St Paul's protest: Occupy London taken to High Court

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The dice was loaded against

The dice was loaded against you, Occupy London. The time it took to make the decision was just a Judicial pretence, to make us believe that we are governed by the rule of laws. We now find out that we are governed by the law of the Jungle. The Judges are quite low down on the food chain of this new Jungle. The king of this new Jungle is Mafia, the 1%. We the 99% are easy meat in this Jungle.

There is an article, written

There is an article, written by Dan Ashman, Litigant-in-Person in the case of City of London Corporation v Occupy London, published on Occupy London's website today. It is a moving article, a first hand reporting. He is just an ordinary person like you and I. Yet, he has taken on this extraordinary role as one of the Respondent, risking massive legal costs and/or imprisonment that are measures at our corrupted Judiciary’s disposal to use against the protestors. He has carried the Cross for all of us. So are the other 2 Co-Defendants.

His article is quoted below

Part One

I felt compelled to stand as a litigant-in-person; it was not an intellectual decision. At first I felt no fear. Later, even the possibility of having debts of tens of thousands of pounds wasn’t enough to deter me. I saw the court case as an opportunity to communicate and to find out whether the justice system is just. It did not matter that I’d never stepped inside a court room in my life. I received a lot of earache from those who feared for my future security and many people offered their support, for which I am grateful beyond words.

Building and presenting my case was a true communal effort that forged new relationships. A healthy dose of reading and long discussions about Roman and Common Law kept me occupied while I Occupied. Research and strategy planning often went on right through the night. A relative stranger offered to assist me, I said “Why not?” and things started to fall into place. We referred to each other as ‘unlearned friends’. I arrived in court with no suit, bad breath, barely any sleep and fear in my belly. Then, out of nowhere, an upsurge of optimism rinsed away the what-have-I-done, rabbit-in-headlight state.

According to the City of London Corporation their issue with the Occupy LSX camp has nothing to do with our call for transparency with regards to their financial dealings and undemocratic institutions. It has nothing to do with the reasons for encampment, nothing to do with the just cause, nothing to do with our challenge to the value system that benefits a small number of the global population. No, all the City is concerned about – so they say – is the tents, duvets, sleeping bags and pillows. The pristine buildings filled with people wearing smart attire are not used to dealing with a public who are there to do something more than sightsee.

The Occupy camp has been an education. It has posed many questions and answered some. Why did people in privileged positions allow things to go the way they have? Job losses, tuition fees, slashed pensions, increased living costs. Surely the experts saw this coming, that’s what they get paid for. Who is profiting from the misfortunes? Where did that bail-out money go? I came to Occupy with some knowledge on these subjects and continue to gain more. The community living is a challenge, the energy can be too intense, trust is sometimes difficult to achieve. Our desires to be part of this exist for so many reasons, from international atrocities to winter deaths due to fuel poverty.

The need to be here will remain until respect is practised at every level of society. As long as some human beings continue to claim everything they can to the detriment of others we will need to keep Occupying. The tent city at St Paul’s provides space for visitors from around Britain and the world to reflect on what we are doing and consenting to. For the first time, we’ve had an opportunity to speak plainly to those who have a disproportionate amount of power; we only gained this by camping on their doorstep. It is in the public interest that we are learning about conditions worldwide and starting to identify with people around the globe. What I am really grateful for is the communal exploration of imagination and creativity. The unexpected interactions and the enlightening conversations. Living in camp through the winter months is truly a physical and psychological feat. I certainly have a new found respect for those who spend their life living on the streets of London.

I and my unlearned friend Steve Rushden attempted to tell this story with a four inch thick dossier of reports and news articles. The questioning of the witnesses was quite enjoyable. There were many highlights to these fascinating court-room encounters, one being Cambridge University law students turning up and helping us out on the last day. After everyone had finished their closing statements the judge paid his complements to all those in attendance. For me, it was an honour to work with everyone involved in the court case and to receive help from those who gave it freely. We did everything that we could. I wish to convey that George and Tammy, along with the other witnesses, did themselves proud. And that despite a verdict against us, this isn’t the end, not by a long way.

