I was out of the Tavern all day today and in Court. Not my own Regal Court but the civil court in Hillary's Village down the mountain in Hobart.
My friends Graham Preston from Queensland and two 'local' folk, Penny and Ray Stannard from down south in hobbit country, were up again on charges of wanting babies to be born instead of being summarily killed in our local abortuary.
Some nasty woman had complained to the cops after she'd gone out of her way to confront them as they stood silently on a street corner near the 'Specialist Medical Centre' in a nondescript building where the gruesome business is inflicted.
The first hearing was a while back, adjourned until now. This meant that Graham in particular has chalked up several thousand flying kilometres and their associated costs, and poor Penny has had to travel a long way from the deep south of Tasmania. She has health problems of her own. She is a very tiny lady.
The woman complainant was typical. I will resist saying anything nasty about her as she is nasty enough. She mentioned that the gentlemanly and quiet Graham had spoken to her 'condescendingly'. SHOCK. HORROR !!
She is being recalled on Friday as it transpired she had secretly recorded a conversation, and that is forbidden by the very Act that restricts the rest of us speaking freely in Tasmania. She did not tell the procecutor about that until the lunch break after she had left the witness box. The defence had known nothing of it.
She also took an opportunity at lunchtime to give a press conference on the street before even other witnesses and evidences were presented.
M'thinks she is in deep shyte, but knowing the doings of Hillary's Village Law, she is unlikely to be sanctioned. Punishment is only for the Good, not for the ones who like to play 'Let's You and Him Fight'.
After an entire day taken up with nit-picking her testimony and that of a hapless policeman, the case will continue on Friday.
The cop really did not want to arrest them. He had suggested they 'move along there' and further suggested several other spots to stand silently. Unfortunately, under examination and consulting several street maps, it turned out that the suggested spots were not in accordance with the Act. His arrest of the three may be deemed ilicit as they had refused to move to places that the Act included in the 'Zone'.
Even if the three are found 'not guilty' or the case is dismissed (as was a previous case against Graham, which cost him more than a thousand bucks in air fares) the Process itself is a Punishment.
The Press and TV News people waited patiently inside and outside the court.
They will have to wait until Friday for the rest of the 'examination' and a vedict from Magistrate Cath Rhienberger.
I shall have to be patient too. I just hope the newshounds do not pursue us all down the street as they did Ray and Penny today as we went for lunch.
I shall report more after Friday.
Meanwhile, back to serving Grace in the Tavern.
So Friday came and I was once again in Court with the three gentle folk.
The morning started with the 'recording' that was admitted into evidence, allowed by the defence. The 'lady' complainant, under oath, had accused Graham of using the word 'Murderers' when she had accosted him. The court listened and the word was not used.
She had lied to the Court.
It was confirmed that she had repeated the lie to the news people during the mid-day news conference she had given. What's the betting they do not report that !
The lady, by the way, is a heavy-set, brooding sort with hair dyed bright red. She looks not unlike Chanty Binx, the infamous 'Big Red', familiar to many in Canada. Perhaps a 'Sista', but without the glasses.
Mz X, as I shall call her, testified that a photograph of an 8 week old babe in the womb - the prosecutor called it 'Particularly Graphic', which I suppose is a redundancy as pictures are always graphic and this 'particular was simply photo - made her 'feel' 'intimidated'.
Some people are easily intimidated it seems. Poor little flower.
Babies in the womb seeing metal instruments coming to tear them to bits are intimidated. Big Red-headed women are not. They are simply narcissistic liars.
Penny was put through the wringer during the morning, giving sound testimony and demonstrating a strong religious conviction. Ray too. He finished off the morning with many firm points in his defence. Penny looked tiny in the witness box and was hard pressed by a prosecutor who was searching for any 'weakness' and adding to her distress by the minute. She held up.
