In a recent interview with Tony Gosling on “Dialect Radio”, released on 6 December, Sabine McNeill shared her thoughts on “miscarriages of justice” and those who “campaign for justice in the face of corrupt courts”, citing “Starfighters” such as Norman Scarth and Maurice Kirk as “rare individuals who refuse to be cowed and continue to campaign to keep the flame of justice alight in Britain”.
While the content of the show was basically the same old same old, some of Tony’s missteps and attempts to recover kept things interesting.
Foot in mouth v.1
Right off the bat, while introducing Sabine, Tony noted, “You’ve just flown into the UK…”, only to have Sabine interrupt, sounding slightly panicked: “No, actually, that’s not quite true!”
She went into a longish explanation of how she’d fled from justice…whoops, we mean “went into exile” in 2015, and how the police thought she might run away again, even though London has been her home since 1981, and she is actually prevented from leaving the UK now, Tony, get it? She definitely was not out of the UK to attend any meetings at the EU last month, because that would have violated her bail conditions! And far be it from Sabine to violate her bail conditions. What do you take her for, Tony?
McKenzie friends do what?
Tony moved on to safer ground, asking some soft-ball questions about what, exactly, McKenzie friends do.
Legitimate McKenzie friends might take issue with Sabine’s response:
We’ve been helping anybody and everybody who came our way, and we are a loose network, all over the country, men and women who have all been victimized one way or another, and learned through the painful experience of having been defrauded by solicitors and other public institutions—in the courts, by the secret family courts, we visit people in prison after they were criminalized after their children had been taken…
Really? We were under the obviously mistaken impression that McKenzie friends accompany Litigants in Person (LIP) to court, providing moral support, taking notes, helping with case papers, and quietly giving advice on points of law and questions which the LIP might wish to address to witnesses.
But then, perhaps we’re just behind the times. Apparently it’s all about using cases to score points with the conspiranoid community and protest against the “secret family courts” these days.
Asked whether she had experienced attempts to shut down her “Victims Unite” blog, Sabine described receiving a call from the barrister acting for a McKenzie friend who had just happened to end up in Holloway Prison for 10 days. Alert readers will remember this as the infamous Vicky Haigh case, in which Ms Haigh’s McKenzie friend Elizabeth Watson was imprisoned nine months for contempt of court, having leaked an email which wound up being published on Sabine’s blog.
Strangely, Sabine didn’t bother telling Tony about Sir Nicholas Wall’s judgment in that case, which read in part:
Another aspect which makes Ms. Watson’s contempt particularly grave is that she breached the order not only by communicating through e-mails with a large number of third parties, but also gave material to an internet provider, one Sabine McNeill who runs a website called Inquiring Minds. Ms. McNeill (who at one point acted as Ms. Watson’s McKenzie Friend in these proceedings) lives, I am told, in Germany although she has a flat in London. The mischief of the publication, as Ms. Watson now appreciates, is that the publication of allegations which I and two other judges held to be without foundation not only puts the identity of the child into the public domain and renders it accessible to anybody who cares to look for it or to read it; but equally, Ms Watson has put herself in the hands and the power of the internet provider. The omens do not altogether look good.
Rather, she said, “the McKenzie friend’s barrister asked me to take down all the posts relating to that woman. So that was the first experience when I didn’t have to close the blog down, but I had to delete all of the posts”. Oh dearie, dearie me. Clearly a case of suppression of Sabine’s God-given right to publish whatever she likes, no matter who it might harm.
Foot in mouth v.2
Not content with having nearly blown Sabine’s cover earlier in the interview, Tony tried again: “I know you were saying for example…have you been in Ireland?”
Then, quickly realising he’d done it again, he backtracked: “Because I know that…I would have thought, that if there’d been attempts to stop you leaving the UK, you can…I mean, I’ve been thinking about all these Brexit talks we’ve been having recently, that surely you can just go to Northern Ireland, and then you can just very easily cross out of the UK, into southern Ireland, and suddenly you’re in a different jurisdiction and the British courts don’t have any power over you”.
Sabine picked it up from there, going off on a long description of Norman Scarth, the Second World War veteran who gained notoriety by hiding in his house when the bailiffs came, and attacking one of them with a chainsaw, then laughing about the damage he’d inflicted.
But never mind that. According to Sabine, “The worst thing is that he becomes an enemy of the state so he has to flee to Ireland!….I don’t remember details but I remember I petitioned to get him out of prison….”