Part Two

Waiting outside the court, I looked at all the photographers clicking away at the eccentrically dressed. Familiar faces began to gather and filter through the Royal Court doors. The Occupied Justice Banner gets unfurled and stretches across the front. People offer their support and best wishes. Time ticks down till the court case. The court is packed. The reporters fill the seats at the sides. They are finally going to get their news story. The story that they have been wanting. I think how empty those seats were when we presented our evidence. The Judge reads out his summary. To my surprise no mention is made about my legal argument. In the hearing he looked me in the eye, today it takes a few hours until he does. He breaks after the summary and Tammy mic checks encouraging people to stay. She shows her ability to lead with humor and a warm atmosphere descends for a moment. The next hour or so is spent in legal speak. The judge makes it clear that if anyone attempts to keep the tents we will be in contempt of court. He assures the gathering it is normal for a fine or prison sentence to ensue. John Cooper states his grounds for appeal. Denied. George does the same. Denied. It is my turn. I ask the Judge why my legal argument was not stated in the summary. He affirms he has given his ruling. It comes to light I should of received an email two days previous so I can present a legal ground for appeal. I cant, there was no email. I ask for ten minutes to read it so I can understand. Denied. The solicitors and the Judge work out the time span to launch an appeal in the appeals court. Seven working days is given in light of the fact me or George have not received the email of the judgement. The case ends. I shake the hands of the claimants team and say “I’ll probably see you again soon.”

Outside the court the banner is lifted high in font of the entrance. The media cluster blocks the gateway as John Cooper says his piece affirming, as he did in court, we will appeal. Another mic check. The initial statement is echoed in chorus. We clearly and passionately answer the question of our purpose. The banner is taken down revealing a row of about twelve police. The movement marches down the street among the slow travelling traffic on the road. Two interviews and a few offers of assistance for legal advice later the space outside the court is now vacated.

Indignation is inadequate to describe the feeling I’m left with. Though the support and spirit shown by the contributors of this movement reminds me that this is not the end. If our desire is true, if people genuinely wish to see justice done, then the time will soon come when we don’t ask permission to seek it.

An Occupier’s Perspective: From Dan Ashman, Litigant-in-Person

http://occupylsx.org/?p=3205

There is an article, written by Dan Ashman, Litigant-in-Person in the case of City of London Corporation v Occupy London, published on Occupy London's website today. It is a moving article, a first hand reporting. He is just an ordinary person like you and I. Yet, he has taken on this extraordinary role as one of the Respondent, risking massive legal costs and/or imprisonment that are measures at our corrupted Judiciary’s disposal to use against the protestors. He has carried the Cross for all of us. So are the other 2 Co-Defendants.

His article is quoted below

Submitted by Dan Ashman, Litigant-in-Person in the case of City of London Corporation v Occupy London.

Part One

I felt compelled to stand as a litigant-in-person; it was not an intellectual decision. At first I felt no fear. Later, even the possibility of having debts of tens of thousands of pounds wasn’t enough to deter me. I saw the court case as an opportunity to communicate and to find out whether the justice system is just. It did not matter that I’d never stepped inside a court room in my life. I received a lot of earache from those who feared for my future security and many people offered their support, for which I am grateful beyond words.

Building and presenting my case was a true communal effort that forged new relationships. A healthy dose of reading and long discussions about Roman and Common Law kept me occupied while I Occupied. Research and strategy planning often went on right through the night. A relative stranger offered to assist me, I said “Why not?” and things started to fall into place. We referred to each other as ‘unlearned friends’. I arrived in court with no suit, bad breath, barely any sleep and fear in my belly. Then, out of nowhere, an upsurge of optimism rinsed away the what-have-I-done, rabbit-in-headlight state.

According to the City of London Corporation their issue with the Occupy LSX camp has nothing to do with our call for transparency with regards to their financial dealings and undemocratic institutions. It has nothing to do with the reasons for encampment, nothing to do with the just cause, nothing to do with our challenge to the value system that benefits a small number of the global population. No, all the City is concerned about – so they say – is the tents, duvets, sleeping bags and pillows. The pristine buildings filled with people wearing smart attire are not used to dealing with a public who are there to do something more than sightsee.

The Occupy camp has been an education. It has posed many questions and answered some. Why did people in privileged positions allow things to go the way they have? Job losses, tuition fees, slashed pensions, increased living costs. Surely the experts saw this coming, that’s what they get paid for. Who is profiting from the misfortunes? Where did that bail-out money go? I came to Occupy with some knowledge on these subjects and continue to gain more. The community living is a challenge, the energy can be too intense, trust is sometimes difficult to achieve. Our desires to be part of this exist for so many reasons, from international atrocities to winter deaths due to fuel poverty.

