The trial of Alison Chabloz

Day 1 – 10 1 2018

Robert Henderson

Presiding: District Judge John Zani sitting without a jury

Karen Robinson – Prosecuting counsel

Adrian Davies – Defence counsel

Witnesses  for the Prosecution

Gideon Falter,   chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA)

Stephen Silverman Director of Investigations and Enforcement  CAA

The background to the prosecution 

Ms Chabloz denies three charges of sending obscene material by public communication networks and two alternative charges of causing obscene material to be sent. The case involves three songs which the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) claim are anti-Semitic: Survivors,   Nemo’s Anti-Semitic Universe and I Like The Story As It Is.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) refused to prosecute the case originally but after the CAA started a private prosecution and threatened a judicial review of the CPS’ refusal to prosecute, the CPS agreed to reverse their original decision and take over the private prosecution.

At the same time the CAA had sought and been given permission to take another case of alleged anti-Semitism   – that of Jeremy Bedford-Turner –  to judicial review  but before that happened the CPS agree to prosecute Mr Bedford-Turner.  It is reasonable to assume that the CPS’ change of mind on Ms Chabloz’s case was linked to the decision in the Turner-Bedford  case.

The events of the day

Alison Chabloz  arrived with a healthy band of supporters (around 2 dozen) who filled the public gallery. There was a significant media presence outside the court and a  sprinkling of  reporters in the courtroom .  Miss Chabloz’s song Survivors  was played early in the proceedings and drew a round of applause  which filled the courtroom. Judge Zani warned those in the public gallery that a repeat of such behaviour would result in those responsible being removed from the court.

Karen Robinson began the day by outlining the prosecution’s case. Importantly she made it clear  in her opening remarks that the case was not about whether the holocaust existed or how many Jews died.  Rather, it was  the level of insult generated by Miss Chabloz ‘s songs which was the issue.  Robinson allowed  that  material resulting in insult was within the law but gross insult was not.  She offered no explanation  of how an objective distinction between insult and gross  insult was to  be determined . Instead  she  merely baldly asserted that  ‘ by the standards of an open and multi-racial society, they are grossly offensive’.  This opened up a can of worms.

To begin with it is objectively  impossible  to distinguish between lesser and greater  degrees of insult. Then there is the function of criticism in a democracy.  The idea that there can be limits to insult in a democracy is chilling. Moreover, there is a long tradition in England of the most devastating political insults most notably in the cartoons   of the likes of  Gilray and Rowlandson. Take away the freedom to be as insulting as  you like and British politics would become a constricted fearful business. Indeed, this  is already happening for political correctness generally  is being imposed through a mixture of the criminalising of opinions which oppose the dictates of  political correctness and the non-legal penalties such as being driven out of a job.

It is also a fact that laws relating to “hate crimes” is rarely if ever applied to the politically correct. Indeed, the claim  by  the prosecution  that  ‘ by the standards of an open and multi-racial society, they [the songs]  are grossly offensive’”  is  an unequivocal  statement of  politically correctness .  It assumes that the  standards of political correctness  on the subject of race are  shared by the vast majority of the UK population for unless they are shared by the vast majority they cannot be the standards by which UK society operates.

There is strong objective evidence that  the standards of an open and multi-racial society  are not the standards which the large  majority of the UK population shares.   Polls on immigration consistently show a solid majority of  those polled concerned about immigration and its effects.  This concern played a strong role in achieving  the Brexit vote. Research by the think tank British Future published in 2014 found a strong majority for ending  mass immigration   and 25% of those questioned wanted the removal of all immigrants already  in the UK.

The question of veracity

Truths are often “grossly insulting”.  The implication of the Prosecution’s case  is that  truths could be illegal.

The accusations in  Miss Chabloz’s songs of falsehood and misrepresentation  by the likes of   Holocaust survivor Irene Zysblat, the Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, and the teenage diarist Anne have substance as  Adrian Davies showed  during  his  efficient  cross examination.

The prosecution witnesses

I found both the CAA’s witnesses unconvincing . Falter was simply feeble.  Not only was he unfamiliar with texts which one would have thought he would have known, he gave signs of  working from  a prepared script, always a fatal thing for someone under cross examination because all the cross examiner has got to do it keep pressing buttons until the inevitable happens and the prepared script fails to provide meaningful answers.

Silverman was more assured and collected but his performance when  being questioned by prosecuting counsel was giving evidence by numbers.  He gave explanations for various words and phrases but they were  for  the most part obvious to any non-Jew.  He didn’t add much to the evidence available simply by reading or listening to  the song lyrics. His explanation  of the word “goy” (plural goyim)was of interest because he  falsely  said it was a non-offensive word for non-Jews.

