Sunday, November 4, 2012

Trespassing in the Screen Australia foyer at 4pm!

This morning I must appear in the Downing Centre Local Court. My crime, committed under the Inclosed Lands Protections Act 1901, Section 4(1)(b) is that  I 

“Did remain on the inclosed lands of Screen Australia, situate at level 4 of 150 William Street, Woolloomooloo, after being requested by Graham Smith, the person apparently in charge the said lands to leave those lands.” 

Witnesses to the offence of sitting in the Screen Australia foyer at 4 pm on 15th Oct (“Apprehended at 4,20pm!”) will be two ‘Police Witnesses’ and three ‘Civilian Witnesses’. Unless Ruth Harley co-opts the Screen Australia receptionists to do so, she and Fiona Cameron will be the witnesses to my crime. I wonder if, as in the Supreme Court, a Barrister and his associate will appear for Screen Australia?

My appearance in court this morning is high farce. Yes, I made it clear that I would sit in the Screen Australia foyer until Ruth Harley provided me with marked up copies of my ‘intimidating’ correspondence. This ploy worked, which cannot be said for any of my many requests made in the previous five months. Ruth came down into the foyer personally and gave me the correspondence as requested - individual paragraphs, sentences and phrases that she considered to be evidence of my having intimidated and placed at risk members of Screen Australia staff highlighted. I had been requesting that she do so since 11th May - not an unreasonable request given that it was on the basis of this correspondence that the Screen Australia board not only ratified Ruth’s ban but agreed to change Screen Australia’s Term of of Trade to make the ban legal.

Having me arrested at 4 pm as I sat quietly in the foyer reading the correspondence (and doing a big of blogging) was, from a management point of view, a really stupid move. So too was trying to blame poor bewildered Graham Smith - Security Manager for the building. What possible reason could Mr Smith have for calling the police to have me arrested in the foyer of a government office at 4 pm? I wonder if, in order to make it seem that my arrest was a reasonable response, Ruth will try to argue in court that my sitting in the foyer posed a risk to her staff? If so, I wonder who will appear as a witness to testify that s/he felt at risk?

Has Screen Australia instructed its counsel to argue its position vigorously in court or to drop the case with as little fuss as possible? I will find out in a couple of hours. I will be asking the presiding magistrate to toss it out on the basis that I was committing no offence at all and that it would be a  waste of the court’s time, energy and resources to proceed with the matter. And a waste of my own and Screen Australia’s time, energy and resources also, of course.

I will update this a little later in the day, after court.

Monday Afternoon

My trespassing charge will proceed to trial after all! On 20th Dec. 

Poor Security Manager Graham Smith is going to have to explain to the court why it was he felt it necessary to call the police at around 3.30 on 15th Oct.  to have me evicted from the foyer of the Screen Australia offices during office hours! He had, Graham told me me, been instructed by “the people upstairs” to do so?  The “people upstairs”, however,  claim that it was not their decision to call the cops; that it was Graham’s!

Fiona Cameron will be a witness for the Prosecution so perhaps she will be able to shed some light on just whose decision it was and why such a decision was deemed to be necessary. 

 I wonder how much money Screen Australia spent in the Supreme Court defending (when all is said and done) Ruth Harley’s right not to provide me with evidence of the crimes for which I had been banned - the very same evidence that Ruth handed over to me prior to calling the police! It is all so odd, so bizarre! Does the Screen Australia board really believe that the way Ruth Harley and Fiona Cameron have dealt with this dispute is evidence of good management? Why hasn’t the board suggested to Ruth (in fairly strong terms, perhaps!) that the most appropriate way of resolving this dispute would be to follow the suggestion I made on 17th May

and followed up on 22nd May with:

Is it because any independent mediator or conciliator would reply on facts, not spin, and the facts are simply not in sync with the narrative that Screen Australia has decided on?

Would someone please ask Screen Australia (Encore magazine, perhaps) how much it has spent so far on legal fees? I would be very surprised if the amount spent would not fund a short low (or perhaps not so low!) budget film or the development of a screenplay.

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