo on Israel over its continued building of settlements and other war crimes related to the occupation of Palestine.

Over the past years, Israel has continued to build illegal settlements and violate international law with impunity. FCO statements discouraging settlement building have no effect on Israel, so long as the words are not backed up by action.

This issue is of utmost importance to me, as this year marks the 50th anniversary of start of the brutal Israeli military occupation. Please ensure the UK does not go one more year enabling the atrocious crimes that deny Palestinians justice and freedom.

I am sure that you are aware that I am equally concerned about UK arms sales to other countries having written to you on the issue several times.

Yours sincerely,
Tom Franklin
4 Frazer Court

YO30 5FH