2019 – 03 – arts project
I cannot believe I am still banging on about this, some 15 months later. Since my last blog (2018-66), a bit of a catch-up from the past 7 months.
As I write this, we still have not been given CDs of the shows. Back in May, and in order to challenge the decision to withhold CD copies from us, I made an application for Judicial Review. After much research, I thought I had a pretty good case under ‘legitimate expectations’. After sending my letter before claim, the prison reversed their position and made an offer to provide us all with CDs but only if we agreed not to copy them to send to third parties; that is, no copies unless the prison gave their permission. Why? The words “embarassment” came out of the mouths of 2 governors. It’s all about them wanting control, again. They don’t want the media getting hold of the recording, with the associated negative press. That’s the embarassment they were talking about.
Initially, I refused their offer and pressed on with the JR. Unfortunately, partly due to the dirty tricks of the MoJ’s legal team (Government Legal Department); they disclosed my refusal of their ‘without prejudice’ offer (something they are not allowed to do); the first judge rejected my application as the MoJ were prepared to give me a copy of the CD.
I pressed on and applied for an oral hearing. The judge (by video link) was a decent guy who really took an interest in my representations. Often this is not the case. Sadly, after several hours, he was of the opinion that if there was a ‘legitimate expectation’ (which he did not feel there was, in law) it could be proven without oral evidence; something JR does not normally consider (it’s normally done on paper evidence). My application for JR was at an end. Incidentally, this was now the first time I was civil case free for at least 5 years if not longer; phew.
Nonetheless, the offer was still on the table; I accepted.
The recording was in the process of getting edited to be burnt onto blank CD’s; however, there has been a software problem. We are just waiting for the IT guy to come in to sort it out and then we should be at the point of drawing a line under this issue.
I’ll tell you about the debacle surrounding our ‘arts project’ Koestler Trust competition entry in the next blog.
Be happy, be safe.
Graham Coutts, 1st January 2019