Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Courtly Dress: Contempt for the Court

Just another rant about people who think they are better than the rest of us (I'm told that symbolic violence is the correct term).

A sheriff in Greenock yesterday told a person appearing in his court that if he appeared in court in a football strip he could be jailed. This raises a number of uncomfortable issues.

First, we are fighting a war in Afghanistan, among other things, because people (mainly women) were being hauled before unelected judges and imprisoned for what they were wearing.

Second, why are the sheriff's cultural values more valid than the person he is threatening? The football strip may well have been the best and costliest item of clothing the person had. If he had dressed in his best for a court appearance, what was the problem? Is it because he earns more, and have a look at this if you want to see the scale of the earnings legal eagles have (bearing in mind that these are only his fees for those who can't pay).
Why could justice not be administered to the person irrespective of what he was wearing? They managed to jail the naked rambler. Why was it an issue at all?

Third, why does this sheriff have the right to imprison a person without a trial simply because he disapproves of his dress sense? Is this not third world justice?

Of course the real answer to all of this is that members of the bar believe themselves to be a superior breed, and having gone mainly to public schools are de-sensitised to sado masochistic bullying, and this sheriff is a bully, flexing his muscles and trying to impose his supposedly superior system of values on a minor being. They defend a legal system brought into disrepute by their own greedy conduct and pompous superiority.

I am reminded of what I think was a Mae West line. When challenged that she was showing her contempt for the court she replied, 'I'm sorry, your honour, I was trying my best to hide it.'

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