The difference between words in a song and words in a speech.

Miss Chabloz performances of her songs is  accomplished . These are not  easy songs to deliver   not least because of the complexity and sophistication of  her  lyrics. Her enunciation  is first class. That she executes  the songs  well and they are very  lively and engaging musically may help her  case. It is one thing to express sentiments in a speech,  quite another in a song.  When it is done in song and the song and performance are engaging,  the emotional response of the listener will be  first and foremost   a response to an artistic act not a political one.

The case will recommence on 7  March (This is not a misprint, the next hearing is in March).

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Day 2 – 7   3  2018

Robert Henderson

Presiding: District Judge John Zani sitting without a jury

Karen Robinson – Prosecuting counsel

Adrian Davies – Defence counsel

Witnesses  for the defence

Alison Chabloz

 

The background to the prosecution 

Ms Chabloz denies three charges of sending obscene material by public communication networks and two alternative charges of causing obscene material to be sent. The case involves three songs which the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) claim are anti-Semitic: Survivors,   Nemo’s Anti-Semitic Universe and I Like The Story As It Is.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) refused to prosecute the case originally but after the CAA started a private prosecution and threatened a judicial review of the CPS’ refusal to prosecute, the CPS agreed to reverse their original decision and take over the private prosecution.

At the same time the CAA had sought and been given permission to take another case of alleged anti-Semitism   – that of Jeremy Bedford-Turner –  to judicial review  but before that happened the CPS agree to prosecute Mr Bedford-Turner.  It is reasonable to assume that the CPS’ change of mind on Ms Chabloz’s case was linked to the decision in the Turner-Bedford  case.

The events of the day

Despite having a whole day for the case  we are not yet not at the end of the defence case. Ms Chabloz gave evidence but the second witness for the defence Peter Rushton never entered the witness box.

Ms Chabloz did  well in the witness box.   Being under cross examination is very tiring because apart from the natural nervous tension – everyone is nervous when they first  experience  being in the   witness box – and  the need to concentrate intensely is draining. Moreover,   Ms Chabloz was  in the witness box for the better part of two hours. Not only did she not wilt, towards the end of  her  testimony she had prosecuting counsel a little rattled.  (Karen Robinson made the mistake of getting into a verbal  cul-d-sac when she kept repeating the same question over and over instead of  trying to get  at the answer she wanted by asking  the  question in different ways.)

Ms Robinson began her cross examination by concentrating on the songs which are the subject of the charges Ms Chabloz faces. Then she swerved into raising questions about a song which was not part of the charges and tried to make a case for Ms Chabloz being a racist generally.

Ms Chabloz picked up very quickly on the fact that Robinson had gone off piste and protested that the questioning was irrelevant,  but Robinson was allowed to proceed with the line of questioning. Eventually defence counsel Adrian Davies objected that the line of questioning was not relevant to the charges but Zani still allowed Robinson to pursue the line of questioning.

I suspect that  Adrian Davies allowed   Robinson to continue without objection by him  for as long as  she did  to provide the basis for Mr Rushton’s evidence to be accepted. However, it is  worth noting that Ms Robinson’s attempt to broaden the argument against Ms Chabloz to a general charge of racism is of a different nature to Mr Rushton’s research which is,  as far as it could be judged by what was said in court, simply concerned with validating Ms Chabloz’s claims.

At the end of Ms Chabloz’s cross-examination Adrian Davies’ second witness Peter Rushton was expected to testify.  Mr Rushton  has been down at the British Library ferreting out  evidence which objectively supported  the claims made in  Ms Chabloz’s  songs.   However, his evidence was deemed to be of a nature which did not require him to go into the witness box provided the prosecution accepted that  his  research could be entered as evidence. This  Ms Robinson agreed to  and obviated the need for Mr Rushton to go into the witness box.

The court then  turned to  the question of whether  written  not oral arguments speaking to  Mr Rushton’s research  should  be made  The prosecution wanted only written arguments . (I suspect that  the prosecution were nervous about having seriously non-pc  statements  read out in court in whole or part). Adrian  Davies  wanted  to make oral arguments.  judge  Zani  ruled that  oral arguments could be made  as well as the written ones and booked another hearing which he thought should last for around  an hour.