The need to be here will remain until respect is practised at every level of society. As long as some human beings continue to claim everything they can to the detriment of others we will need to keep Occupying. The tent city at St Paul’s provides space for visitors from around Britain and the world to reflect on what we are doing and consenting to. For the first time, we’ve had an opportunity to speak plainly to those who have a disproportionate amount of power; we only gained this by camping on their doorstep. It is in the public interest that we are learning about conditions worldwide and starting to identify with people around the globe. What I am really grateful for is the communal exploration of imagination and creativity. The unexpected interactions and the enlightening conversations. Living in camp through the winter months is truly a physical and psychological feat. I certainly have a new found respect for those who spend their life living on the streets of London.

I and my unlearned friend Steve Rushden attempted to tell this story with a four inch thick dossier of reports and news articles. The questioning of the witnesses was quite enjoyable. There were many highlights to these fascinating court-room encounters, one being Cambridge University law students turning up and helping us out on the last day. After everyone had finished their closing statements the judge paid his complements to all those in attendance. For me, it was an honour to work with everyone involved in the court case and to receive help from those who gave it freely. We did everything that we could. I wish to convey that George and Tammy, along with the other witnesses, did themselves proud. And that despite a verdict against us, this isn’t the end, not by a long way.

Part Two

Waiting outside the court, I looked at all the photographers clicking away at the eccentrically dressed. Familiar faces began to gather and filter through the Royal Court doors. The Occupied Justice Banner gets unfurled and stretches across the front. People offer their support and best wishes. Time ticks down till the court case. The court is packed. The reporters fill the seats at the sides. They are finally going to get their news story. The story that they have been wanting. I think how empty those seats were when we presented our evidence. The Judge reads out his summary. To my surprise no mention is made about my legal argument. In the hearing he looked me in the eye, today it takes a few hours until he does. He breaks after the summary and Tammy mic checks encouraging people to stay. She shows her ability to lead with humor and a warm atmosphere descends for a moment. The next hour or so is spent in legal speak. The judge makes it clear that if anyone attempts to keep the tents we will be in contempt of court. He assures the gathering it is normal for a fine or prison sentence to ensue. John Cooper states his grounds for appeal. Denied. George does the same. Denied. It is my turn. I ask the Judge why my legal argument was not stated in the summary. He affirms he has given his ruling. It comes to light I should of received an email two days previous so I can present a legal ground for appeal. I cant, there was no email. I ask for ten minutes to read it so I can understand. Denied. The solicitors and the Judge work out the time span to launch an appeal in the appeals court. Seven working days is given in light of the fact me or George have not received the email of the judgement. The case ends. I shake the hands of the claimants team and say “I’ll probably see you again soon.”

Outside the court the banner is lifted high in font of the entrance. The media cluster blocks the gateway as John Cooper says his piece affirming, as he did in court, we will appeal. Another mic check. The initial statement is echoed in chorus. We clearly and passionately answer the question of our purpose. The banner is taken down revealing a row of about twelve police. The movement marches down the street among the slow travelling traffic on the road. Two interviews and a few offers of assistance for legal advice later the space outside the court is now vacated.

Indignation is inadequate to describe the feeling I’m left with. Though the support and spirit shown by the contributors of this movement reminds me that this is not the end. If our desire is true, if people genuinely wish to see justice done, then the time will soon come when we don’t ask permission to seek it.

Right to protest in public space sold off by the City of London

The bit of land in front of St Paul's is probably the only bit of public space that has not been sold off by the City of London. It has been selling off the public spaces in the City to the private companies for the last 20 years and it also secretly has the ancient public's right of way removed all over the City. Once the public squares become private property, the democratic right to protest in open spaces is removed with the sale.

Anna Minton's blog in the Guardian today is quoted below

"The high court has ruled that the defence of the public highway is grounds for evicting Occupy London protesters from St Paul's. This could not be more ironic, given that the removal of public space in the City is at the nub of the row between the protesters and the Corporation of London.

Over the last 20 years, since the corporation quietly began privatising the City, hundreds of public highways, public pathways and rights of way in place for centuries have been closed. The reason why this is so important is that the removal of public rights of way also signals the removal of the right to political protest.

The protesters never intended to camp outside St Paul's. But as the land around the church remains just about the only public land in the City, they had nowhere else to go. The rest of the Square Mile has witnessed the gradual erosion of the public realm as the corporation gave the go-ahead to the patchwork of private estates which have taken over since the 1980s.

