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never signing bail again (application to vary bail conditions)

published

so when i was in the police cells after interview on the 18th of december last year, after initially refusing to sign police bail, i began to imagine what was going to happen — i’d be fronting a magistrate without representation, saying i refused to sign bail because i wouldn’t promise not to make my protest again, but arguing i should be released anyway.

the chances of me getting a magistrate that wouldn’t be personally affronted by my behaviour (magistrates seem to take anything other than complete submission as an act of disrespect) were very slim — most likely i would be refused bail, and i’d then be in jail over christmas, and i began to feel guilt for upsetting the family christmas.

the worlds’ burning, ecosystems and future being destroyed, millions dying of poverty, fleeing the wars of global imperialism, homes in ruin, families dead, and i’m worried about slightly upsetting a bunch of westerners who want to ignore all the problems they are complicit in? so they can have a “pleasant time” ignoring all this shit during their festival of consumerism?

obviously i made a big mistake and need to get my priorities straight.

the police had at first tried to get me to sign bail with a c.b.d. exclusion (barring me from entering the city centre until the hearing, except to attend court), but i said there was no way i’d sign that.

so then when they came back offering unconditional bail (probably because they didn’t want to go to court either) i’d kind of decided i would just sign it.

i said in my head at the time i would just use my own personal definitions of the terms in the bail agreement — i would not commit an offence before hearing, so i would not fail to protest again before hearing, as i would consider that an offence.

however the duty sergeant wasn’t on board with the unconditional bail her junior officers had offered me, she wanted the special condition “will not damage property” added — i thought that doesn’t make a difference, it is just reiterating my obligation not to “commit any offence”, and i could get around it in my head the same way, by using my own definitions: i don’t believe my postering is damage at all.

so i signed the bail agreement: kark, which will be my signature from now on, because who asks you to sign anything apart from people who are trying/willing/reserving-their-right to fuck you over anyway?

turns out the special condition on the bail agreement does make a difference — there is charges for breaking bail and/or bail conditions and the special condition changes things.

i have already “refused jurisdiction” to the charge of criminal damage i am on bail for (meaning i am exercising my right to have this very serious charge heard before a jury of my peers in the county court), and i assume that at the committal mention (which is set for 10am on the 5/5/2016) the charge of criminal damage will be dropped — so effectively the whole reason for me being on bail now disappears (you are not placed on bail for summary offences).

my information is that if i break unconditional bail by “commiting an offence” before hearing, but it turns out the charge i’m on bail for is dropped, then the breach of bail charge must be dropped too.

but if i am charged with breaking a specific condition of my bail (i.e. “will not damage property”) and then the charge i am on bail for is dropped, the charge for breaking the bail condition remains, despite the fact i was on bail for no reason.

this sort of illogical bullshit sounds just like something the legal system would do — i’m not really sure how these laws would operate in practice (it seems no one really ever is), but because i’d like to avoid any charges of “breaking my word” (even though it’s not my word, it’s just some words i signed underneath, defined in ways i would not define them), i’m going to try and have the special condition removed.

i’ve got a hearing at the melbourne magistrates’ court tomorrow, tuesday the 15th of march at 9:30am, for an application to vary bail conditions — if you want to have a bad time, you should come along, everyone is welcome to have a bad time.

funny thing is it would have been better if i had signed the bail with the c.b.d. exclusion, the argument for it’s removal would have been stronger, but as it is now i’m asking for the removal of the condition “will not damage property”, so even the court clerk was giving me lip: “what? you want to damage property do you?”.

i don’t know how the application to vary bail conditions is going to go, but i’ve got a representative, my old lawyer/friend james anderson, who’s willing to run the case, so i might as well try.

i think no matter what happens i will go out postering again soon (i’ve been holding off all of 2016 so far because of this bail shit), i’ve learned an important lesson though — I WILL NEVER SIGN BAIL AGAIN (u kno its a big deal wen i uz capz).

i can’t really see how me having breach of bail charges on my record will really make a difference to my chances at future bail, as i will bascially saying “you should let me out without signing bail so i can poster over more ads without compromising my personal integrity”.

even though i want to run my own hearings/trials (because lawyers simply cannot represent me or defend me in the way i would like), i think it makes sense that i get lawyers to handle my bail applications and any possible bail appeals — i imagine the case i will run arguing for release without signing bail or promising not to “reoffend” will set a precedent one way or another, and i know from experience that self-representing defendants are not given a fair hearing.