And this time the mainstream media did their reporting, albeit with a certain slant, based on the release produced by the Press Association:
- Sky News and ITV
- The Guardian: Pensioner jailed for recording court proceedings is released
- BBC Leeds & West Yorkshire: Norman Scarth freed as Bradford contempt sentence cut and Bradford court contempt man, 85, legally jailed
and in the blogosphere:
- RiotsLondon.info: Pensioner jailed for recording court proceedgins is released
- Captain Ranty.
Much more if you google!
And here is the account by a close observer and supporter of Norman:
Maurice Kirk was at the hearing, along with the Musas. I believe that there were other supporters of Norman from Leeds and other places all over the country also present, and it was a packed court.
Norman appeared by video link which was switched on before the hearing began.
At the start of the case, Lord Justice Pitchford was extremely hostile, and Norman was represented by Mr Waldman from Doughty Street Chambers.
Lord Justice Pitchford produced the pen that had been confiscated from Norman at the hearing, and told Mr Waldman that it had both audio and camera recording facilities.
He made it sound that it had all been pre-calculated, and I took this as an indicator that the appeal was going to be dismissed.
It also emerged that Norman had also took photos of the Judge and the prosecuting counsel, and all of the data on the pen had been downloaded. Lord Justice Pitchford indicated that this had been deliberate.
Lord Justice Pitchford also stated that all members of the court had viewed a video recording as well, although I am not sure whether this was from Norman’s pen.
Chris Jarvis also served amended Grounds of Appeal and Skeleton Argument on the court and briefly addressed the court that he was Norman’s McKenzie man regarding the Habeas Corpus.
Lord Justice Pitchford asked Norman if he wanted Chris Jarvis to address the court on his behalf, and he replied that he wanted Mr Waldman to address the court on his behalf as his counsel.
There then ensued argument relating to whether there was an appeal against conviction and sentence or only sentence.
Mr Waldman explained that he had only had a brief conference with Norman that morning for the first time.
Lord Justice Pitchford told both Mr Waldman and Norman that the appeals against conviction and sentence would be heard together, but Norman applied for the appeal against conviction to be adjourned, so that he could decide which grounds to pursue and take further advice as he needed time to consider the points raised. He also stated that this had been impossible in Armley gaol.
He also stated that if this wasn’t possible, he would seek to withdraw the appeal against conviction and proceed with the sentence, which was the most important issue before the court.
The court then retired and came back and refused the application for the adjournment of the appeal against conviction, but interestingly, didn’t appear to dismiss it, which may have repercussions later.
Mr Waldman was then asked to address the court on sentence, and his main submission was that it was far too severe in all of the circumstances.
He stated that the sentence had to be looked at in totality relating to the two consecutive three months sentences passed by His Honour Judge Rose.
He also referred to a medical report from a psyciatric nurse to the effect that the sentence was having a detrimental effect on Norman’s health.
He referred to a number of authorities, including the one made against Patrick Cullinane for four months, which was later quashed.
Throughout, Lord Justice Pitchford continued to be extremely hostile, and also told Mr Waldman abruptcy to speak up. I thought that Norman’s appeal was certainly going to be completely rejected.
Crown counsel then briefly addressed the court, and stated that he had supplied a number of authorities that might assist the court.
Lord Justice Pitchford indicated again in a hostile manner that six months might be thought to be a lenient sentence, and again I felt that the outcome was a foregone conclusion.
Norman also interjected again, and explained that he just wanted the court to show him both “justice” and “mercy” and particularly “mercy”.
He stated that the prison was a “hell hole” and had been described as such by the Inspector of Prisons.
Norman also stated that that two days previously, he has been assaulted in his cell by three other prisoners.
The court then retired to consider their verdict and came back approximately five minutes later, and it was clear that they had already made up their minds, and that the judgment had already been written out before hand.
Lord Justice Pitchford then announced that the appeal against sentence was to be allowed, and that the total six months sentence was quashed, and was to be substituted by two three months sentences to run concurrently, which with half remission would lead to Norman’s immediate release that day.
After this was announced, all present clapped. Lord Justice Pitchford didn’t like this at all and stated that if there was a repeat, the court would be cleared, and that everyone present “should remember where they were”, giving the impression that it was Westminster Abbey in the house of God.
I should explain that un beknown to myself, there had been two findings of contempt, for which His Honour Judge Rose had passed two three months sentences to run consecutively, making up the total of six months.
Lord Justice Pitchford then proceeded to deliver his formal judgment, and it emerged that Norman had attended a trial at the Bradford Crown Court, and was in the public gallery with the defendant’s mother.
