contempt of court

It is easier to get sent to prison in England for contempt of court than for assaulting a fellow human being. I don’t mean that it is easier to prove. I mean that once proven, contempt of court is more likely to result in imprisonment than assault – even a gang assault that leaves one’s victim seriously injured.

In the case to which I refer, a tribunal of arrogant bullies – sorry judges – has sentenced a juror by the name of Theodora Dallas to six months imprisonment for carrying out internet research at home on the defendant in at a criminal trial on which she was sitting. The tribunal, consisting of Lady Justice Hallett, Mr Justice Openshaw and the risibly named Lord Judge, also denied their victim – sorry the convicted party – leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Of course she can apply directly to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal. But the fact that the judge’s denied her this right – in a case that obviously has implications that require the Supreme Court’s attention, shows that they are more concerned with flexing their muscles than with the administration of justice.

Now first of all – lest any criminals or their friends accuse me of missing the point – let me stress that checking out a defendant online IS contempt of court and that the jurors were all warned not to. And contempt of court can draw a custodial sentence. But this was a first offence and we are always told – by our judges no less – that first-time offenders should be treated with leniency. At least that is what we are told when they have committed assault or affray or even ABH.

Yet apparently those offences are not as serious, in the eyes of our esteemed judiciary, as checking out an accused online. It seems that the same judges who let violent criminals off with non-custodial sentences and who water down the sentences of even the most serious violent offenders, choose to get tough on a woman who committed contempt of court. In other words, beat the crap out of a private citizen by all means but don’t dare ruffle the feathers of the judiciary.

Unfortunately for their Lordships, ruffling the feathers of judges is what I do. So let’s consider the judges who reached this decision.

Only a week ago, Lady Justice Hallett reduced the prison sentence of Viktor Akulic who had raped a woman, knocked her to the ground and stamped on her head. Then when the woman reported the attack to the police, Akulic went round to her home and threatened to kill her. Akulic had already spent half his adult life in prison for other offences, including the rape of a SEVEN-YEAR-OLD GIRL. And Lady Justice Hallett KNEW ALL OF THIS. Yet although it would be obvious to all but a mental defective that Viktor Akulic WILL re-offend as soon as he gets the chance, Lady Justice Hallett and her co-conspirators – sorry judges – reduced his sentence from a minimum of eight-and-a-half years before he could apply for parole to seven.

Okay so much for Lady Justice Hallett, but what about Lord Judge? Well he’s an interesting case. In 2009 parliament finally decided to get rid of that legal dinosaur that allowed people who kill their spouses to use their spouse’s adultery or infidelity as a defence, watering down murder to manslaughter. The new law stated that “In deciding whether a loss of self-control had a qualifying trigger, the fact that a thing done or said constituted sexual infidelity IS TO BE DISREGARDED.” So although loss of control could reduce murder to manslaughter, alleged infidelity  (and it was very easy for the man’s lawyer to invent such infidelity) could no longer be used to achieve such reduction.

This reform was long overdue for many reasons, including the fact that the old law was almost invariably used by men to get off the hook for murdering their wives and almost never in those rare cases of wives murdering their husbands. But Lord Judge decided that he and his colleagues didn’t have to bother with something so trivial as the law or the will of parliament (nor indeed for the right of women not to be murdered). So he decreed – in brazen defiance of the law – that infidelity could be considered as adding to the “potency” of any other conduct which might cause a loss of self-control.

In other words, Lord Judge knowingly subverted the will of parliament and willfully deprived women of adequate protection of their right to life, by deliberately misinterpreting the law in pursuit of his nefarious, misogynistic agenda.

The Honourable Justice Openshaw on the other hand, seems to be a reasonably decent judge who does not let criminals get away with it. This might be because his own father – also a judge – was stabbed to death by a criminal whom he had sentenced to borstal for theft.

However, there is something deeply troubling in the case of Theodora Dallas. The reason that she was caught was because she told other jurors what she had found about the accused and one of them reported it to an usher. But the thing is that jurors swear an oath not to disclose anything said in the jury room and jury ushers also swear oaths not to ask the jurors any question other than have they reached a verdict and not to “suffer” that anything be disclosed to them.

So in order for Miss Dallas to have been caught, at least two other people must have breached their oaths. I’m not saying that what Miss Dallas did was right. But the fact that she was sentenced to six months for a non-violent first offence while thugs walk out of the courtroom laughing, child rapists get off early and murderous husbands get off with the lesser charge of manslaughter, suggests that there is something deeply wrong with the priorities of our much vaunted judiciary.