Thursday, June 22, 2006

Betty Kidnapped by the Court!

Betty Kidnapped by the Court!
She couldn't leave.
Even though Madam Justice Brown said in the
Supreme Court the morning of June 21, that there
were no charges against Betty except the
ubiquitous Rule 56 that makes the judge the
prosecutor, jailer, judge and jury, and even when
the judge announced that all twenty-three
arrestees were freed from having signed the
promise not to go back to the Eagleridge Bluffs,
Madam Justice Brown still called on the
considerable physical might of the court guards
to keep Betty in the courtroom. Why? Well, what
if some of the other accused walked out of the
courtroom with Betty? How would that look?
Would the court come under disrepute if people
simply walked out?
Of course it would. No judge can tolerate
the loss of control in the courtroom. But Betty
contends that the disrepute of the courts is not
caused by her actions, but by the courts
themselves. And the Attorney General of BC. The
courts bend over backward to protect what they
perceive as private property gain against the
loss of public rights, of the loss of public
commons. And the courts do this by the use of a
ruling called "Strategic Legislation against
Public Participation", or Slapp Suits as they are
commonly called.
The courts give out these Slapp Suits in BC
with hardly an afterthought, which then turn into
injunctions against protests which turn into
charges of contempt of court for those more
determined citizens. And these charges of
contempt of court literally deprive citizens of
any defense, a process which can only be
described as a loss of the right to a fair trial
which is supposed to be guaranteed under the
So the confusion in the court on Wednesday
when all 23 of the Eagleridge Bluffs accused were
up for review was symptomatic, as Betty told the
judge who told Betty in reply to sit down, of the
confusion and abuse of process that reigns under
this kind of mass arrest. And at least the
judge seemed somewhat worried herself about the
process. She must have been, or Madam Justice
Brown wouldn't have been offering laurel branches
and turtle doves to the rest of the accused (who
like Betty were being held by the court without
charge from complainants) in the form of court
absolution in return for sincerely written
apologies to the court.
However, by the end of the court day the
Crown did manage to screw up the courage to
charge Betty with criminal contempt of court.
But just because the charge is called criminal
contempt doesn't mean Betty will have any legal
protections under the criminal code. The
criminal code does offer many protections to
accused citizens and one of the major protections
is that the judge has to consider the accused’s
reasons for the crime. The charge of contempt of
court, even criminal contempt of court, offers no
protections at all. because it is not covered
under the criminal code. This is, of course, why
it is so easy for logging and construction
companies, cops and judges to use injunctions.
The judge doesn't care why the accused did what
he or she did. And Betty is adamant that when
the charge of contempt of court is used as a
means of silencing protesters and depriving
citizens of their rights to a fair trial then it
offers nothing but contempt for the democratic
process. More to come.

Betty Krawczyk

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