Funny how Sabine has such trouble with details. Her cases seem so interesting, we’d think certain things would stick with her. Like crazed pensioners wielding chainsaws. Kind of memorable, if you ask us.
Having scraped through the “you were recently in Ireland” gaffe, Tony said, “The whole idea of restraining orders seems to be one of the latest tactics being used by judiciary to silence people who are trying like you are to get miscarriages of justice put right. So what is a restraining order, and just give some examples of how violating one of these can get you arrested, put you in jail… Where do these restraining orders come from? Who imposes them?”
Following a discussion of the restraining orders imposed on Maurice Kirk, Sabine said,
Norm talks about the badly written restraining orders and how they can be dished out, as in my case, even though the case collapsed on the other side, they still handed down this restraining order….I see that these restraining orders have become a tool to get us behind bars in…an easier way, even though as in my case I was acquitted, as in Maurice’s case even though the restraining order hadn’t been served, and was subsequently supposedly varied, but all of this just gets ignored. I’ve been treated as a criminal suspect, and it is just so inhuman and ridiculous….
So the restraining order is one issue which is a consequence of the application of the Protection from Harassment Act, and the critical thing is that instead of the criminals being put on trial, we the whistle-blowers become the criminal suspects. And we are prevented from supposedly harassing the criminals (which) we do by exposing them online. Supposedly.
Now, I happen to be on legal aid because I have to live off charity, you know I have absolutely zero income for two and a half years, my solicitor fortunately is used to that, but whether that guarantees justice for me is another ball game altogether. And I just keep saying that I want to protest my innocence but I can’t even do that. Because since I was charged, one of my bail conditions is that I mustn’t leave the UK, secondly I mustn’t send anything to anyone! So now my solicitor has to vary the bail conditions before anything can…well, unless I give the other side, i.e. the police, the reason for arresting me.
Moving from one sticky wicket to the next, Tony said, “Another reason people like you have great difficulty just being a McKenzie friend or helping out somebody in a miscarriage of justice is the bail conditions. What sort of bail conditions get set nowadays?”
Sabine responded, “I can’t tell you, I can only tell you from the cases that I’m familiar with, and they are just so stringent and so limiting, that they are basically traps. Because without thinking, I sent an email of course, and blind-copied my solicitor, and he said, ‘Did you realise that you were breaking your bail conditions? I said, ‘Of course not!’ And a friend of mine…said that the same thing happened to him. Not thinking!”
For the first and only time in the interview, Tony actually challenged Sabine slightly: “Well hang on, that’s your fault, I mean if you’re signing up to bail conditions and you’re saying, ‘Oh I won’t communicate with x. y, and z and I won’t say x, y, and z’, and then you break those, surely somebody’s bound to find out, and come down on you”.
Predictably, Sabine turned a bit stroppy: “Well no, excuse me, I didn’t sign up to these bail conditions. I was served them, and my solicitor took the piece of paper away, and it took a while for them to scan them and send them to me, and then for me to process a very badly laid out piece of paper with six charges of one type and four charges of another, and then oodles of bail conditions, I mean it takes a bit of, it’s a bit of a shock to process that rationally and to take it in. I mean, my way of processing and therapy is my writing, Tony, I need to write to express my…I don’t have lots of people to talk to, who would understand the depths of the depravity…”
Tony placated her, then turned to the topic of the family courts, always a favourite with Sabine. “Even the people who are in charge…admit that there are serious flaws with the way it operates, and usually due to secrecy, trying to protect the identity of children for example”.
Back on familiar ground, Sabine went into Shrill Diatribe mode: “Well that’s the pretext for removing them Tony! A thousand children a month are removed! And it looks as if it’s only 150 of the 350 councils who are involved in doing that, but that’s the cover, and that’s the same thing that happens with the Court of Protection….The parents are found not to have capacity, so that they can take their children. And the elderly people don’t have capacity so they take their houses, so that solicitors can sell them behind their backs!”
“Is there anything you can tell us about your case?” Tony asked.
“Well, the fact that I’ve been gagged as a whistle-blower”, Sabine said. “I mean, why can I not say so? I’m not making any allegations that I’m forbidden to say, and I’m just saying that now I’m gagged as a whistle-blower just like all the parents who are gagged once their children have been taken who mustn’t talk about their children have been taken….I have never been so much into the name and shame game, but…there is a website called “Solicitors from Hell” where I’ve considered putting things….I can only be grateful to the internet that helps these things to come out”.
“Never been so much into the name and shame game”, Sabine? Seriously?
Honestly, you couldn’t make it up.