In July, the Supreme Court refused to hear my appeal against eight months imprisonment for Contempt of Court by the High Court of Edinburgh. And yet yesterday they issued a judgment stating in the strongest possible terms that there should be a right of appeal in Contempt of Court cases.
33. If there were no right of appeal from the decision on contempt of the First
Instance Panel, that would represent a serious lacuna in the law. That is because it is
well-accepted that there ought to be a right of appeal by the defendant in a contempt
matter that may result in imprisonment or a fine. This was expressed in very strong
terms by the 1959 Report entitled Contempt of Court by Justice (chaired by Lord
Shawcross). The Justice Report preceded section 13 of the Administration of Justice Act
1960 and said, at p 35:
“At present there is no right of appeal against any decision or
punishment for any criminal contempt whether it is
committed in the presence of the court or out of court. As no
human being is infallible, and as any sentence of
imprisonment involves a basic question of civil liberty, it is
not surprising to find that in every system of law of any
civilised State there is always a right of appeal against any
sentence of imprisonment. For contempt of court alone can
an Englishman be sent to prison by a court from whose
decision there is no appeal. … Even in enemy-occupied
territory in time of war, there must, under the Hague
Convention, always be some right of appeal or petition
against any sentence of imprisonment …”
“in every system of law of any civilised State there is always a right of appeal against any sentence of imprisonment.” That is the maxim they quoted with approval. They used it to allow an extraordinary appeal from the Supreme Court to the Supreme Court for the solicitor, Mr Tim Crosland, who had been fined £5,000. (Having agreed to hear the appeal, they found against him).
So the Supreme Court has ruled that there must be a right to appeal against imprisonment, unless your name is Craig Murray, you are connected to Julian Assange, you are a war on terror whistleblower, a fundamental Scottish Independence supporter or otherwise regarded by the state as a dissident outside the normal realm of respectability.
Remember that the fine words above are from the same Supreme Court that refused me a right of appeal. What a bunch of stinking hypocrites.
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