Graham was in the witness box being grilled all afternoon. He too was harassed by the prosecutor who gave every impression of scraping the barrel, introducing point after point that had no bearing on either Graham or this case. Even the Magistrate seemed to get tired from the needed 'Objection' calls. Graham took every opportunity to press ethical and democratic points, supporting and defending freedom of speech.
Was it over? What is the verdict?
WE DON'T KNOW.
Time ran out for the Prosecution and Defence final speeches and yet another date - Next February - has been set.
Big Red's 'sista' must be gleeful that her game of 'Let's You and Him, Fight' will go on and on some more while she nurses her pain from seeing a picture of a human being.
Graham, himself came by the Tavern and told of his ordeal of the past week.....
Dear Friends,It has been another interesting time! After coming way too close to missing my flight on Monday I was out early on the Tuesday morning beside one of Hobart's busiest streets - not far in fact from the edge of the exclusion zone around the abortion "clinic". For the first two hours there were no great problems, just some verbal abuse.Suddenly though a man appeared beside me - I recalled having seen him just a few minutes earlier when he had driven past and abused me - and while he yelled at me he grabbed the baby picture and threw it into the street. He then shoved me which caused me to drop the other sign. When I stood up after picking up the sign he then struck me hard in the throat which caused me to stagger backwards causing me to almost fall over. I turned and walked away and he, while continuing to yell, walked off.I was shaken and not sure what I should do but just picked up the signs and resumed my position. Then, about five minutes later the man appeared again and there was an almost identical rerun of the first incident, with of most concern him striking me hard in the throat again. (To my amazement, apart from a few hours of discomfort I have not had any ongoing problems from the blows.) This time he picked up the signs - the baby photo and "Should human rights apply to all human beings?" - and folded them up and stuck them under his arm as he walked off. I was more shaken up but followed him a little at a distance but was not keen to get too close in case he decided to attack me again. I saw him get into his ute and drive off but I was not close enough to read the license plate. No one offered any assistance.So I had no signs and since he had attacked me twice and quite violently I thought I should report the events to the police. A rather pregnant and I think sympathetic policewoman took down my statement. It was a bit odd having to tell her that I was in Hobart to be in court the next day myself but when I explained it she said she knew about the case. The only real chance of catching the assailant is if the camera at the intersection should show his registration number when he drove through before the attack but so far I have heard nothing further. That afternoon Simon, Christopher, Penny, Ray and I had a meeting to finalise things for the hearing.The next morning at the hearing our faithful local supporter, King Amfortas, the Tavern Keeper showed up to encourage us. As well, by a remarkable coincidence, two Queenslanders, Dave and his girlfriend Beck (originally from Launceston), were also there. I only met Dave recently - he lives across the road from the abortion "clinic" in Salisbury and a few weeks ago came over when I was there to tell me he agreed with my stand. As well, he said his girlfriend who is a mid-wife, was also horrified by abortion and they wanted to invite me to have breakfast at his place one week. So Wednesday of last week I did so and they told me they were going to fly to Tasmania that afternoon for a week or so. I told them about the court case and even though they were staying in Launceston they made an early start and drove the couple of hours to be there in support for the day!As often seems to happen in court, on the Wednesday there were delays, interruptions and adjournments and so only two prosecution witnesses gave their testimony - the arresting police officer in 2015 and a "passing woman". The "passing woman's" testimony referred back to the September 2014 charges. She said that she was not a client at the clinic but was upset by my presence on the footpath and was wanting to go into the "clinic" presumably to give them some encouragement. She said she felt intimidated by my being there, especially by the baby photo, and was very hesitant about walking past me.I don't really recall her, even though she has dyed electric orange/red hair. Despite her trepidation she decided to talk to me and claimed that I intimidated her, laughing at her mockingly and saying that those going into the "clinic" were murderers. I don't talk like that and my lawyers challenged her testimony but she was adamant. In the lunch-break afterwards however a rather extraordinary revelation was made by the woman to the prosecuting lawyer - she had actually recorded the conversation and when he listened to it, it was very little like what she had