the hearing on monday the 28th of november (of 6 seperate charge sheets) started without me — a warrant was issued for my arrest because i was “late”.
i was down the mornington pennisula over the weekend to celebrate my mum’s sixtieth — so rather than getting my whole family up early and rushing off to suffer peak-hour traffic, ridiculous queues at the magistrates’ court, and hours of pointless waiting inside the horribly depressing magistrates’ court building (because self-representing defendants are always heard last, allowing all the important people to go first), i thought i’d enjoy breakfast with my extended family, leave at a reasonable hour and everything would be peachy.
i was surprised to find, when i arrived at court at 11am, that my case had been called and a warrant for my arrest had been issued at about 10:45am — here is the exciting audio of the warrants being issued:
once i’d announced my tardy presence and my case was recalled in the courtroom, i told the magistrate about my flawless record of attending court (which i still consider to be unblemished) and tried to explain that the fact i never get on before lunchtime was a factor in my casual approach to punctuality, but she didn’t consider that human experience at all relevant (i had signed a piece of paper with a number (9:30) on it and that is the only relevant consideration).
reason prevailed about the warrants, they were all cancelled as it made no sense having the police arrest me to bring me to court when i was already in court.
only the guy in the court foyer coffee shop shed any light on why the courts were suddenly so desperate to get my case started — during lunch break i asked him how business was and he said it was normal, but that normal was much quieter since the case load at the melbourne magistrates’ court has been dropped significantly.
the courts did seem quieter, and it also appeared that the magistrate hearing my case had only my case to hear that day, and my case was only booked in for an hour — i wonder where all the cases could go? is the notorious back-log of cases in the court system somehow no longer an issue?
anyway, i had deliberately not thought about court at all in the lead up, and didn’t bring any of the enormous quantity of paper i had been supplied with by victoria police over the preceding months for the various cases (i quite enjoyed walking in empty-handed, they soon made sure they gave me some fucking papers though) — basically, i’ve had enough of the police and legal system paper rubbish and i just wanted to talk about what had occurred (which nobody disputed) like regular sane people (instead of weird, paper-fed, fax-machine-like robo-people).
this expectation of sudden bursts of humanity in the courtroom was of course only going to double my frustration and disillusionment, but as i said, i wasn’t thinking about any of this…
here is the audio of all the warrants being cancelled, and all the cases being brought back into the system and before the court:
the case was adjourned for hearing after lunchtime, but already it was clear the magistrate had no intention of allowing me to submit my criminal record as evidence — she actually can’t do that (lawyers representing me have submitted my criminal record as evidence in the past, and while it’s unconventional, it’s totally up to the accused), but she said it was her courtroom (i think it belongs to the state actually), and she’d decide what evidence i was able to give, which turned out to be none.
here is the hearing:
i became very frustrated that the magistrate kept saying she didn’t want me to talk about my previous convictions or the fact that this was part of a long-term, ongoing protest — basically she wanted me to deliberately withhold the truth from her, in a courtroom where you are always made to “swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”.
i was frustrated that she kept cutting me off whenever i tried to contextualise my actions (telling me “you’ll have a chance to explain”) but that she then went on to find me guilty of the offences as soon as the summaries were read out, without allowing me to give evidence or explain myself from the “bar table” (it’s just a regular table).
i couldn’t contain my frustration, and made it clear to her that i thought it was ridiculous she was finding me guilty before hearing anything from me — and also that it was dodgy that she was finding me guilty of both wilful damage and posting bills for the same act (which i am told is a legal no-no), but i guess that’s what happens when you don’t have the right piece of case law paper that would tell the otherwise-honourable magistrate not to deliberately fuck you over (better have that piece of case law printed onto paper next time).
she insisted it was a “fair hearing” — because i was not running any recognised legal defence and basically appealing to the magistrates’ common decency to hear me before finding me guilty (and potentially throw out the charges), she decided it was fair that she wouldn’t allow me to speak until after the finding of guilt (so she could say it was too late for her to consider her power to throw out the charges, because she’d already found me guilty, as at least one magistrate has said to me in the past).
