So tell me about court reporting

The Brighton UK Uncut peeps are in court at present. Something to do with superglueing themselves to hte windows of TopShop I think.

Our favourite retired accountant gave evidence for the defence yesterday and Caroline Lucas is doing so today.

So, onto something I don\’t know. Is it possible to find out what evidence they gave? Trials are public so if there was a reporter in there we could of course.

But I\’d be fascinated to see exactly what was asked of them and how they responded. Are such things as trial transcripts made public?


21 thoughts on “So tell me about court reporting”

  1. They seem to be in Brighton Magistrates Court.

    I don’t think Magistrates Court transcripts are published – indeed I don’t think a transcript is even made.

    You could try the court tomorrow (01273 670888) but I’d be surprised if you got anywhere.

  2. It’s the old Greenham Wimmin gambit, aimed at putting the Gov’t and prosecution on trial for forcing the illegal action. A strong-minded Bench should be able to keep the trial on line.

  3. What could the defense be? The defendants did something illegal in protest of the plaintiff’s legal activities.

    Hard to see the ambiguity here.

  4. I cherish the notion of His Murphness giving the Maj his argument winning line of:

    “I am right & you are wrong.”

    Should be good for a couple of weeks custodial for contempt.

  5. how could Murphy be used as a witness unless he were present at the scene of the protest? How could he be a character witness if he does not know the protestors? Is this another example of how British justice must not only be seen to be done, it must also, sometimes, be seen to be believed?

  6. diogenes,
    i don’t know for sure but my guess would be that the defence goes something along the lines of:

    * We genuinely and reasonably thought TopShop/Philip Green was involves in tax evasion
    * We therefore had some legitimate and proportionate basis to take action to highlight illegality
    * We therefore should be excused

    If that were the defence, an Expert Witness could be called to assess whether it was reasonable to conclude that TopShop/Philip Green *was* in fact Evading. Not that he *was* Evading, just that it was reasonable to draw that conclusion.

    The problem though is that I would have thought that a very high risk strategy for Righteous. Under cross-examination, it would be a straightforward task to Exhibit his own writing that clearly demonstrates:

    1) He is not independent on this issue and is clear he has no intention of being objective
    2) He prefers a definition of evasion that encompasses avoidance, which is not consistent with the law as it stands
    3) He had reached a conclusion prior to being presented with the Statement of Case and Witness Statements

    The resulting findings could then be professionally damaging when the Judge opines on the quality of the Expert (which they often do).

  7. The classic example of a defence of necessity is breaking a window to rescue a baby from a house that’s on fire. The principle is that the defendant believed it necessary to break the law in order to prevent imminent harm.

    Real-life examples include:

    separating conjoined twins, who will otherwise both die, despite the knowledge that one of them will almost certainly die;

    growing cannabis for personal use in order to alleviate chronic and severe pain;

    committing aggravated trespass to attempt to shut down Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station (they called expert witnesses to give evidence about climate change; the defence in the Kingsnorth case was different, one of “lawful excuse”, I don’t quite understand the difference.).

    (Note that I haven’t said which were successful defences.)

    As I say I am guessing that is pertinent to the Brighton case – so all the above may be interesting but irrelevant – otherwise I fail to see Murphy’s relevance as a witness.

    IANAL, etc.

  8. Magistrates Courts are courts of summary jurisdiction not courts of record. No transcripts of proceedings are kept; in important or difficult matters, court clerks will keep a general note of important points of law or fact in order to advise magistrates if requested so to do. Decisions of the court are formally announced and recorded in written form. Brief reasons for decisions are also kept on file. If a decision is appealed to a higher court, the appeal is heard from scratch – no information is transferred from the magistrates to the higher court other than the decision being appealed. The only record of what goes on in magistrates courts is that in local papers; but these days court reporters are few and far between.

  9. One would have thought the local press would report a story about their MP being before the Bench (albeit in the role of witness).

  10. @TomJ, all they seem to be reporting is that she appeared as a witness for the defence, not what she said (except vague stuff about the impact of so-called cuts).

  11. Well it seems the result is 50/50. Some got 6 months conditional discharge + costs, the other half not guilty. Richard Murphy’s input didn’t seem to make any difference, not Caroline Lucas’.

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