This is  unsatisfactory because it means that the prosecution’s attempt to present to present Ms Chabloz as a general racist was made in open court, while Mr Rushton’s evidence supporting  Ms Chabloz  will not, at least in its entirety,  be presented in open court.  (Some of Mr Rushton’s evidence  will presumably become clear during the oral submissions on his evidence).

As things stand

The upshot of all  this  activity  is:

  1. Written arguments on Mr Rushton’s evidence must be submitted  by   Friday 16th March
  2. Oral arguments will be made on Monday 14th May
  3. Judge Zani will reserve his judgement.
  4. A further hearing will be held on 25th May at which Zani will give his verdict and the reasons for it.

There were around 20 supporters of Ms Chabloz.  There were a number of interruptions from  the public gallery in support of Mis Chabloz . These annoyed  the judge  enough to make him  threaten to clear the public  gallery.

Compared with the first day’s hearing on 10 January  there was little media interest,  although Martin Bashir sat in the press section. During one of several adjournments he engaged in a n extended conversation with prosecuting counsel Karen Robinson.

Robert Henderson  11   March 2018

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Day  3 –   14 5   2018

Robert Henderson

Presiding: District Judge John Zani sitting without a jury

Karen Robinson – Prosecuting counsel

Adrian Davies – Defence counsel

The background to the prosecution

Ms Chabloz denies three charges of sending obscene material by public communication networks and two alternative charges of causing obscene material to be sent. The case involves three songs which the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) claim are anti-Semitic: Survivors,   Nemo’s Anti-Semitic Universe and I Like The Story As It Is.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) refused to prosecute the case originally but after the CAA started a private prosecution and threatened a judicial review of the CPS’ refusal to prosecute, the CPS agreed to reverse their original decision and take over the private prosecution.  At the same time the CAA had sought and been given permission to take another case of alleged anti-Semitism   – that of Jeremy Bedford-Turner –  to judicial review  but before that happened the CPS agree to prosecute Mr Bedford-Turner.  It is reasonable to assume that the CPS’ change of mind on Ms Chabloz’s case was linked to the decision in the Turner-Bedford  case.

The events of the day

The bulk of the day was taken up by  oral arguments amplifying   and rebutting the  written arguments  made by both defence and prosecution  since the previous hearing on 3rd March and final  speeches made by  prosecution and the defence.

Much time was devoted to the question  of what constitutes a public electronic communications  network  (PECN)  and who was responsible to the distribution of material once it was uploaded to the PECN.  Frankly, this had the feel of theologians arguing about how many angels could sit  on a pinhead.  Adrian Davies said it was actually YouTube which was responsible for “sending the message”, with Ms Chabloz unable to ascertain who the recipient would be.

He said: “If someone who’s drunk or unstable or eccentric decides to phone up the Speaking Clock and shout some obscenity, it is not conceivable that they are committing an offence – it’s absurd.

“Uploading a video to YouTube – the only ‘recipient’ is a lump of silicon in a concrete bunker in California.”

Most dramatically, Davies told   Zani that his judgement would l ‘set a  precedent’ for free speech in what would be a landmark case.

Davies said his client had not committed an offence because “It is hard to know what right has been infringed by Miss Chabloz’s singing  …“There has to be a convincing argument to interfere with Miss Chabloz’s right to freedom of speech.”

Prosecuting counsel Karen Robinson denied Chabloz’s songs were for comic affect,  and claimed they were “ not political songs… which were “ no more than a dressed-up attack on a group of people for no more than their adherence to a religion.”

There was a strong turnout of supporters of Ms Chabloz.

Day  4 –   25 May 2018

The background to the prosecution

Ms Chabloz  has denied   three charges of sending obscene material by public communication networks and two alternative charges of causing obscene material to be sent. The case involves three songs which the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) claim are anti-Semitic: Survivors,   Nemo’s Anti-Semitic Universe and I Like The Story As It Is.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) refused to prosecute the case originally but after the CAA started a private prosecution and threatened a judicial review of the CPS’ refusal to prosecute, the CPS agreed to reverse their original decision and take over the private prosecution.

At the same time the CAA had sought and been given permission to take another case of alleged anti-Semitism   – that of Jeremy Bedford-Turner –  to judicial review  but before that happened the CPS agree to prosecute Mr Bedford-Turner.  It is reasonable to assume that the CPS’ change of mind on Ms Chabloz’s case was linked to the decision in the Turner-Bedford  case.

The events of the day

The hearing  was  to render  a verdict.  Ms Chabloz was found guilty on  three charges , namely, two counts of sending an offensive, indecent or menacing message through a public communications network and a third charge relating to a song on YouTube.

