Saturday, 9 January 2010

Why weren't they charged with Contempt of Court?

If you are in a court of law and the judge walks in everyone must stand up to show respect to the court and the court officials.

If you don't you can be charged with contempt of court.

This article in the Telegraph has me wondering, how far will the judge give leeway to the accused.

Here is a quote from the article;

The accused are seven muslim men who are accused of disrupting the homecoming parade of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment last March. As the soldiers paraded through the town, the men were allegedly heard to shout: “British soldiers go to hell” and “They are killing babies”. They were also allegedly seen to display placards with slogans such as “Butchers of Basra” and “Cowards, Killers, Extremists”, and so face charges under the Public Order Act.

These men live in this country and they should abide by the laws of this country. They were arrested for breaking the laws of this country and are now on trial.

Here is the quote from the article that makes you wonder what will happen in this trial;

When the case opened, the accused refused to stand for Miss Mellanby. Their religion, they argued, forbids them to stand for anybody except Allah, and they were therefore unable to show their respect for the court’s officers in the customary manner.

What do you think the judge did next;

Did she charge them with contempt of court, or change hundreds of years of common law.

What she did was arrange it so the accused men would enter the court after the judge.

Now i ask you, WHY?

The last paragraph of the article says;

It’s up to District Judge Mellanby to decide whether these men are guilty of “threatening abusive or insulting behaviour”, and we, of course, expect that she will do so in a fair and proper manner. But we should keep an eye on the case, to see if she brings in any other radical legal innovations, overturning centuries of common law, in the process.

This case does make me uneasy. If she gives in on them not standing when she enters the court what else will she do?

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