I spent the next months talking with many people from within the law and a few people who are not within but instead see the law very differently. They see it as full of deception and inequity.
I have bumped into so many fascinating people since doing these videos, its almost impossible to remember them all. Included amongst them was a man who spent all his waking hours gazing into the sun, another man who is a gardener. The gardener surprised and challenged me deeply. His manner was most unusual and direct challenging me to the hilt whilst gently helping me see things from a different perspective. (which lead to removing the youtube videos. I even travelled to France for an opportunity to spend more time with him and his wife talking about many issues in my life that were on my mind at the time.
So I was bombarded with opinions and ideas and I slowly started my crash course ion the law learning from within and without the system.
One of the pivotal points in this journey was when I attended the court hearing of an Irish guy I met at Inspiral lounge in Camden - If you havent been there and you can get there, please go. It is a fab place. there are very few places in London where the food is made with good ingredients and more importantly with love.
I met him there and he informed me of this bizarre case against him. I wont go into the details but he represented himself and that in itself was an education. I was watching the case with astonishment. it was one of the first few times I had witnessed a court in action adn I couldnt believe that the judge was so condescending. At one stage she shouted 'This is not a theatre' to my friend !! Well if that wasnt theatre, I dont know what is.
Anyway, I was standing outside the court and my friends witness came out, I said 'What a farce.' He said 'No. Its whatever you make it.; And that was a great reminder. To those who work in the system, its actually a way of preventing havoc. To those on the wrong end of the system its a farce. Who is right ? Neither and both I would say ?
So I learned about the system. I quizzed judges, barristers, lawyers as well as the 'freemen' people (if you havent already seen this, google 'john harris its an illusion') Two days before my case, I went to the court in which my case was being held. It was an important day for my education. The court was rather plush, with ushers being dressed up in strange clothes etc. I spent the day watching cases and speaking to as many clerks and lawyers that I could. I had been 'advised' to change my plea to 'guilty conditional on the CPS proving the facts.'
Two significant things happened that day. Firstly as I left the court, I met a lawyer. I had watched this guy in a case where a foreign mini cab driver was up for touting for business and was trying to appeal to get his licence back. He was sitting in court with his wife and 5 year old kid. Of course that made very little difference to the magistrates and prosecutor. It seems to me that these guys are necessarily programmed to lose their compassion otherwise they might be too lenient. So the prosecutor was explaining eloquently why the defendant should not regain his license and it was just a big show. It was obvious that he didn't actually believe what he was saying. He was just ACTING on behalf of his clients - the licensing agency. So this lawyer I caught was actually the defence lawyer in the case. I asked him about magistrates courts and he replied 'terrible places - 97% conviction rate!' - I was devastated. He told me he was the defence lawyer and I asked him why he didnt even say anything in court. He replied that there was no point - his client was bound to lose.
I returned to the court and asked which room my case was to be held in and made my way to court 4. There was a clerk and usher in there and I told them what the lawyer had said about the 97% conviction. They replied 'Funny. i have no idea where he got that figure from. We were just saying how high the acquittal rate was here ! you'll get a very fair trial here!'
So I walked away realising that so much depends on how I see things. The lawyer had completely given up because of his belief. (Even if his rate idea was accurate, different courts have different rates.) But these women had given me a reminder about how important it was to check my thoughts and choose helpful ones. So I spent some time the next couple of days visualising a good result and positivity towards those who worked there.
Part 3 to follow