11/02/2005

Time To Pay

Tommy Sheridan, a Member of the Scottish Parliament who holds no mandate from the people of Glasgow Pollok and who holds his office only on the basis of the our legislature's absurd system of having 'List Members' who earn the same wage and access the same resources as the directly elected, has engaged in a piece of cliched urban terrorism against the offices of the UK Immigration Service in Glasgow.
On the occasion of his last court appearance, Sheridan was the recipient of phenomenal judicial largesse. In 2004, he appeared in the Means Court of Glasgow District Court as a convicted person for failure to pay a fine imposed on the occasion of his previously being convicted for breach of the peace. At the point of his original sentencing, he would have been asked if he wished for 'time to pay'. If he had wished to proceed directly to jail, he could have refused; instead, he would have said yes, and an order would have been made directing him to pay £X per week to the offices of the Clerk of the Court.
At the Means Court, Sheridan publicly and boldly announced that he had no intention of paying the fine. The purpose of the Means Court is for the convict to explain why no payment had been made, and if necessary to plead for further time - not for the making of comments which invite the justice to impose the alternative and imprison them, or else which indicate bad faith on his part at the time the sentence was originally imposed.
The justice declined to impose an ex proprio motu finding of contempt of court, and instead merely imposed the alternative sentence for non-payment of the fine, seven days imprisonment. I would have given him an extra three months for the contempt, to have run consecutively after the sentence incurred for wilful non-payment, and all perfectly legal in terms of Section 15 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981.
Please, Tommy, ask for time to pay when you're next up in Court - because I hope you're arrested for this and that whoever you appear in front of throws the book at you, our other taxpayer-funded terrorist Sandra White, that windy wee ratbag Peter Mullan, Paddy Hill, Iain Whyte and Robina Qureshi; and that every single asylum-seeker involved in this terrorism is deported.

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