We were surprised and disappointed to learn this evening that in this morning’s RCJ hearing, Sabine McNeill and Belinda McKenzie were able to avoid paying court costs for their part in the Melissa Laird case.
Here’s how Sabine described the matter:
NO COSTS TO PAY in what began as the Melissa Laird case, when we tried to prevent her from being deported – without her son – and without an oral hearing that had been scheduled…!!!
Just the barrister who’ll send us only a ‘small invoice’!
He says Melissa should get a judgment from the US to get her son returned to her by Barnet Council!
This picture is one of her spiritual encouragements she keeps sending me. This time with ‘Good Luck!’
What sighs of relief!!!
Belinda said “money well spent”.
I felt that all our efforts were WORTH IT, but it brought back all the anguish from over two years ago, when we worked under pressure of the deportation deadline!!! And it demonstrated
The journalist from Westlaw said “Congratulations”!!!
Did our mailing to the Home Secretary make a difference, I wonder?
Well, this was only a little battle in a big war and we must keep going – as Voluntary Public Interest Advocates!
Among the 130 whistleblowers in the House of Commons meeting that Whistleblowers UK organised were only a few who blow the whistle on public institutions like we do.
Onwards and upwards, TOGETHER!
To all McKenzie Friends and Angels – in name and in nature!!!… You know who you are!
THANK YOU to everybody who prayed for us and was with us in body, mind and / or in spirit!
More once we received the judgement in writing. Let’s face it: it’s a bit more ‘too muchness’ when
- we operate voluntarily, without funding;
- everybody in the Treasury Solicitors Office (TSO) [now Government’s Legal Department GLD] is on salary;
- but hires a private barrister to defend its interests against us;
- and expects us to pay for keeping them all in ‘work’…
- we may have overstepped our mark as ‘McKenzie Friends’: we are NOT permitted to ‘conduct litigation’ – which we didn’t want to anyway, as Melissa is very able and keen to represent herself;
- but she was prevented:
- first, by being deported – without reception – i.e. DUMPED in Washington airport;
- then, by being denied skype: it had to be ISDN which is so antiquated that she couldn’t find it in the US;
- we did not have express authority from Melissa at every step of our activities – if barristers and judges only knew how hard it was to get Melissa’s signature and papers together in HMP Holloway;
- in fact, that ought to be one of our next battles: the right to be able to sign papers when you’re in prison – especially when ‘prison lawyers’ let you down and you need to rely on McKenzie Friends or Angels!!!
But, live and learn:
- about procedures and ‘remedies’;
- ‘legalese’ as another kind of English that barristers and judges clearly are fluent in;
- the difference between ‘filing a document’ in someone’s name and ‘signing’ it…
To be honest, we find this ruling inexplicable on the face of it. We have no idea what arguments might have been advanced that could overrule what seemed to us to be a matter of common sense: Sabine and Belinda acted as legal representatives of Melissa Laird, on her express authority; they created wholly unnecessary blockages and delays in the case; they ordered an unarguable judicial review request; and they were ordered to pay half the assessed costs, the other half being assigned to Ms Laird by Mrs Justice Simler.
We’ll be very interested to read the final written judgement when it’s available, as at present, we’re really not sure what to make of this.
It’s a disappointment, as we say; but as one of our readers has said, there’s still the witness intimidation charge facing Sabine and Neelu to look forward to. We dare to hope that the CPS has all its ducks in a row this time.