If you’ve ever spent any time at all in court, you’ll know that a great deal of that time is spent cooling one’s heels in the corridor outside the actual courtroom.
And so it was this morning at Southwark Crown Court, where Rupert Quaintance is standing trial on five charges of harassment.
Our reporter for the day turned up promptly at 10 a.m. for a 10:30 start, only to find a tiny cadre of the defendant’s supporters encamped outside Courtroom 7. Belinda and a hitherto unknown gentleman whom she referred to as Neil sat quietly; eventually Rupert himself turned up, and they all chatted amicably for some time. They were joined by Rupert’s legal team, who ultimately wandered off to the other end of the hall to confer with the CPS legal team.
Belinda wasted no time in assuring her companion that the relative absence of supporters for the witnesses meant that the Satanists had been tipped off by a police officer not to bother coming today, “because don’t forget, he’s in the gang”. Uh-huh. Sure, Belinda.
And still everyone sat, until about 11:50, when the case was finally called.
Again in contrast to Sabine and Neelu’s trial last year, there was no wrangling for seats: the three supporters present were offered their choice of a relatively generous 16 seats in the public gallery.
It transpired that since Judge Martin Griffiths will be unavailable to the court on Friday, the CPS and defence teams had been negotiating the best way to shorten the proceedings. As it currently stands, they anticipate hearing all witnesses tomorrow, with summing up arguments on Thursday.
The jury was admitted at 12:20 p.m. and duly sworn in. The judge reminded them of their obligation not to discuss the case outside the jury room, and in particular ordered them not to Google Rupert’s name online for the duration of the trial.
The jury was then dismissed, and court adjourned to 2:00 p.m.
At that time the judge delivered a court order designed to protect the identities of any children who might be involved in the case: in any reporting of the trial, there must be no revealing of any information which could lead, either directly or indirectly, to the identification of any child named as part of the Hampstead SRA hoax.
Consequently, we will not be publishing the identities of any of the witnesses, nor anything they might say which could compromise any child’s right to privacy.
Court adjourned for the day just before 2:30 p.m., and will resume tomorrow at 10 a.m. in Room 7, Southwark Crown Court.
We know we’ve mentioned this before, and we hate to be tedious, but we’d like to remind any newcomers that it is crucial that we or any of our commenters avoid discussion of Rupert’s guilt or innocence, as well as speculation regarding the process or outcome of the trial. Please reserve such opinions until the trial is complete, to ensure that justice is properly served, and that we do not find ourselves in contempt of court.