first, here are the submissions from the haters (the prosecution and the attorney-general):
(our submissions have been posted previously, in the post ‘supreme date and our submissions’)
the equal opportunity and human rights commission didn’t end up intervening, not sure why, perhaps because they thought it would be bad p.r. for them, or that they thought i was adequately represented and they could save their inadequate funding for an occassion of greater need.
the date of the appeal, again, is the 23rd of august (thursday) in the supreme court of victoria (corner of lonsdale and william) — it’s booked in for a full day hearing, which should start about 10 – 10:30, and you can read the court list on arrival to find out which court room it is in (all welcome of course).
now to briefly outline the whole appeal – that is, what our argument is (was), what the magistrate decided, what about the magistrate’s decision we are appealing and what the prosecution/attorney-general are saying about the appeal.
this summary, for failing to take in all the arguments in all their complexity, is going to be somewhat incorrect — there are summaries of the arguments within each of the submissions that would provide a much better summary of the whole thing, but if you can’t be arsed with that, here goes this:
we are saying that the right to freedom of expression (protected by the victorian charter of human rights) is being engaged by my actions and the charge of criminal damage that has been made against me (because of the $40 ‘damage’) can be excused if an act of expression that is protected by the charter is ruled to constitute a ‘lawful excuse’ for the ‘criminal damage’.
the magistrate agreed that what i did was expression, but that it could not be protected by the charter because the charter restricts the right to expression if necessary to protect national security, public order, public health or public morality — the magistrate thought that protecting expressions such as mine would threaten public order (set a ‘dangerous’ precedent i suppose).
on appeal we are arguing that my actions are not a threat to public order as public order has been defined by the courts previously.
we argue that excusing ‘criminal damage’ in this one instance will not mean that anyone can cause any level of criminal damage through any act they claim as expression and escape prosecution (as the magistrate seemed to think) — each case has to be considered and dealt with individually, and spurious expression claims can be rejected if and when they arise.
in the appeal, the prosecution and attorney-general are saying (as a different magistrate has previously said also) that my actions do not constitute expression at all because a blank, painted-out billboard conveys no message to an observer.
they also claim the provision for ‘lawful excuse’ (set out in the charge ‘criminal damage’) cannot and should not include the excuse of an expression that is protected by the charter.
end of summary.
the fact that the prosecution/attorney-general are again, annoyingly and stupidly, saying that my actions fail to express anything has made me decide to include basic contextualising messages in my next ‘expression’ (despite my partial aversion to over-simplifying complex topics).
i’ve also decided that flour and water glue and sheets of paper (papier-mache) will work as well as paint for covering up corporate advertisements and will allow me to affix a placard on top to convey a pre-written message.
another thing i have decided is that it would be better for me to ‘express myself’ in the night, just after public transport has stopped operating — this way the glue is pretty well dry by the morning (avoiding the risk of spoiling the clothing of commuters and the necessity for ‘wet paint’ signs) and i won’t create a confrontation similar to those that have caused the PSO’s from the county court (the ones that have been arresting me) considerable stress and paperwork in the past.
if i include a link to this website as part of my expression, police should have no trouble figuring out who i am, so i’ll still be found to be responsible before having to cause too much ‘damage’.