to be fair to magistrate bazzani (who claimed i wasn’t listening to her), a lot of the time i wasn’t listening to her at all (you can tell from the recording that i hadn’t comprehended what she was saying much of the time) — i was too busy being intensely depressed by her conduct and spiralling into thoughts about how i didn’t think it would be possible for me to tolerate this kind of dehumanising treatment for my whole life without actually being driven insane.
maybe it is also some sort of response-to-abuse thing — getting ignored and jailed by this mob of honourable patronisers for years and years certainly hasn’t made me feel like i should be particularly vigilant in listening to their bollocks.
they (the judiciary) have always ignored everything i say, whether i bother to frame it within a legal argument or not, they just skip over it, don’t comment or respond, just return to their narrow viewpoint that totally and necessarily disregards mine — it is so disrespectful and disheartening, it hurts me — why should i suffer the further injury of swallowing my feelings and returning a respect i never recieve? so they can feel more comfortable while they step on my face?
that most of the things magistrates say are incredibly dull and robotic could also be a factor — it’s like trying to listen to a recorded message on an automated phone system when you call your bank or telco… it just doesn’t go in, it’s not human, it’s so intensely boring it almost forces your mind to drift.
i just find it so awfully depressing that undoubtedly intelligent people, with notions of justice and democracy kicking around somewhere in their skull caves, can just follow ‘the process’, do what the system ‘compels’ them to do (not listen to people, patronise them, and defend by physical force the logically indefensible), and still insist that it is a ‘fair hearing’, still feel that they are good upstanding officers of justice and democracy — it is just beyond me, and makes me seriously despair for humanity.
i think what ended up happening is that magistrate bazzani saw she was faced with two options — she was either going to let me have my say after her summary findings of guilt, and would have to sit and listen to me berate the entire legal system and the magistrates who carry out it’s repressive, anti-democratic and unjust functions while claiming to have no moral agency whatsoever — or she was going to have to sentence me without allowing me to speak at all (probably with me interjecting and saying all the things i would say in option 1 anyway) — and neither of these options would allow her to carry on unchallenged in the fiction that this system is fair and she is a person of unquestionable moral fibre…
so she disqualified herself from hearing the case — the findings of guilt she had already made were forgotten about, set aside, reversed (something magistrates’ say they can’t do whenever it suits them), and a date in march (march the 1st 2017) was set for me to have all the charges heard again in front of a different magistrate.
magistrate bazzani said it was my outrageous courtroom behaviour that forced her to abandon the hearing (why didn’t she do me for contempt of court then?) — sliding in at the end with a final patronising insult: “it’s clear mr. magee doesn’t understand what’s going on” (which was considered as an excellent piece of comedy by myself and the gallery of supporters — thanks for coming guys ;) ).
i asked the magistrate what her name was at the end — they don’t have name plates on their royal high-chairs, and i can never catch the magistrates’ name at the start of the proceedings: this “beep beep” happens that signals that the magistrate is exiting their magic cupboard (i guess it’s like narnia in there), and everyone ruffles around trying to stand up looking respectful while the clerk mumbles some courtroom nonsense that includes the magistrates’ name in there somewhere…
anyway, i asked her what her name was, and she refused to tell me, said i could ask at the desk — real mature, she sure showed me.
so after she’d walked back into her magic cupboard, and i was picking up papers with my next court dates printed on them, i asked the clerk what her name was, but he didn’t say either, so i said “but you must know?”, and he said she had told me to ask the registrar, and he just did what she said, hahaha — technically she said i could ask at the desk, she didn’t say which one, and this clerk was sitting right at a desk.
afterwards i googled magistrate luisa bazzani (i eventually found out her name when i ordered the recording of the hearing) and found she has gone off before about people not being respectful enough — the “tinny terrorists” had supporters in court that didn’t stand when she walked in (because as devout muslims they only stand for allah, not for magistrates) and when lawyer robert stary explained, adding that supreme court justice bongiorno had accepted this only-stand-for-allah explanation, ms bazzani did not accept this (did not follow the precendent of a judge who like totally outranks her).
i guess considering everything the day worked out pretty well — a “no result” is better than another loss and possible jailing, so it must have been one of my better performances ;)
i guess i’ll have to always run the necessity defence from now on, if i want to get to speak before i’m found guilty.
that was a strange experiment i didn’t really think too much about, haha.