A Time of Trial 150

Just about ready for my trial for contempt of court tomorrow; signing off a final affidavit in a minute. It is really difficult to get my head round the fact that I could very soon be jailed for up to two years for writing about the conspiracy to fit up Alex Salmond and reporting honestly and carefully on his trial, and face an “unlimited” fine.

One feature of the pre-trial hearings and rulings has been the Crown refusing to disclose documentary evidence, and refusing to allow my witnesses. It seems they are trying to get me convicted with no courtroom drama and as little said as possible. I have at this moment very little idea even of what evidence I shall be permitted to give myself from the (virtual) dock. I have, however, sworn on oath two affidavits, and the text of these will be published tomorrow on this blog, (redacted for jigsaw identification) once I adopt my evidence in court.

You can listen live to the court case from 10.30am tomorrow. Access details are here. I shall be very grateful indeed for everyone who does listen in. I am afraid it is a telephone link not an internet link; it is charged as a normal call to London (not a premium number), which may be free depending on your own phone contract. I cannot understand at all why the court uses this phone technology rather than the web, particularly as there is live video feed available to journalists.

Finally, I am afraid I again need money for my defence fund. I want to make very plain that I do not want anybody to give money who cannot afford it. I also do not want anybody to divert money to me that they would have donated to Julian Assange’s defence fund. Julian is facing far longer imprisonment than me, and frankly is a much more important figure with a great deal more to contribute on the major issues facing society. With those caveats, if anybody can donate to help me I will be very grateful.

The Defence Fund has to date raised £112,000. We have paid the legal team £61,500 to date and have a new fee note detailing over £75,000 (feenote). I have to calculate the exact sum but I believe about £25,000 of this is already paid. In addition, we have paid out £5,000 for a separate counsel’s opinion on the public interest in the anonymity of certain of the discredited accusers of Salmond set against the public interest in their pivotal positions in public life, we have paid £3,500 for the opinion poll evidence and we are paying £6,500 for specialist counsel to advice on social media law. Plus we will have the fees for the trial itself.

So I expect final costs will total over £160,000 and possibly substantially so. This is a huge amount to try to raise from my readers. It is a major indictment of our legal system that it is so ruinously expensive – Alex Salmond is an innocent man left with costs of many hundreds of thousands of pounds. The Crown has dragged out the case over a series of preliminary hearings – classic state lawfare tactics. And my lawyers have kindly capped or reduced their fees. If I did not genuinely believe that important issues of freedom of speech are at stake, I would not ask you to contribute. I would also point out that in these circumstances everything helps – the large bulk of the fund has been raised from many thousands of small contributions.

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150 thoughts on “A Time of Trial

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    • Ranjeet Brar

      Glad to be able to donate on behalf of Workers Party of Britain. Your trial is clearly political, not criminal. Your advocacy of the cause of freedom of speech, your reporting from Julian Assange’s show trial and indictment of his political incarceration, and your long support of the anti-war movement has been a deep embarrassment to British ruling class circles and they are straining every sinew to punish you. We wish you the best for the trial tomorrow. You are NOT alone. We will support you.

  • Stonky

    “So I expect final costs will total over £160,000 and possibly substantially so…”

    Pardon my swearing but that is fucking outrageous. All the more so when other hacks who published exactly the same information as you walk the streets unmolested.

    • Antonym

      UK Justice was designed long ago to ensure best chances only for the rich: it still is in the 21st century. Therefore it has become a heaven for rich foreign tax dodgers, ex-dictators, playboys, cheaters and criminals.
      One is known by the company on keeps…

  • Jm

    Happy to contribute Craig.

    On a side note…ive been unable to access your Twitter from your homepage link since yesterday evening but can access it from Twitters own main portal

    Best of luck tomorrow,we’ll be following closely.

  • Peter Finnigan

    Just made a small donation, Craig. I just wish it could be substantially more. You are in the thoughts of myself and my family. May justice prevail.

  • pete

    Donated today, All my donations will have the ref Assange appeal due to Pay Pal disliking my computer system and my bank not allowing me to update the reference I used before. Good luck I hope you emerge victorious, the case against you is pointless and vindictive.

