video, 5th may 2016download (463 mb)
this is the day when all the journalists recording my actions were arrested, handcuffed, taken back to the station, interviewed and finally released without their memory cards, which were taken for “evidence”. (earlier post about this day here)
the sergeant bowen was the one behind all this — he’d encountered me the previous time i went out (a couple of weeks before), and obviously thought the whole situation of an open law-breaking protester (who doesn’t give a shit about being arrested and charged) being covered by independent/non-corporate journalists should be against the law, even though it isn’t.
originally i didn’t think the police would even bother laying charges against the journalists, but they did end up charging them with the same charges they eventually laid against me — posting bills, wilful damage, and criminal damage.
the charges against the journalists were all dropped after many months of expensive legal bullshit (the journalists were of course going to fight the ridiculous charges), but there is nothing to stop police from doing this every time (arresting, charging and confiscating equipment of any journalist not employed by the corporate press).
the memory cards of the journalists haven’t been returned yet, because the police say they can’t return the memory cards until after the hearing — i only got the raw video and audio files given to me recently on usb because the police have to provide me with a copy of the evidence they were bringing against me.
these charges are being heard on the 11th of april along with two other days worth of charges, including the day i painted over the big video ad screen at southern cross station — attendance is welcome, but i can never really encourage anyone to come to court because it is usually awful at the same time as being intensely boring and soul-destroying.
the criminal damage charges from this day have been dropped, as have the criminal damage charges from painting over the big video ad screen at southern cross station — whenever i am charged with the indictable (very naughty) offence of criminal damage, i always “refuse jurisdiction” in the magistrates court and ask for the charge to go to trial in the county court in front of a jury of my peers (as is my right when charged with a very naughty offence). the office of public prosecution takes over from the police prosecution at this point, and so far they have always dropped the indictable offences instead of going to the expense of a trial over such a petty incident (basically, someone toilet-papering an ad). the summary (not so naughty) offences of wilful damage and posting bills are then returned to the magistrates court (which until 1970 was called the court of petty sessions, which i think is a much better name, but presumably the magistrates didn’t like have their sessions described as petty).
i tell the police i’m going to refuse jurisdiction if they charge me with criminal damage, yet they still love over-charging me with it, then the magistrates make out as if i’m the one wasting court time.
i’d love to go to trial, so i’ve got nothing to lose, either the police are forced to drop the criminal damage charge, or i get my trial by jury — it’d be nice to talk to regular people who are much more likely to listen and consider the real issues at play here, instead of continuing to deal with the disturbingly-inhumane, strictly-legal framework of the professional law people.
this kind of malicious and baseless prosecution of any non-corporate-journalist covering my actions makes me hesitate to have anyone cover my actions, even if they’re willing to face the police bullshit — i don’t think the police would dare arrest and charge any person/citizen journalist who just happens to be there and takes photos and video on their phone, so i think i will just ask people who are there and take footage or photographs to submit it to me (perhaps through some fancy media dumping mechanism, if the technically minded friend who builds and maintains my website can organise that).
as the traditional media declines, citizen journalism will be how most shit is covered, it should only take the police and the legal system a few decades to catch up.