On day two of the trial, the defence seemed to be focussed mainly on objectivity, subjectivity misogyny, and snuff.
Having heard from five prosecution witnesses the day before, the defence decided to first recall the only one fitting the criterion of possessing a vagina. She was also the one that came last playing Section 5 buzzword bingo, by failing to use the words ‘abusive’ or ‘insulting’ enough in her testimony. This barrister’s brutal cross-examination made her break down in tears, and the judge had to call a ten minute recess as a result. More on that later.
Isn’t it a teecy bit loaded of us to tell you that the defence made a female police officer cry, without much context? Are we trying to influence your emotions? Are we failing to be objective?
Yes. But the defence doesn’t get that. Entirely devoid of the context of location (outside a clinic), timing (when women are perhaps unsure and distressed), and appropriateness (large colour banners on a busy main road, opposite a large 6th form college), the defence repeatedly asserted that Abort67’s ‘displays’ could not possibly constitute ‘abuse’ or be construed as ‘insulting’, as they are scientific fact.
The defence loves the science bit. Even though the images of dismembered aborted foetuses on the banner may appear ever so slightly larger than they appear to the naked eye, they are ‘truthful’ and show a ‘factual, lawful medical procedure’.
From there the defence made what we would call a leap of faith. A bit like that scene in the Indiana Jones’ film, but less entertaining.
They tell us that ‘an ordinary sensible man [N.B. not an ordinary sensible woman, because according to the defence there’s no such thing] knows what an insult is when he sees it’. Despite this being evident, they give us an example, just in case. Here goes.
If a person is morbidly obese, this is scientific fact. There’s evidence for it and everything. Now if you call this person morbidly obese, that’s not an insult, because you used the science words. This person might be offended, but that’s their problem. It’s objectively, scientifically true, and no insult could be implied because you used the science words. If you call them a fatty though, that’s a whole different ball game because that’s clearly intended to be an insult so it’s a candidate for Section 5. The judge asked ‘Are you quoting from anywhere in particular?’ ‘No sir’, came the reply.
You see, this is the defence’s view, but it’s not subjective, oh no! It’s objective, scientific, common sense that anyone can see. Unless of course you’re a woman (or understand context, which women probably don’t anyway).
Earlier on in the day, the defence almost provoked a mass contempt of court by the public gallery by displaying some of the most incredible misogyny we’ve seen in recent times. He put it to the only female witness that she had got it in for the defendants, and was not able to be objective about the ‘displays’ because she personally found them offensive. Therefore she was not using her reasonable judgement as a police officer as required by law, because this was impossible. Why? Well because she has a womb of course. The defence put it to her ‘It’s not just a woman’s issue? There’s no reason why it might be inappropriate for you to handle this case?’ Cue public gallery core meltdown.
The defence later accused the police of ‘harassment’ of the defendants, and said it was ‘to put it frankly, like Putin’s Russia’.
After a nice long lunch the judge rightly threw out the Section 19 charges. The Crown Prosecution Service made a last ditch attempt to say the officers’ actions weren’t unlawful, as they had a common law right to collect evidence, but the judge sent a clear signal to Sussex Police that they to do need some urgent refresher training on PACE, as none of the officers who gave evidence seemed to know this.
This saw Kathryn move from the dock to the public gallery, as only Andy faces Section 5 charges. We may get to hear from her next week if she gives evidence to support him.
The day finished with the prosecution parading a litany of tabloid snuff before the judge to justify Abort67’s actions. Dead dictators, war victims, all grist for the Abort67 mill. The judge got a bit testy when the defence tried to show him some moving images after all of this, so we think he’d seen enough too. He also denied them the chance to play an audio recording of an animal rights group discussing why they used graphic images, as they were not in court under Section 5 charges. It was fun watching the defence squirm as they tried to think of a good reason to have their evidence admitted, and failed miserably, but it didn’t quite make up for their earlier misogyny-fest.
The case continues.