Hand in hand with the spread of new private estates has been the closure of public highways and public rights of way under an obscure piece of planning law, known as "stopping up orders". This little-known process, mired in the jargon of highways and transport legislation, allows local authorities to close roads permanently to allow new developments to be built. It has taken place in towns and cities across the country, where large private estates such as Liverpool One, Cabot Circus in Bristol and Westfield Stratford City have privatised streets and public places, banning a host of activities including taking photographs, filming and political protest. In Liverpool, Grosvenor now owns and controls 34 streets in the heart of the city and London's Paternoster Square, just behind St Paul's Cathedral, is a typical example. Home to the London Stock Exchange it was Occupy London's initial target. But because the square is private land the owners were able to issue a court injunction that banned the protesters, who went on to base the protest on the public land around St Paul's, which is owned by the Church of England and the Corporation of London.

As the dispute around St Paul's intensified, Paternoster Square revealed just how much power the owners of private estates are able to exercise over the public. Security guards manned the archway in front of the square blocking access while a makeshift sign pinned to a board outlined the legal situation. The sign read: "Paternoster Square is private land. Any licence to the public to enter or cross this land is revoked forthwith. There is no implied or express permission to enter the premises or any part. Any such entry will constitute a trespass. Access will only be granted to tenants of the adjoining buildings and their authorised visitors on proof of identity."

For months the windswept square has been virtually deserted and outlets such as the Quality Chop House and Pret a Manger have never been quieter. Clearly the response by owners Mistubishi Estates has been designed to prevent protesters getting in – but in the process they have also kept out the public.

The irony of what has been going on in Paternoster Square verges on the Orwellian. Since the beginning of the dispute the businesses in the square have complained that they have lost business, implying that the protesters have driven custom away. In reality, it is the owners who have banned the public from entering.

The design of this development was very controversial when it got the go-ahead, owing to the sensitivities of the site with its proximity to historic St Paul's. What no one debated at the time were the implications of closing ancient public highways and curtailing public access and democratic protest.

This is the context for the corporation's case, which is seeking to evict the protesters because they are obstructing public highways. The corporation claims that it has no objection to peaceful protest but that it is opposed to camping. The truth is that it has presided over the removal of the right to any protest, not only in Paternoster Square but throughout the City of London."

City of London Police,

Steve Rushton is an Activist of London Occupy, He raised important questions today on the website of Occupy London. Parts of his article are quoted below

“The City of London Police is paid for and works for two bosses; in their figures from their website they state that in 2010-11, they received £26,616,000 directly from the government, £6,135,000 from other grants contributions and reimbursements and £1,711,000 from customers and client receipts. A great deal of the City of London Police’s non-Governmental sources of revenue is from big-business and financial institutions.”

“ The allegiances of the City of London Police and City of London Corporation can be drawn into sharp question, not least by their decisions concerning the policing arrangements for OccupyLSX. In a press statement, on the 2nd of November, They stated, “The City of London Police has now taken sole responsibility for the protest in St Paul’s Churchyard.”
This timing, a day before the City of London Corporation served eviction orders that called for an eviction the subsequent day, on the 3rd of November, appears to blurs the line between the police and the authority that was proceeding with legal action.
It also alludes to the potential ties with the Corporations and multinational banks, even suggesting they are working under the control of big-business. This legal action was initiated by The City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee, whose members include:

• Roger Gifford, Chairman of the Association of Foreign Banks, which represents all foreign banks based in London.
• John White, an international banker who previously held a senior position at Lehman Brothers and recently retired as a senior executive at one of the US’s largest banking groups, the Toronto-Dominion Bank Financial Group.
• Tom Hoffman, a veteran international and investment banker;
• Oliver Lodge, a longstanding City professional with experience in investment management and regulation of the investment industry;
• James Pollard of asset manager Invesco Perpetual;
• Paul Judge, a former director general of the Conservative party, who now chairs Schroder Income Growth Fund.
• John Spanner, a former City professional who was head of group procurement at Standard Chartered Bank’ Robert Howard, who has worked in the City since 1993 at Charles Stanley & Co, one of Britain’s largest independent private client stockbroking and investment management firms
• Alan Yarrow, chair of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment and also of the wealth management group Kleinwort Benson.
• Ian Seaton, who worked in financial public relations before becoming master of one of the City of London’s ancient trade associations,
• Sophie Fernandes, an account director at Bellenden, which counts Canary Wharf Group among its clients.”

If Steve Ashton's information is accurate, it seems that us the tax payers have not just bailed out the Banks, we are also handing over another £ 27 millions a year of our money to provide these Bankers with a private Police Force at their direct disposal.

This City of London Police will be at these Bankers direct disposal to suppress any protest against the Greedy Thieving Bankers with the friendly assistance from the willing Judiciary.

These Greedy Thieving Bankers are using the monies they have stolen from us to employ expensive fancy lawyers to call in their Judicial favors while their private police paid for by our tax await order from above.

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