Minutes of meeting Sunday 30th May 2021, held at the Community Hall, 87 Willis Road, Bli Bli
Meeting declared open by Make Holt, Convener, at 2 pm.
There was no General Meeting today. Instead the time was devoted to a simulated trial, using a real case brought to us by Wayne (Plaintiff) and playing the role of the defendant (a council employee) was Chris.
Before the Court practice began, Mike gave the assembly a couple of updates.
Mike spoke about our Gympie convener Heather, who gave a speech at the Cotton Tree Park rally in Maroochydore on Saturday 29th May and collected a large number of names of interested people to hand over to us. What a great job Heather!
Mike then nominated Kristie, an experienced speaker, to take over the Sunshine Coast Assembly as Convener. Kristie spoke about her experiences and qualifications and Mike gave details on exactly what the Convener’s job is. The Assembly welcomes Kristie (hope spelling is correct).
NSW now has Assemblies started in Wollongong and Sydney, with another in Victoria at Croydon. N.Z. Is starting with Auckland, to be run by Ryle who was a Sheriff here and is a motivated, experienced and valuable member, who will do well in getting N.Z. going.
Court practice started with swearing in those running the court, consisting of Shane as Adjudicator, Vicki as Recorder, Dave as Bailiff.
A trial Mediation session was heard although this would normally be a separate session, heard well before set court date.
Wayne’s case was over a dog for which he was guardian at the time and did not wish to register the dog with council. He had two huge No Trespassing signs on his property and had also written to council to inform them that no consent was being given for any council employee to come onto his property without consent. However, the council employee took no notice of these signs or letters and in fact stole the dog and impounded it while Wayne was not at the property. Council then demanded a ransom for release of the dog, who actually suffered because of the process. There was a neighbour as witness to the event. The only thing that was left by the council on the day was a scribbled note and a form, but no proper warrant. These are only a brief outline of the details.
Registrar Shane reminded the assembly that there must always be 2 witnesses as evidence. In this case, the council employee could be counted as a witness by the fact that he signed and left paperwork at the property. The other witness was a neighbour.
We were reminded that if there is no response after the 3 letter process is complete then this is in the plaintiff’s favour.
Practice of actual trial then began.
Registrar Shane advised assembly that before starting court proceedings, 12 hard copies of relevant paperwork needs to be prepared and handed to each jury member. Jury members must, of course, all be sworn in.
Assembly heard the evidence prepared and presented by Wayne and we were told about the outcome desired by Wayne which was in the form of compensation (fine for trespassing plus other costs). The assembly was reminded that an invoice for costs can only be sent after the third letter of the 3-letter-process has been ignored.
Darryl mentioned Section 24 of the Criminal Code regarding stealing of property.
The defendant then responded and presented his side of the case. He was told that under Common Law it is no excuse to say “I was sent by my boss”.
Assembly was made aware at this point that in this particular case the plaintiff needs to be fully aware that, in relation to the paying of dog registration, there is often fine print in documents (e.g. mortgage) which states that you are to pay the animal registration as requested. . This creates a contract and therefore you would have to pay the registration. So be aware of this and know what you have signed in the past that may include something relevant, using the dog registration as an example.
After the defendant had presented his case, the Jury adjourned to discuss and reach a verdict. There was an in-depth discussion about the costs being claimed by the plaintiff. Jury returned a verdict in favour of the plaintiff.
A question was raised that needs to be attended to:
“Can a losing defendant appeal to the high court?” To work on…..
(Answer: No. You can’t mix jurisdictions. Common Law has nothing to do with Admiralty law.)
The meeting closed at 4 pm. Next Assembly meeting in 3 weeks on 20th June.