Irrespective of ethnicity and socio-economic status a trio of mothers currently share the same predicament. HRH Elizabeth II, Mrs Samsudeen and Judge Mary-Beth Sharp. All mothers of sons who have done or have allegedly done something their mother wished they hadn’t.
Mothers want their sons to be happy. Mothers want their sons to succeed. Mothers do not ever want to have to face the fact that their loved child might be a terrorist or a fuckwit. Mothers want their child remembered for good things not the infamy of stupidity or worse.
If you’ve worked in the law you know that Fate’s finger is not just fickle; she’s a bitch with no regard for anyone. When asked what aspirations a parent should have for their son I said “that he doesn’t mug old ladies.”
The three sons above bring into clear perspective the operation of that fickle finger and our law. The law that arrived here in 1840 with the representatives of the Crown and still has a number of applicable clichés or fundamental principles depending on your experience and cynicism.
“No one is above the law” – Dame Cressida Dick, Britain’s most senior police officer on LBC Radio in August 2021.
“It is not merely of some importance but it is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.” ….
“Nothing is to be done which creates even a suspicion that there has been improper interference with the course of justice.” Lord Hewart Lord Chief Justice of England in 1924.
And to that in 2021 I’d add “No one is beneath the law”
It is supremely ironic that Ahamed Aathill Mohamed Samsudeen “the Terrorist” was able to be walking around the community because this country’s courts and bureacracy adhered to the law’s letter in all his matters – the allegations of terrorism and his immigration status.
Andrew a Prince of the Realm, a Duke and allegedly his mother’s favourite child. A handsome young man – dashing in fact. Allegedly desirable and sexually athletic. The youthful nickname “Randy Andy” now hangs around his aging neck like the Mariner’s albatross as he allegedly currently attempts to avoid the persistent tentacles of the United States judicial system. R Andy’s BBC televised “not guilty plea” and self-represented exculpatory submissions went down like the proverbial cold cup with those traveling on today’s Clapham Omnibus.
And, irrespective of his title and birthright a United States Court Judge has determined that R Andy has been served on this occasion with the necessary legal documentation to be dragged into some rather nasty court proceedings. It will be interesting to see whether his lawyers’ assertions that he cannot be involved because a prior settlement agreement between third parties protects him. This probably won’t be a discussed at Madge’s Christmas drinks.
Little Willy and The Hottie are legally important because they present us with wonderful conundrums – they are not above the law and justice needs to be done and seen to be done. Just as it’s irrelevant that R Andy is a Prince so it’s irrelevant that Little Willy is the son of a District Court Judge or that The Hottie is a lawyer.
Both Little Willy and The Hottie have publicly apologised for their behaviour. They confessed by way of apology. They’ve confessed so it’s not alleged. A guilty plea via media to an as yet uncharged offence.
“Crime” seems such a heavy handed word but look at it this way. It was intentional – that’s what having “a Covid test” says. They used legal exemptions and documentation for other specific purposes to move out of the highest level of lockdown in force to contain a virulent, infectious disease. They purchased commercial airline tickets. They were intentional. And that’s important because the Covid 19 Public Health Response Act differentiates quite clearly between intentional acts and cockups.
The potential socio-economic effects of their behaviour cannot be minimised because “nothing happened” “no-one got sick”. The offence isn’t that “nothing happened” it’s what was done. Ask Guido (aka Guy Fawkes) if “nothing happened” “there was no big bang” means you walk away smiling.
We’ll avoid the hilarious “suppression order” because “people made death threats”. In all the current circumstances – understandable.
Why? We the “rabble” the ordinary little “proles” “the people on the Otumoetai Omnibus” know these are unusual times and if we’re going to get through this alive – and that’s a reality for some – we all have to follow the rules; follow the law. And that includes Little Willy and The Hottie and the others whether they’re off to Welly, Palmy, Ohakune or just picking up a carload of KFry.
It’s a fundamental tenet of our judicial system that a “man” should have the right to be judged by his peers. For R Andy that was his BBC not guilty plea. Here the Court of Social Media and the online Jury took the view that the pre-planned actions of Little Willy and The Hottie were social and economic terrorism. A reaction reminiscent of the local farming community’s 2019 assertions that Dr Mike Joy and David Larsen’s comments in the New York Times challenging New Zealand’s environmental status were “economic treason”.
Despite the opening aphorisms, we all know the law is not justice. We all know the application of the law is not equal. But, on this occasion the Ghost of Hewart knows it needs to be seen that no one, not even Little Willy and The Hottie, is above the law and justice needs to be seen to be done.
So what’s different about Little Willy and The Hottie and those individuals who’ve been charged (really charged) and those who may have been convicted, fined or sent to prison?
Should Little Willy and The Hottie get diverted. Well the proverbial fly in the ointment to that would seem to be the nature and seriousness of the matter. Little Willy and The Hottie didn’t inadvertently set fire to the haystack lighting fireworks out the back or carelessly run over next door’s cat with the horse truck. Little Willy and The Hottie embarked on a plan and a course of action with potentially serious social and economic consequences.
And if “the media” is to be believed it is alleged that Little Willy has another matter pending in one of the Courts on Auckland’s rural fringe. While not exactly of Bonnie and Clyde magnitude, suggestive of an attitude to the law.
Somewhere tethered to a table leg some Police Person is embroidering on fine linen the charges against Little Willy and The Hottie. That’s why it’s taking so long to “investigate the matter” of their admission and public guilty plea.
And if the cops are waiting until after tomorrow when our three laughing boys from Ohakune have been dealt with and there is a recent penalty precedent for intentionally breaching the Covid 19 Public Health Response Act even you lot must be able to hear Hewart screaming…
“Nothing is to be done which creates even a suspicion that there has been improper interference with the course of justice.”
Little Willy and The Hottie need to atone for their actions. A public guilty plea by way of apology, a day packing food parcels at the City Mission or dropping a wad of cash doesn’t do it.
You want us all to keep obeying the law? You want us all to keep staying home, losing our businesses and our livelihoods, wearing our masks, paying our taxes and driving on the left? Then we have to know that “no one is above the law” and “justice will be done and justice will be seen”.
The son of Judge Mary-Beth Sharp and his partner have now been formally charged.
Rosemary Balu. Rosemary Balu is the founding and current Managing Editor of ARTbop. She purchases her power from Trustpower and is a beneficiary of the Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust. Rosemary has arts and law degrees from the University of Auckland. She has been a working lawyer and has participated in a wide variety of community activities where information gathering, submission writing, community advocacy and education have been involved. Interested in all forms of the arts since childhood Rosemary is focused on further developing and expanding multi-media ARTbop as the magazine for all the creative arts in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.
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