Zani emphasised two things, remorse and the fact that he judged  Ms Chabloz  had comfortably passed the standard of offensiveness required for a custodial sentence.  Arrangements were made for Ms Chabloz  to attend an interview with a probation officer on 31 May who would prepare a report  for Zani to consider before he pronounced  sentence.

On remorse Zani  said this in his written judgement (para 108) : “Far from there being any real remorse for or appreciation of the offence that this court finds will have undoubtedly  been caused  to others, Ms Chabloz remains defiant that her claim to free speech trumps all else and that any attempt to curtail  her right would be quite wrong,”

The impression left was clear: Ms Chabloz must express remorse if she wished to escape a custodial sentence.

There was a strong turnout of Ms Chabloz’s supporters, some of whom were physically attacked  outside the court building by supporters of the prosecution of Ms Chabloz.

Day  5 –   14 6   2018

The background to the prosecution

Ms Chabloz has  been found guilty of three charges of sending obscene material by public communication networks and two alternative charges of causing obscene material to be sent. The case involves three songs which the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) claim are anti-Semitic: Survivors,   Nemo’s Anti-Semitic Universe and I Like The Story As It Is.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) refused to prosecute the case originally but after the CAA started a private prosecution and threatened a judicial review of the CPS’ refusal to prosecute, the CPS agreed to reverse their original decision and take over the private prosecution.  At the same time the CAA had sought and been given permission to take another case of alleged anti-Semitism   – that of Jeremy Bedford-Turner –  to judicial review  but before that happened the CPS agree to prosecute Mr Bedford-Turner.  It is reasonable to assume that the CPS’ change of mind on Ms Chabloz’s case was linked to the decision in the Turner-Bedford  case.

The events of the day

This  hearing  was for sentencing.

Prosecution counsel  and defence  counsel both made oral  representations before  the sentences were announced;  prosecuting counsel at some length; defence counsel  quite briefly   The idea that these could have had any meaningful effect on the judge ‘s sentence was absurd because Zani  announced the sentences immediately after the representations.

Ms Chablis was sentenced to   20 weeks of imprisonment suspended for two years, 180 hours of community service,  victim surcharge and costs.  She was also barred from using social media for a year.

There was a distinctly odd element in Zani’s  sentencing.  When he  gave his verdict on 25th May he emphasised  two things, remorse and the fact that he judged  Ms Chabloz  had comfortably passed the standard of offensiveness required for a custodial sentence.

On remorse Zani  said this in his judgement (para 108) : “Far from there being any real remorse for or appreciation of the offence that this court finds will have undoubtedly  been caused  to others, Ms Chabloz remains defiant that her claim to free speech trumps all else and that any attempt to curtail  her right would be quite wrong,”

The impression left was clear: Ms Chabloz  must express remorse if she wished to escape a custodial sentence.

Bearing in mind these remarks on remorse and sentencing it was somewhat of a surprise that Zani imposed suspended sentences because  he  stated during sentencing that Ms Chabloz  had shown no proper remorse  and repeated his previous statement about the case having passed the custodial sentence test.

What was going on here?  The  most plausible explanation would be that Zani never had any intention of sending Ms Chabloz to prison and his performance on the 25th May was simply  to intimidate her into collapsing in heap and saying she was sorry and how terrible had been her actions and words. When that ploy did not work Zani decided  that he would nevertheless  give a suspended sentence (plus costs plus community work, plus victim’s surcharge).

Why would Zani have been unwilling to give a custodial sentence?   For an explanation of that one must look at the reason for prosecutions such as this. Out politically correct elite (which includes the mainstream media)   want the convictions to frighten the general public  (and maintain politically correct discipline within the agencies of the state who enforce political correctness). But what  our politically correct elite do not want is widespread mainstream media coverage of such trials. In short they want the convictions but not the details, not least because they wish at one and the same time  to censor and maintain a claim that they are in favour of free expression. There was a marvellous moment  during  sentencing when Zani dilated on the necessity and value of free speech in a democracy before saying  in the next sentence, with no sense of irony  that  there are limits to free expression. This is very obvious nonsense. Free expression is a very simply concept you either have it or you have a range of permitted opinion which can be altered at any moment. Joseph Stalin would feel increasingly at home in present day England.

Yet again there was a very healthy turnout  of supporters of Ms Chabloz.  When Zani announced the suspended sentence several supporters of the prosecution yelled loudly and ran out of the public gallery.

Unlike the previous hearing there was no physical violence.

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