Well the CPS were not on top form today,
presentation was approaching the shambolic at one point with various barristers, solicitors and police officers bustling about the courtroom, struggling to play back a tape recording of one of the alleged offences. At one point there was concern that the battery might not last very long! (proper preparation prevents............)
The opposition was apparently not briefed as well as the money they will undoubtedly charge the public purse would suggest they should have been!
A bad character application was brought forward against Maurice, which of course, as it turned out, had not even been served on him!
In turn he requested a pair of reading glasses so that he might peruse it.
(they do like to rely on pieces of paper that haven't been served)
This basically means that they would like to use what he has already been convicted of to convict him again! (saves on the preparation they haven't done)
It also seemed to come as a bit of a surprise to the prosecution that they would actually have to prove that a restraining order existed in the first place! The barrister had to improvise a bit when the judge asked him what evidence he actually had.
Eventually, a Jury was sworn in and after the Judge explained to them that they were in fact the Law in this case, things moved on a bit and a witness was called to the stand.
At this point Maurice requested that he might be allowed the sight and use of some of the legal papers that he has been trying to obtain for so long.
The Judge then adjourned the trial until tomorrow whilst such papers were listed and sourced.
The case continues........
Day two was a little more coherent;
The witness from yesterday finished off her testimony, which amounted to little more than reading the transcript, or was that reading from the transcript?
Next up was the attesting [sic] and arresting, officer, who, under cross examination, did actually admit, at one point, That "your arrest was unlawful", this freudian slip was of course quickly corrected but nevertheless, it was said. It will be interesting to see if it is marked as "inaudible" when it comes out in the transcript!
Talking of freudian slips, the Judge was at one point heard to address the defendant as "Mr Leathly". This caused some momentary consternation before the Judge did it again!!
Maybe it was one of those day's.
The last witness of the day, who identified himself as the clerk to the court or the legal advisor, repeated the testiomony he gave the last time they convicted Maurice of breaching the order in another court, before another judge in 2012. The trouble is that last time his evidence directly conflicted with that of another witness to Kirk being served the order, who was the supervising custody officer. I wonder if the second witness will repeat his original testimony as well?
Of concern in the wider view was the way the original courtroom design has been altered to include the "goldfish bowl" which interferes with the vision of Justice. Far from being an open courtroom where everyone can see (and hear, as it alters the acoustics of the room) everyone else and the administration of justice being done. The room is now divided by a HUGE GLASS DOCK, fully enclosed in bulletproof glass and with more seats than the public gallery, which is now relegated to a corner near the door. To make it even more offensive to the process, the glass partition between the accused and the public gallery is frosted.
No doubt they are expecting Maurice's enemies to burst in and start spraying gunfire at him in an attempt to save the taxpayer money!
The clear inference being that the public are not important to the proceedings, when in fact the public are the ultimate authority in the law with the jury their direct and close quarters representatives. To break the line of sight between the two is an act of sacrilege and an affront to the Judicial process.
Of course the court management would be responsible for the alterations, now who is it that manages the place? Obviously it was our public money that was used to construct this monstrous edifice in the face of justice!
The case continues tomorrow, 10.30 sharp for those of you that are interested; court four, which is of course the masonic number, the number of the square!
Well the morning session was a bit uneventful, with lots of waiting around and suchlike.
It gave opportunity to more closely examine the obstruction to justice in the form of the goldfish bowl in which Maurice is placed every day and which now seems to be in every courtroom in the building, has wales suddenly been transformed into the Italy of the 1970's? when maffia trials put such bullet proof eddifices on TV screens around the world?
One can understand, perhaps, the need to have one high security courtroom in the building for the occasional dangerous criminal but to make it a matter of course to confine innocent and unconvicted men and women in such degrading tanks is surely an affront to the long and illustrious history of justice in this country!
There is a principle of EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW, or, as Maurice has made mention of on several occasions, EQUALITY OF ARMS on the battlefield that is the courtroom. The sound amplification system which is now necessary because of the altered acoustics in the room broke down on Monday and necessitated frequent repairs by the court staff. A new system was installed on Tuesday overnight and on Wednesday that too played up all day. It is clearly an impediment to the administration of justice.
The afternoon brought some developments with the prosecution witness, the supervising custody officer, giving evidence as to how the "restraining order" came to be served on Maurice.
It was largely a rerun of the original evidence that he gave last time they convicted him of breaching it. In other words it still contradicted the evidence given yesterday by the clerk of the court who said the "R.O" was served on him in the corridor, whilst the supervising custody officer again insisted it was served on Maurice whilst he was in the cell.
A new development occurred when the Judge ordered him, upon request from the jury, to produce the records that his company holds of the incident "if they still exist", Maurice was heard to comment "I won't hold my breath".
This of course raises the question of whether it would be safe to convict on such conflicting evidence, another supporter made reference to "the Galbraith principles".
Another interesting and possibly relevant occurrence was that the court clock stopped, at 14.49.More electronic instability?
The court will sit again on Thursday morning but not in the afternoon, Friday has also been ruled out for a continuation, something about no judges are sitting on Friday.
The case will almost certainly run on well into next week, which is convienient, as it will give a chance to attend to those supporters who were unable to make it this week!
PS. Please note that the video of the Police interview right after the arrest is on this blog post. And here's his sister's witness statement re bail and bail hostels.
An earlier start and an unexplained change of courtroom was the order of the day. Court two is a much bigger and more open courtroom and much more conducive to the conduct of judicial proceedings. Unfortunately it also sported a large glass fishtank in the middle of the room which again interfered with the acoustic design of the court but at least everyone could see everyone else!
The witness identified as the supervising custody officer was back on the stand to continue, not so much being grilled as roasted slowly over hot coals. Evidently his training kicked in and his answers consisted largely of "I can't remember".When pressed for a yes or no answer he repeatedly launched into a spiel worthy of the best politicians across the dispatch box. Maybe he should stand for prime minister?
When questioned about his diary and logs of his working hours he repeatedly denied keeping a diary or logging his time in and out of work, ( you might wonder at that position for a man in charge of a suite full of potentially dangerous men), so did Maurice and proceeded to quote from the witness's previous sworn testimony, where he clearly stated that he kept his own personal diary and logged his times into and out of work!
Somewhat instantly the diary in question became the Geo Amy desk diary which was now apparently kept to log everyone in and out, That document has yet to be produced in court.
What was produced by the prosecution, on the orders of the Judge, was a copy of the prisoner escort record. Unfortunately the first page was illegible, a fact noted by the Judge who asked for the original to be produced. When asked who had in fact made the entries in the record, the witness again launched into a monologue along the lines of " I do not remember". When asked who was in fact responsible for the keeping of the record he appeared to momentarily forget his job description as Supervising custody officer!
It was established from this document, that ordinary events like coming into custody, being taken to court, being brought back from court, toilet visits, meal breaks, medicine administration etc, were in fact recorded in meticulous detail, somewhat surprisingly (or not) there was no record of the Clerk to the court visiting the cell block, sorry, custody suite, to serve a restraining order on Maurice. When questioned about this the witness seemed to think that the event was so insignificant as to not warrant an entry in the record, apparently it was less significant than serving Maurice a cup of tea!
Earlier in the proceedings the Judge had indicated that the witness would be brought back to court on Monday, to continue his cross examination once certain documents had been produced to the court. Towards the end of the witness testimony the Judge appeared to forget this and indicated that the witness would not be coming back next week!
One has to hope that a rush to judgement is not being made!
The case continues on Monday......