So back in May, this happened. Apparently, some vandals attacked the Whitehouse Institute of Design, where Tony Abbott’s political-prop offspring Frances was found to have been awarded a once off scholarship worth around $60,000. This pissed off quite a few people due to the questionable legalities of pandering to those in power – namely by awarding the daughter of a man vying for PM a scholarship advertised nowhere else.
But the question here is, how should one accused of the above crime conduct themselves? What rights do they have as an individual?
My answer is the letter below.
It’s quite simply a request for an adjournment – appearing in court can be an easy matter, but it’s something which should be taken seriously, as it is essentially a conversation between the representative of the court, the magistrate, and yourself. So you can decide to throw that opportunity away, or make the most of it, and maybe set a precedent for those after you to follow.
I found out recently that an individual can contact the court, and the presiding magistrate, directly via email, instead of making an appearance. This was news to me, having appeared in many courts in the past for minor offences relating to my artistic endeavours.
But in this case, I think it’s worth sharing, because so many people are intimidated by the courts, especially by the idea of appearing in such a potentially intimidating atmosphere, let alone the process of actually taking time off work, or whatever, to get dressed in what you assume a judge will see as your most respectful outfit, wondering what the outcome will be.
So many of the people who appear in court do so for minor matters, without much representation, or understanding of their options, while those with access to expensive legal advice will often flout the system. It’s a case of David vs Goliath – being called before a judge whilst surrounded by the court’s administration, sometimes for matters so trivial that it hardly seems worth dedicating so much pomp and ceremony to the event.
It’s a centuries old system, in an age when technology allows for infinitely faster methods of communication. If one can respectfully communicate with others across a phone line, then why not the courts? Why build up the pretense of its unquestionable authority, in an age when we all know what goes on behind the doors of power?
When every second politician is not only distrusted, but proven to deserve that distrust, why should we blindly bow to a court which represents the very system which drags down our society?
In the words of Gene Sharp –
“The degree of liberty or tyranny in any government is in large degree a reflection of the relative determination of the subjects to be free and their willingness and ability to resist efforts to enslave them.”
Or on other words, if you play along, you’ll get played. And I don’t want that on my resume.
update: Scribla did appear in court, and argued that he did not recognise the court’s jurisdiction due to its residing on Aboriginal Land. He was given an adjournment of two months, during which time he contracted chicken pox. Near death, he waited until the date of the appearance, and requested a further adjournment, which the court recognised. A month later he received a fine in the post for $400, without ever pleading guilty.
The reason he was caught? He drunkenly presented himself at a Police station one morning, and confessed.