Dear Ministry of Justice,
I would like the MoJ to disclose who or what department at Grimsby Magistrates' Court dealt with the correspondence below, and what the court's policy is in regards picking and choosing which correspondence it replies to.
From: fFaudwAtch UK
To: Grimsby Magistrates' court
Cc: Humberside police
Sent: Thursday, January 07, 2016 1:16 PM
Subject: Re: Hearing 10:00 am 15 December 2015 (Court Room 2)
Dear Ms Jones
I have looked at the options which I have available with regards appealing the conviction and there appears potentially to be three.
It looks as though it would be most appropriate to apply under section 142 of the Magistrates' court Act 1980 (the "1980 Act") to have the court re-open the case.
Electing for the justices to state a case for an appeal to the High Court is probably very unwise as from my own experience in a civil matter an appeal has still to be put before the Queens Bench even though three years has passed since the application was made to Grimsby Magistrates. However, the question of law on which the opinion of the High Court may be sought, and will be referred to later, is in relation to sub-section 2A of s11 of the 1980 Act.
APPEAL TO THE CROWN COURT
Though it is suggested I may appeal to the Crown court by completing the provided form, it seems that this option may only be available to a defendant who attended the trial.
I will make my representations therefore in respect of reopening the case under s142 of the 1980 Act.
REOPENING THE CASE UNDER SECTION 142
Firstly, it was made clear from writing to the court a number of days before the trial to express without reservation that District Judge Curtis, was not considered 'a fit and proper person to hear the case'.
I have hard evidence relating to a previous matter in support of that claim which was detailed extensively in a statement to the police. The judge had unequivocally accepted a statement knowing it to be false, which enabled NE Lincs Council to succeed in defrauding me through court costs claimed in proceedings that were engineered to that end. The Council had therefore committed perjury to defraud me, and the judge assisted by turning a blind eye to that breach of legal procedure.
Sub-paragraph 1 of s142 of the 1980 Act provides the following:
"A magistrates’ court may vary or rescind a sentence or other order imposed or made by it when dealing with an offender if it appears to the court to be in the interests of justice to do so; and it is hereby declared that this power extends to replacing a sentence or order which for any reason appears to be invalid by another which the court has power to impose or make."
Sub-paragraph 2 also has relevance in which the following provides:
"Where a person is convicted by a magistrates’ court and it subsequently appears to the court that it would be in the interests of justice that the case should be heard again by different justices, the court may so direct."
I was asked at the hearing (sentencing) by deputy district judge Andrew Pascoe whether or not I was guilty of failing to turn up for the trial on the 15 Dec 2015 without good reason. I pleaded not guilty as I considered I had very good reason for not attending as I had no confidence that I would have had a fair trial knowing that District Judge Curtis was trying the case. The court was informed in writing on 11 Dec 2015 to made it categorically clear that I did not consider this judge fit to hear the case.
Sub-section 2A of s11 of the Magistrates' court Act 1980 provides that:
"the court shall not proceed in the absence of the accused if it considers that there is an acceptable reason for his failure to appear."
Notwithstanding the provision in sub-section 2A, it appears deputy district judge Andrew Pascoe was not briefed as he commented that I had a chance to put my side of the story at the trial but did no turn up. This suggests that mitigating evidence documents I had sent to the court had not been considered in my conviction.
I had already made it known at the initial hearing that I suspected the arresting officer had incited one of the witnesses to make a false statement... On reading both members of the public's written statements afterwards which were handed to me minutes before the first hearing, I can categorically state that they had both lied regarding their claim... The complaint made to the police about PC Thomas Blake who I suspected of inciting perjury, and an account stating that the two members of the public had both made untrue witness statements, was also sent to the court on 11 Dec 2015.
It therefore seems contrary to the interests of justice that I had submitted extensive written evidence to the court, and prohibited from cross-examining the witnesses that at the hearing for sentencing, deputy district judge Andrew Pascoe said that I had a chance to put my side of the story.
INSUFFICIENT INFORMATION ABOUT PROCEEDINGS
I had assumed the matter would be in the hands of the duty solicitor who had been appointed on being falsely imprisoned in a cell at Humberside police station (27.8.15), as I had not been informed otherwise. However, after updating him (Mr Havery) well in advance of the pre-trial on matters there was never a reply.
It was only minutes before being called into the courtroom that I found out from the usher I was not entitled to legal representation. This was only discovered because I could reply with no certainty on being asked who my solicitor was. I stated it may have been Mr Havery from John Barkers but because he had not kept in contact was in doubt. The Crown Prosecution Service's case file was handed to me at this point giving me no opportunity to read any of it before going into court.
Having no entitlement to legal representation presumably meant the solicitor was under no obligation to acknowledge my correspondence and therefore the reason why he hadn't. However, in anticipation of being unrepresented, despite having no background of criminal proceedings, a statement was produced and sent to the court on the morning of the hearing.
At the pre-trial hearing, a direction was made prohibiting me cross-examining the witnesses in person and arrangement made for a solicitor to do so. Shortly before the trial (and by chance) I learned that a solicitor had been arranged but no details given as to who. However, it was confirmed after the final hearing (sentencing) that Mr Havery, the solicitor who failed to acknowledge my correspondence, on the lead up to the first hearing, had been appointed. It was also confirmed after more prompting that District judge Curtis allowed Mr Havery to withdraw from the case and had done so because I had not attended.
It therefore seems contrary to the interests of justice that the solicitor was allowed to withdraw from the case by the same judge who tried the case who had effectively made me surplus to proceedings by giving directions at the first hearing prohibiting me from cross-examining the witnesses. Add to this that the Crown Prosecution Service held no evidence to support the charge, but a guilty verdict found nonetheless, suggests all the more that the outcome and proceedings were contrary to the interests of justice.
Considering the above I would like confirmation on whether an appeal to the Crown court is permissible in the circumstances, i.e., I did not attend the trial, and whether there are reasonable grounds to reopen the case.
Please note, under section 8(1) of FOIA, a request for
information must comply with three requirements. It must:
(a) be in writing,
(b) state the name of the applicant and an address for correspondence, and
(c) describes the information requested.
After initial consideration, this request appears to comply with requirements (a) and (c) but it does not comply with requirement (b) because you have not provided your full name.
I am therefore not required to process your request without information that can later be referred to, as per Section 8(1)(b) FOIA. The information we require is your name.
As your request has been deemed invalid, I am not obliged to disclose the requested information at this point and I would like to take this opportunity to recommend that any future FOI submissions adhere to Section 8 of the FOIA.
To enable us to meet your request, please resubmit your application in accordance with the above requirements. We will consider your resubmitted request upon receipt as long as it meets the requirements stated above.
You will then receive the information requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Act, subject to the information not being exempt.
You can find out more about Section 8 by reading the extract from the Act available at the attached link:
Dear Data Access & Compliance Unit,
I don't have any objection to providing my name, however, the Ministry of Justice should really get with it and think about the nature of Freedom of Information requests which are applicant blind.
fFaudwAtch UK Aka N Gilliatt
Dear Data Access & Compliance Unit,
Response to this request is delayed. By law, Ministry of Justice should have responded by 10 February 2016.
Dear Data Access & Compliance Unit,
Further to my earlier email, the response is delayed. By law, the Ministry of Justice should have responded by 10 February 2016.