Busy talking to Estate Agents and Architects at the moment, not to mention Canadian Banks and my Canadian stock brokers. No news from London, Victoria or Sydney from the last few days apart from gloom-laden family talk of ‘ghost towns’. It’s like the whole of the western world is over-run by fear. An unjustified fear at that.
Well I’m not going to let it ruin my day. I have appointments to keep, business to transact and places to go. Fortunately the Gardai out here in the Wilder West of Ireland are too busy with their real jobs (Catching proper criminals etc) to chase around after ordinary people simply going about their own business.
However, I’d just got off the phone with one guy this morning and found myself wondering; “At what point do these lockdowns get challenged as false arrest / imprisonment?” Do the lockdown regulations constitute a ‘prima facie’ case? This is stuff for specialist lawyers, and might even be broken by a civil tort against the government. One hopes.
I say this because the enabling legislation has often passed through various legislatures who use common law as a basis for their legal systems, with little or no substantive debate. Is it actually legal to keep people confined to their own homes when there is no proof that they are infected with anything? Even if one part of the law says it is?
What are people’s rights if it can be proven that the law is misapplied? Although officially the burden of proof does rest with the restraining authority. Mere allegation on their part is not sufficient, and detention limits, outside of the prevention of terrorism legislation, should still apply.
Note (UK only): “If you are arrested, the police can only detain you for a maximum of 24 hours. This is extended to 36 hours for a more serious arrestable offence.” This applies everywhere. You cannot even be detained in your own home for longer than this. Read the links, check the law. Do not, under any circumstances, take my word for it.
Now, harking back to my enforcement days, I’m familiar with the process of getting a ticket thrown out. It’s very simple; if you get booked, don’t worry, this is simply the first part of a process where you can challenge anything. Keep your cool, say you are unable to comply and clearly state your reason. See lawful excuses below.
Step 1: at time of issue, don’t make a fuss. Keep calm. A fixed penalty notice isn’t the end of the world. You can even ask the issuing officer about the challenge procedure. Under UK law, if asked, they have to telly you how to challenge the fixed penalty notice they have just issued. At least that used to be the case.
If you were physically unable to comply with the issuing officer, take a breath, don’t argue and go home to write a polite letter to the issuing authority, stating why you could not comply, include the numbers on the ticket and the name or number of the issuing officer, and ask nicely for the fixed penalty notice to be ‘set aside’ on this particular occasion. All you have to do is make up a lawful excuse.
Lawful excuses include;
A physical / religious / social inability to comply. In the UK, the enquiring officer cannot ask you for proof, and you don’t have to tell him / her / it / whatever FFS!
An exemption to the stated regulation. Or stating that the issuing officer did not satisfactorily explain you why they approached you, or issued a fixed penalty notice.
Temporary incapacitation “I was tired and needed to rest” is a good one. Or an indefinable medical condition like a mild dizzy spell. Or even “I’ve just had a vaccination and think I’m having a reaction.” If they offer help, thank them but politely decline, saying you don’t want to waste anyone’s time.
Remember, you don’t have to prove anything. The onus of proof is on the issuing officer. Been there, had the ticket cancelled. If he / she / it was rushed, did a sloppy job, or got any one of half a dozen details wrong, the ticket will probably be thrown out at the first stage of challenge. Oh and keep the ticket. Don’t throw it away or wipe your arse on it. This is evidence, and contains all the numbers you will need.
Also note; if you are roughly handled by the officer in question, despite telling them the reason for your non-compliance, you may have grounds for false arrest / assault charge against those officers who mishandled you. Stay calm, take their patrol numbers and memorise them if you can. You’ll need these details for later challenges.
If unsure; phone your citizens advice bureau or similar. They will help you write a challenge letter, which is the first step in the chain. Do this immediately, no matter how upset or aggrieved you feel. Emotion doesn’t work in the legal process. Weeping in front of a judge doesn’t work. Cool headed logic does.
Now if the issuing authority doesn’t like your lawful excuse, you can appeal their decision, and they have to tell you how to do it. Or you can hire an ambulance chasing lawyer to do it for you. However, if you have time and money to burn, there’s always ‘Judicial review’ where you challenge the legislation via the courts. If you have to go to court; do get a lawyer. Rebel Media and the Lockdown Sceptics sites may also be able to help. Ezra Levant and Toby Young are two sterling gentlemen and have been busily fighting this cause (and other civil rights cases) for some time now.
Update: The local Gardai are doing checkpoints and we did run into one today. We were on business, so had a ‘lawful excuse’
Side note; out here in the wilder west they seem to be focussing on major N roads and Motorways close to cities and county towns.