Father vows to fight on
A FATHER today vowed to fight on after withdrawing his appeal from crown court when a judge refused to hear from dozens of witnesses.After the case, Shaun O'Connell told The Star: "It proves my case.
A FATHER today vowed to fight on after withdrawing his appeal from crown court when a judge refused to hear from dozens of witnesses.
After the case, Shaun O'Connell told The Star: "It proves my case. We (Fathers 4 Justice) cannot have a fair hearing in the UK.
"Refusing witnesses means we can't provide a defence on why the door was painted."
The secondary school teacher was one of three members of the Suffolk based Fathers 4 Justice group found guilty last year of causing criminal damage.
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They had painted purple the door of the Children and Family Courts Advisory Support Cafcass in Foundation Street, Ipswich, to highlight what they believe are unfair child custody laws.
As reported in later editions of yesterday's Evening Star, O'Connell, of Gosport, Hampshire, had arranged for 30 witnesses from all over the country to give evidence at his appeal against conviction.
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The 40-year-old appeared before Ipswich Crown Court and said it was his intention to call the witnesses because he believed the judiciary is partial and unfair in dealing with family cases.
Judge David Goodin said the appeal was against conviction for criminal damage and however much O'Connell believed judges in family courts in this country were biased and partial, the 30 witnesses were not relevant.
After the case O'Connell was openly critical of the judicial system saying: "I have never given my defence to court.
"I have had decisions made by court officials, not judges. I have had judges refusing to allow evidence on numerous occasions in the family court.
"The decision proves you can't have a fair hearing in the UK.
"In the Human Rights Act under section 6 and 7 I am entitled to raise violations by any public authority, including the courts, in any legal proceedings.
"This won't be the end of it but the beginning of making our judiciary independent and impartial as they should be and everyone in the UK naively believes they are."
O'Connell was convicted at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court last year. He was granted a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £63 compensation and £256 costs.
He was convicted in his absence after walking out of court saying he refused to take part in an unfair hearing which should be before a jury.
He appeared before Ipswich Crown Court to appeal against sentence given to him on September 3 last year, citing the human rights act and appealing for the right to a fair hearing.
O'Connell said the next step would be the European Court of Human Rights.