Norman had been also acting as a Mckenzie assistant and had attended conferences with the defendant’s counsel.
The Defendant’s mother had complained to His Honour Judge Rose that she couldn’t hear the exchanges between prosecuting counsel and the judge, but that His Honour Judge Rose had told her to either be quiet or leave the court.
Lord Justice Pitchford observed that this was of particular interest concerning Norman, in view of his acting as a McKenzie assistant.
Norman had also been observed using the pen, and an usher had reported him to the Judge, who ordered it to be confiscated for investigation.
Lord Justice Pitchford then stated that Norman had then used abusive language and had called the judge and all the officials in the court corrupt, and also referred to the usher as a whore.
Lord Justice Pitchford made a great deal of quoting from Norman’s alleged quotes in the court, presumably from the transcript of the proceedings.
It also emerged that the court had been provided with a complete transcript of the proceedings at the Bradford Crown Court.
Norman was also heard to state on the video link “what bad language”.
His Honour Judge Rose had ordered Norman to be arrested, which was done by a Detective Sergeant of the South Yorkshire Police, and was ordered to be detained overnight.
It also appears that Norman refused to attend the adjourned hearing and dispensed with counsel, as he considered that the court was a “kangaroo court” dispensing “corrupt justice”.
There were therefore two contempt charges preferred against Norman, the first for allegedly using bad language in the court, and the second for recording the court without permission.
It also transpired that when the recording was played, it was also discovered that the mic hadn’t been powerful enough to pick up the discussion between the Judge and prosecuting counsel, but had recorded Norman’s alleged abuse to the judge and the court.
Lord Justice Pitchford announced that the sentence was being reduced, because although it might be appropriate for a younger and fitter man, His Honour Judge Rose hadn’t had the benefit of the medical report which the court had seen, and he indicated that the court was indebted to Mr Waldman for obtaining this.
This was the reason why the sentence was reduced to time served, and that no critisism could be made of His Honour Judge Rose’s sentence, as Lord Justice Pitchford had acted in the manner he did on the material that he had had at the time.
In effect, the court has tried to get His Honour Judge Rose completely off the hook and absolve him from all blame for the severe and harsh sentence.
The court then reconstituted as a Divisional Court of the Queen’s Bench Division and dealt with the outstanding Habeas Corpus application.
It appears that Mr Justice Wyn Williams when refusing the Writ two weeks ago, should have referred the matter to the Divisional Court, under court rules, as that was the only court that could technically refuse the Writ, being a criminal application.
The court purported to rectify this technical shortcoming and then stated that they were dismissing the Writ for the reasons previously given by Wyn Williams.
Lord Justice Pitchford also made comments that such a Writ could only be applied for regarding alleged unlawful detention and that this hadn’t been the case.
POSSIBLE RE-LISTING OF THE APPEAL AGAINST CONVICTION
It appears that in order for Norman to have validly withdrawn his appeal against conviction, as this wasn’t done at the very beginning of the hearing, the court’s permission was required, and this doesn’t appear to have been granted.
In addition, he should have signed a Notice of Withdrawal on a Notice of withdrawal form, and as this wasn’t done, the purported withdrawal may be a nullity.
There is also a form for making an application to restore an appeal that has been withdrawn, either validly or not, and this will clearly have to be looked into.
Norman also stated that he was withdrawing his appeal against conviction under duress.
Norman may now wish to apply to possibly restore his appeal against conviction, as it raised a number of important legal issues such as Judges acting in their own cause and “freedom of expression” under article 10(1) ECHR.
- After the demo at Leeds Prison: how to Free Norman Scarth (victims-unite.net)
- Partners in Human Rights Activism: Maurice Kirk & Norman Scarth (mauricejohnkirk.wordpress.com)
- Open letter and Formal Complaint from Norman Scarth – 85-year-old WWII Veteran and Prisoner (victims-unite.net)
- Norman Scarth on Victims Unite has become a “Dangerous Page” (victims-unite.net)
- The Law is only as good as the integrity of those entrusted to administer it (mauricejohnkirk.wordpress.com)
- Ban on filming in law courts to be lifted – too late for or because of Norman Scarth? (victims-unite.net)
- A New Collation of 700 Comments by 1700 Free Norman Scarth Petition Signers (victims-unite.net)
- Norman Scarth News as “tweets” from Twitter (victims-unite.net)
- Norman Scarth on Video in Royal Courts of Justice today – with some 30 Supporters (victims-unite.net)
- More marvellous comments to Free WWII Veteran Norman Scarth from Leeds Prison (victims-unite.net)