  • Wikikettle

    Have just donated Craig. Take heart and know we are grateful to you for just saying truth to power at such cost to your life.

  • Republicofscotland

    The Scottish government might be corrupt, the Lord Advocate might have gone rogue, however the acquittal of Mark Hirst and Alex Salmond by our judiciary leaves me with a feeling of confidence, that judges are not for fooling on matters such as yours, and that you will soon be acquitted, so keep the faith Craig. I fully expect you to be raising a glass of your favourite whisky in a day or two, and reiterating your faith in Scottish judges.

  • dpg

    In the event of achieving independence (unlikely in the short term)I would be agitating for the removal of the legal headlock that most of us labour under. My impression of the legal stipendiaries who operate their collusive, corrupt for their personal benefit. People pay fees for the simplest of measures but non Lawyers are excluded both literally and figuratively from process. Having watched some of these ‘players; I have been struck by (sometimes) the banality of the legal speech. If it was clever one would recognise that. On my one accasion as a juror I saw an affected bewigged performance carrying out elaborate and worthless word play coded in ways intended to draw a verbal veil around what was actually happening.
    It even costs money to get a letter of discharge from a fully paid up mortgage, however reform of these nice little earners for solicitors is resisted by spurious arguments about contrived legal niceties. The law profession is an open invitation to corruption at many levels and for those who can become qualified and admitted to the ‘sanctimonium’ it is the passport to largely undeserved credit, status and wealth
    The legal profession is like a ball and chain around the necks of ordinary people and a tool of oppression for the elite. Andy Wightmans book about the conniving and finagling and unmitigated corruption behind property and land ownership was explored in his book-‘The poor had no Lawyers’. The title pretty much sums it up. Recent events around the cases of AS/Mark Hirst/yourself and Julian Assange point to the very dark underbelly of the way our democracy links to the legal system. There is great urgency required to completely separate the role of the Lord advocate in the SG cabinet. That is an egregious abuse of process which must be challenged.
    I wish you all the very best outcomes in your trial tomorrow.

    • Thomas

      When I was privately and maliciously accused of passing of the judge made it clear he wasn’t much interested and my barrister advised me to represent myself. For obvious reasons courts aren’t keen on people defending themselves in person but I appreciate the advice I was given as it saved me a few thousand. With costs approaching 200k in this case I’d be tempted to risk prison or a fine by representing myself, but of course wouldn’t advise anyone else to do this!

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Craig Murray,

    Wishing you the best out come as you enter your Gethsemane.
    Truly hope that you are not crucified.


  • Ivan

    Hi Craig have donated and will do so again if needed. I really value your blog and admire your integrity. Will be following tomorrow and hoping you’ll join Alex and Mark in being fully exonerated in court.

  • Goose

    Surely not jail for someone with a heart complaint during a deadly covid pandemic?

    The UK has many damaged psychos and sadists in positions of power, but that would represent a cruel and unusual punishment. Especially given the seemingly arbitrary, baseless nature of this prosecution. Does society need protecting from a blogger? lol

    • James B

      Goose – I’d prefer `Surely not jail for someone who hasn’t done anything wrong, but who rather has done some great journalism and sterling work exposing corruption’.

      His health should be neither here nor there.

      • Goose

        Craig himself raised the prospect up to 2 years in jail.

        Of course I think the whole thing is completely ludicrous and risks embarrassing Scotland whenever justice eventually prevails – whether this week, or on appeal. A blogger facing this treatment for a satirical piece is the sort of thing you’d expect to read about in el -Sisi’s Egypt or Saudi Arabia.

        • James B

          Goose – absolutely. I seem to remember, back in the 1970’s and 80’s that we were led to believe that we lived in a country that was infinitely superior precisely because people were not only allowed to, but were actively encouraged to write such satirical pieces, unlike totalitarian and authoritarian regimes which were found behind the iron curtain and in Africa and places like that, where people got banged up for that sort of thing.

          It is outrageous that Craig Murray even has a case to answer. The whole procedure does make Scotland of the 2020’s look like Uganda of the 1970’s and Nicola Sturgeon like Idi Amin in a dress.