said! He was obliged to in turn give the recording to my lawyers and when this was told to the magistrate the woman was required to come back to court today, Friday, to be re-examined in view of the recording.The recording was played to the court and in it you hear her initiate the conversation by saying "Hi", there is no use of the word "murderers" by me and at the end she thanks me for the talk we had! She didn't seem to be the slightest bit intimidated so virtually all her testimony was either untrue or greatly exaggerated. Why she decided to hand over the recording is hard to understand and even at the end of the exposure she was still completely unrepentant. Very,very strange.The practice manager was supposed to appear as a witness but the prosecution hadn't been able to get in touch with her and eventually they found out that she had gone overseas without bothering to let the prosecution know! At the last minute the abortionist herself had to appear but was only in the dock for a couple of minutes to confirm some technical points.Penny and and Ray did a good job this morning giving their evidence and also when under cross-examination. I was last on this afternoon and was in the dock for nearly 1.5 hours. The prosecutor seems to have read through all of my articles on the Protect Life website and he had also listened to a talk I gave to a Family Voice Australia meeting, trying to find things to pin on me. (I hope it may have been enlightening for him to have done all that.)At one point he noted that I have written that when I was first confronted by what abortion is all about I said I was "shocked and horrified" and he then asked me why I should have felt that way. I simply said that anyone who sees pictures of aborted babies should be shocked and horrified. Amazingly he replied that, yes, he could understand that and then went on to something else!The prosecutor tried to make quite a point about the baby photo we used(of an unharmed baby in the womb) saying that it was intimidating for women going for an abortion. I rejected that there is anything intimidating about a photo of such a beautiful normal, healthy baby. It may be challenging and thought-provoking but it is surely not intimidating (earlier he had defined "intimidating" as being fear-inducing). Lots more was said and there was quite a bit of back-and-forth but in the end we were pretty happy how it all went.Unfortunately, the lawyers from neither side had the time to present their closing submissions which they expect will take all or most of another day. The soonest day that everyone had available was February 24 so we will have to wait almost three months for things to resume. Then, I have been told there will probably be another one to two months before the magistrate will give her decision! Nothing happens fast in the legal system. At least I have been told that it is not necessary for me to attend court in February, unless I want to be there, but I will have to attend the verdict. I am very thankful to Simon and Christopher for what they have done these two days in court but also for the huge amount of work they have done in preparing the constitutional arguments for the magistrate to read - three very thick binders of material!Lastly, I was a little nervous about going out on the streets with the placards yesterday, following the attacks on Tuesday. Thankfully the assailant did not make another attack and although there were some more quite unpleasant verbal attacks including a young woman who just shouted at me for about eight minutes (and some workmen over the road cheered her at the end)there were also a few good interactions. One surprising one was with a woman of about 20 wearing dark clothes, with bleached hair and a nose ring. I was expecting the worst when she walked up to me but we had quite a polite and positive discussion. She remained in disagreement with me but what surprised me was that she said that she wanted to apologise to me for flicking the finger at me when she had driven past a few minutes earlier. I hadn't even noticed but she said that even though she disagreed with me she should have respected my right to express my opinion and so she shook my hand and said sorry!So that is that for now. I feel a bit wrung out but hopefully things are moving in the right direction, even if slower than I would like.Don't forget, if you live in S E Queensland that the annual three day vigil following Christmas Day will be held as usual outside the Greenslopes abortion "clinic" at 687 Logan Road. All are welcome. (Once again, if you would like some challenging summer reading, just let me know that you would like a copy of what I believe is the most important pro-life book written, Shattering the Darkness.)Also I must correct an error that was in the last report. The correct date for next year's March for Life is Saturday 5 March. Thanks to those who spotted the error and please join us if you can.I trust we will all have a truly meaningful Christmas as we remember one especially special baby. Thank-you as always for your prayers and support especially over these last few days. I'll be back in Brisbane on Monday.Graham