Wednesday 2 December 2009

Bryan Law: An Appealing Opportunity

Next Tuesday, 8th December, Bryan Law is heading back to the Cairns Courthouse to appear before Judge Griffin in the District Court.
In August Bryan received 150 hours community service for his crimes of defacing political election signs belonging to Desley Boyle, MP for Cairns. Law will appeal the sentance, that the complainant, Col McKenzie, said at the time was "a bit high." "I would have been happy just to have a conviction recorded," McKenzie said in August outside the Cairns Courthouse.

Bryan Law defends his reasons for appealing.

I’ve appealed against the severity of Magistrate Pinder’s sentence against me on 14 August when he convicted me of wilfully damaging Desley Boyle’s election signs. I gave 86 of Desley’s signs a golden tiara saying “Yacht Club” – to remind voters of that building’s destruction. Desley displayed 350 signs in the tiny electorate of Cairns. None of them said anything).

Magistrate Pinder gave me 150 hours of community service (equivalent to a cash fine of $3,750) and ordered restitution of $400.

I reckon that’s too much.

Some folk were pissed off by my method – closely resembling graffiti – but I don’t recall anyone thinking it was wrong to hold Desley to account. Many folk approved of the change to the signs.

The change was so well considered that Cairns Election Campaign Committee decided to leave the changed signs in place until election day, and never had to spend time, effort or money as a result of my actions (perhaps I caused some political apprehension – but that was more by their own guilty conscience than by anything I did).

My “crime” was done openly (recorded and reported), incurred no material costs, no personal injuries or indignities, and has at least partial support among the public as a valid contribution to the democratic electoral process. It is a considered and creative act of civil disobedience. Magistrate Pinder probably remains uninformed about civil disobedience and democracy. He was certainly ignorant about it on 14 August.

I reckon, and I’ll be saying this to Judge Griffin, that a fine of $500 is a more appropriate sentence. I’d like to invite citizens of every stripe, to come and watch the public court hearing next Tuesday 8 December for a discussion about the legal consequences of civil disobedience.

To get ready for the Appeal, I’ve had to read the trial transcript.

One of the things that really interests me about the case has nothing to do with the appeal against sentence. Indeed I don’t know if there’s a Court in Australia that I could get officially interested in it. It has to do with the way politicians lie - and how their lying is the expected norm of our system of government.

The most fun I had during the trial was getting to cross-examine a dude called Col McKenzie, ALP shark and campaign manager to Desley Boyle in the 2009 election. Col McKenzie was under oath, and bound to tell the truth.

The Golden Tiara action started on Tuesday 10 March which provide photographic proof . On Friday 13 March the Cairns Election Campaign Committee of the ALP, run by Col, considered it and decided to:

  • (i) leave the changed signs in place;
  • (ii) deprive the Yacht Club issue of oxygen by striking a posture of unconcern and toleration during the election; and
  • (iii) seek retribution against me immediately after the election. Anyone familiar with ALP politics will recognise the duplicity and animosity as standard Labor methods.

Desley Boyle is a member of the Election Committee but it didn’t come out in the testimony whether or not she was at the 13 March meeting. Col McKenzie said that she would just follow the committee’s orders anyhow.

Orders to present a false image to the electorate. “Yes! This is a jolly good jape in a democracy”. “Now let’s get ‘im”!

From the trial:

Me asking Col a question –
  • “So you’re saying that you did mind; that [changing the signs] was objectionable; but for public consumption you would say that it wasn’t.”

Col answering the question –

  • “I think during the campaign the candidate had no choice but to show a good face to it.”

No choice but to win an election on false pretences, because 'if people knew what we really thought, they wouldn’t vote for us.'

They say that in a democracy you get the government you deserve. I wonder what we’ve done to deserve Desley Boyle and Col Mckenzie?


Bryan Outlaw - the Voice of Cairns said...

Once again, we have Bryan Law attempting to excuse his criminal actions with elementary school legal theorems.

In summary he sez:
1. My "crime" was done openly and with some public support.

So is what the Nazis did.

2. It is a "creative" act of civil disobedience.

"Creative" crimes get a pass? Novel legal theory.

3. Some folks were "pissed off", but I can't find anyone that thought it was wrong.

Well let's see, we have the police, the prosecutor, the judge. Acting on behalf of the People of Queensland, who wrote the laws and asked them to be enforced.

Guess no one in the jobless "hippie loser crowd" objected.

Did Bryan Law really stand up for his views on the Yacht Club? When given the opportunity to be arrested along with others, he turned into Judas saying "I only held the ladder". Bryan Law has the moral fortitude of a wet noodle.

How appropriate do you think Judge Griffin considers Bryan Law's observation that Magistrate Pinder "probably remains uninformed about civil disobedience and democracy - he certainly was ignorant about it on 14 August". Ya think insulting one judge as "ignorant" is a brilliant legal strategy? It's just more hot air from the biggest windbag in Cairns.

So why appeal? Another soapbox to stand on while the community yawns. The shame on the Law family in the community is deep and getting deeper.

Phil said...

I don't think the fact he imposed a penalty on you means the magistrate was uninformed on civil disobedience. You were disobedient and therefore you were punished. When I was five and drew on my parents wall I got a smack on the arse and your stupid actions deserve the equivilant. And yes they were stupid actions, based on little more than your own desire to be a pest. That you try to cast your actions as disobedience in the mold of Gandi is both offensive and ridiculous.

Disco Dave said...

On a different tack, at least the big unit was getting out of the house for a bit of exercise. The community at large can learn something from this.

Whilst I don't condone the actions of defacement of private property, I can appreciate a break for the big man from the TV and Tim Tams and potenital reduction in the future burden on the country's medical system.

With consideration given to the extra effort to transport one's frame about, there is nothing better to see a big unit doing a bit of exercise. Keep it up, just leave your spray cans at home.

Crank said...

That's a bit presumptuous to attest your labour is worth $25/hour. I'd say the community service order is worth probably closer to $30, given you'd no doubt spend most of those 150 hours sitting down.

Bryan Law said...

I see my fan club is out in force today and I welcome that, but guys please, a little more knowledge and a little less ignorance.

Cranky, baby, I don’t set the hourly rate – that’s done by state regulation via my mates at the community corrections office. (you’d just hate how much fun I’m having in my community service project, but I’m not going to tell you what it is, you’d only try to spoil it).

Likewise Phil, Mr Pinder’s ignorance about civil disobedience isn’t a matter of speculation. He failed to give me an opportunity to make submissions on penalty (he was too busy threatening members of the public gallery with arrest) and that’s when I usually give one of my giant windbag (thankyou Mr Outlawski) raves about it, after which Magistrates and Judges generally fine me small amounts – usually $300 to $500. That’s what I’m asking for this time.

My appeal hinges on Mr Pinder’s procedural error first, hopefully followed by re-sentencing after I make submissions based on directions by Lord Hofmann, a senior British Law Lord. On the other hand I could use the accumulated wisdom of Disco Dave - but somehow I don’t think it would do as good a job (you make me feel like dancin’).

Fans, you should come to the Cairns District Court next Tuesday 9.30 am and acquire a few facts against which you could re-evaluate your prejudices.

Or you might like to think why my actions are considered criminal, yet lying politicians are condoned by the very sheep who are on their way to the abbatoir. Bend over dudes, and try and keep the noise down while you’re being shafted. Lots of citizens are asleep.

Rob Williams said...

Is Phil Pinder the same bloke that said the Aquatic was rotten, had no historical value and should be demolished?