    • Tom Welsh

      “The UK has many damaged psychos and sadists in positions of power…”

      I question your use of “damaged”, Goose. I am reminded of the scene in “Pirates of the Cribbean 4” where the missionary tries to persuade Blackbeard that he is “damaged”.

      Blackbeard replies, “Has it occurred to you that I am just a bad man?”

      • Goose

        @Tom Welsh

        The nature or nurture debate.

        George Monbiot (a product of a boarding school himself) produced a good column on how boarding schools leave many with abandonment issues and traumatised for life. Many of these people go on to occupy the highest positions in the land in govt, judiciary and agencies…. and we all suffer for it.

        Quote : These are institutions of fear, cruelty and trauma, and they create terrified bullies.

        Wouldn’t normally link to the Guardian , but it’s worth a read. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/07/boarding-schools-boris-johnson-bullies

        • Goose

          The Telegraph reported : “As a boarder at Fettes College, Edinburgh, Tony Blair argued repeatedly with staff about school procedures” and was regularly given “six of the best”.

          Explains much.

    • Roger Gough

      An extract from my local paper in Gloucestershire this week advises that a local man found with over 2 million images of child abuse – many in the extreme category A – was spared prison because he had underlying health conditions that would, in the present Covid emergency, “amount to a death sentence” in the opinion of the judge. Let’s hope such sentiments spread as widely and quickly as the virus. Good luck

  • Paul Short

    Like others have said here – ton paid in; more when needed. We’re all 100% behind you. Total best wishes.

  • Anonish

    It’s disgusting that even fending off an accusation is enough to bankrupt the average person – whether they “win” or not. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is all intentional to ward independent journalists from covering issues and people without the legal and financial backup of a large corporation behind them. And with that goes their intellectual and moral freedom.

    I’ve only discovered this blog in the last few years, but your writing and even the majority of comments has been an oasis of open-mindedness and skepticism in an online cesspit of reactionaries full of hate and fear.
    It’d be like closing the curtains on the wider world again for me if this ended prematurely.

    Wishing you all the best. It’s heartening to see so many people braver than me showing their support in more than just words.

  • Rhona Anderson

    The access code has disappeared and your link now takes readers to an error code. Could you check please as I would like to listen in tomorrow.

  • Johannes Meyer-Seipp

    My small contribution is coming from Hesse, Germany
    Your support for Julian Assange and your journalistic work as blogger is highly appreciated here, too. Keep faith!

    • Unrepentant SAFFA in Ostfriesland

      Nice to see somebody else, I presume there are more, also contributing from Germany.
      Stay safe Johannes.
      And needless to say, you too Craig.
      Hope we can all help to reach the target.
      We need you come back and keep casting a light into the dark corners of power…

  • Simon Coury

    Small contribution made. Craig, your work in this blog and the world is priceless. Thank you, and good luck.

  • Tollcross

    How can I donate without getting snarled up with useless Paypal? They’ve sent me a code EIGHT times but never recognise it when I enter it.

  • Cascadian

    Would it be stupid to suggest that you leave in place a dead man’s switch in case of their actually convicting and banging you up? Might it not give them pause, given that it would expose all parties regardless of their supposed (and now manifestly corrupt) rule of law?

    Some more cash on the way for your defence fund, I hope that ‘They’ cannot divert it.

  • David Barclay

    This is the worst kind of misuse of power yet from this government which has used it’s power to fund it’s pals to the tune of £? billion. They are trying to shut you up because you are telling the truth. Therefore, this case should be thrown out and the government sent the bill for wasting police and court time chasing an innocent party who was outing them for calling another innocent parties name into disrepute.

  • nevermind

    Hi Craig, Steph and myself wishing you all the luck you might need tomorrow. Have sent you what we think we can afford.
    Our best to Nadira and Cameron. If they dare and jail you, make sure you take all your meds and some 4000btu vitamin D.
    Take you good care boar.

  • Easily Confused

    Happy to send a donation.
    I hope that very soon this will all be over for you and your family.
    Good luck, not that you need it as you are quite clearly innocent, and how these ridiculous charges have been brought to this stage beggars belief. They make us a laughing stock.

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