Arrested at 9.30am, tried in secret court, imprisoned by 6.30pm
Now, you might think this man to be eccentric, weird or a nutter. He sounds as though he votes UKIP, so you might agree with the Prime Minister that he is a ‘fruitcake’, ‘loony’ or ‘closet racist’. Some will put him in the David Icke category of world-domination conspiracy theorist (minus the lizards). Others will hear the word ‘Bilderberg’, and thereafter dismiss the man’s entire gamut of grievances and concerns.
But he actually talks a great deal of constitutional sense. Yet whatever you think of the man’s message, it transpires that he has been withholding his council tax on account of the fact that ‘a proportion of the tax revenue gathered is being sent to the European Union, used to fund unlawful wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, and promote terrorism right around the world’. He believes that ‘to pay tax under these circumstances is, at the very least, unlawful under Section 15(3) of the Terrorism Act 2000’.
His Grace demurs on the rendering of that which belongs to Caesar, but (as far as he is aware) the belief that the British Government is complicit in terrorism or war crimes is not against the law, and the non-payment of council tax is not a crime which negates one’s legal rights: it needs to be dealt with in the usual manner, through the Magistrates' Court of petty sessions.
But Roger Hayes has been arrested, tried and imprisoned all within nine hours – no Habeas Corpus, no trial by jury, no public hearing, and no witnesses called for the defence. At the time of writing the charges are unknown, but in the absence of those for terrorism or issues of national security; with no allegations of torture or rendition; and with no children involved in a ‘family court’ closed hearing, it beggars belief that of all our traditional and hard-won juridicial checks and balances going back to Magna Carta can be so easily dispensed with, such that a British subject of Her Majesty can have his liberty removed at a whim.
Apparently, so swift was the process that the first Mr Hayes’ family heard of his plight was yesterday evening ‘via a telephone call from a Warder in Liverpool prison, to say that Roger had been tried and sentenced to prison’. They must have been utterly distraught.
This is a gross offence against Human Rights: secret court proceedings in civil cases are an audacious attack on our ancient rights and liberties. And the use of evidence against individuals which they are unable to challenge (or even see) is antithetical to every Christian notion of justice. It is all the more incomprehensible since both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties pledged to oppose Labour’s culture of ‘closed material procedures’.
We read that, as Chairman of the British Constitution Group, ‘Roger Hayes has been an outspoken public speaker warning the British public that their rights and freedoms under Common Law and the Constitution are being stripped away and replaced by a dictatorship of secret courts operating under Administrative and Statute Law.’
Well, now his warning has come to pass: the State can apparently bypass centuries of nuanced jurisprudence and we are returned to the era of the Court of Star Chamber. These are indeed the actions of a police state, the implications of which are profoundly disturbing for us all.
UPDATE: 3 July 2.30pm
It is reported that 'Wirral Council, having issued proceedings against Roger Hayes for non payment of Council Tax, recently decided to enact their right for a Committal Hearing against Roger for his continued non-payment... On Tuesday 26 June 2012 a Committal Hearing took place at which Wirral Council state that Roger failed to appear. As a result the Judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest, and Roger was arrested yesterday morning.'
UPDATE: 3 July 3.30pm
The stickler-for-facts FullFact.org have dug diligently where His Grace's rakings were unyielding.
What is not yet clear (since it appears to be rather difficult for anyone to visit Mr Hayes) is whether he was informed of the Committal Hearing, and, if so, why he failed to attend. And, moreover, if he was properly informed and simply opted not to attend, why his family should be in any sense surprised by the arrest..
UPDATE 4 July 6.45pm
Courtesy of Witterings from Witney:
Setting to one side whether the strategy of Roger Hayes is the right one or not, what is at stake with this incident is that of justice and how it is administered.
In respect of the sequence of events, Hayes was arrested on Monday morning, taken to a police station for three hours and then taken to directly to court. No listing for that court hearing was posted, Mr Hayes had no legal representation, nor was he permitted any, Mr Hayes was given no opportunity to present a defence, no jury was present and neither was the general public or press present at that hearing. That being the case Mr Hayes was subjected to a ‘star chamber’ and secret court process as correctly stated in the original article. In addition, according to Mr Hayes’ Statement of Fact made in prison this morning, neither was he informed of the court case on Tuesday 26 June at which the bench warrant was issued – thus he did not attend the hearing, nor could he conduct his defence.
Brian Gerrish has issued a formal complaint to FullFact in regard to the article that appeared on their website yesterday, 3rd July.
It is worth noting that it is stated Hayes had no legal representation, was not permitted any, nor was he provided with an opportunity to present a defence – it is also known that in Family Courts, parents of those children being taken into care are unable to question statements made by local authority children’s services. In his complaint to FullFact, Brian Gerrish refers to a ‘star chamber’ – perhaps a ‘Kangaroo Court‘ would be a better description?
More to follow……..