Let me first of all wish you all that you wish yourself for the coming year.
Sorry not to have been in touch before to keep you up to date. To be honest I was pretty flat after being convicted, losing my licence, banned from driving and 100 hrs 'community service', but I should have hung on to my mantra 'Whatever's happening right now is just perfect'.
Lerwick Sheriff Court
Basically I was ambushed in the court. I was all ready with a script that I thought covered every eventuality and ready to expose all their witnesses' contradictions and the first thing the Procurator Fiscal did was to drop twelve of the sixteen charges. By the time I'd sorted out what was left and what I was actually being charged with, my strategy was out of the window. After that I was just steamrollered.
If I have the time to set things out in writing, I'm pretty good, but still too slow at thinking on my feet. Anyway, I've set the appeal in motion – the most complicated procedure you could possibly imagine. At every turn you have to make sure you are doing the correct thing, otherwise you are deemed to have abandoned the appeal – the whole process seems designed to fail. At least I do have the opportunity to put forward my case in writing, but we'll just have to see if the High Court is anything less like the wild west than the Sheriff Court!
A couple of interesting points: I have the dubious privilege of having been involved on both a civil and a 'criminal' case in the Sheriff Court. The procedure is totally different. In a civil case, you enter the court, are not required to identify yourself and the case proceeds. In a criminal matter, you must stand in the dock and you must identify yourself in a very particular way. Although they are both in the same room, they are two completely different processes.
As far as can find out, the Sheriff is only competent to summarily try common law criminal cases in the Sheriff Court. There is nothing in the Sheriff Court Rule Book about criminal matters. The legislation actually lists uttering a forged document; wilful fire-raising; robbery; and assault with intent to rob. Traffic obviously offences do not come into this category, so it seems they need a work-around.
The Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act does this by allowing the Sheriff to sit 'as a court of summary jurisdiction' – apparently the sheriff is the court in that case. Now, the case has been brought in the Sheriff Court, so in order to get you to contact with this court of summary jurisdiction, it is necessary for you to stand in the dock, so they can establish the new jurisdiction and to identify yourself as the legal fiction, since they cannot deal with a natural person.
Since I was arrested in the court I have been trying to find out the reason for the arrest, but nobody would tell me. I finally got the Clerk of the Court to say that it was because of my non-appearance. Work that one out! I was standing in the dock for all to see, so if the accused person had not appeared, I was obviously not him and they arrested the wrong person. I had not admitted to being the legal fiction STUART ALAN HILL. It seems the only way they could get me to fit into that identity was by arresting me and taking me into custody.
I'm just about learning enough as things progress. The whole thing seems to take ages, but the slow progress enables me to just about keep up. Meanwhile the other side gradually makes enough rope to hang themselves.
The hearing on the RBS case set for 2nd December, which should have been the final showdown, was put on hold when they found I had allegedly been made bankrupt in the Lerwick Sheriff Court. Apparently the Trustee in Bankruptcy has to be informed. Since I was made bankrupt by a court that had not proved its jurisdiction, I cannot regard the verdict as binding and have refused to co-operate with the trustee (KPMG). They are on a personal bar preventing them from taking matters any further, so this whole tangled web gets more interesting by the day. They have the authority under the (UK) legislation to enforce my co-operation in the court, but have not yet taken that action. They also know that I have no assets, so are not going to be anxious to pursue the matter. If they decline to join in, I presume the RBS matter will re-start – I hope they are still in existence when this all finishes!
My New Year resolution is to have free electricity by the end of the year – and it's not a wind turbine, solar power, or any of the usual stuff. Watch this space. I also want to do some work on my trimaran to convert it into a fishing boat and try out my reversible aerofoil wingsail – perhaps with a free energy engine. Looks like another busy year.
Let your friends know!