Record of 30th January 2017 Recusal hearing.

As you read this, bear in mind that the criteria for a judge to recuse himself are that if a fair-minded and informed observer would conclude that there was a real possibility that the judge was biassed. The very fact that the sheriff (the judge in Scottish lower courts) tried to limit the time for me to present my case perverts the course of justice right from the start. You will note that he made absolutely no response, but then, when faced with criminal charges, one need not respond. This is how it went:

The hearing started with my being required to go into the dock and answer the question “Are you STUART ALAN HILL?” I questioned whether I needed to go into the dock since I was not on trial, but simply told to “Go in the box”.

The Sheriff then said that he was giving me 20 minutes to state my case and no more. I said he might change his mind when he heard what I had to say.

I started and this is what I read, verbatim:

The charges are that, on 14th October 2015, 20th January 2016, 5th February 2016 and other dates, you acted with bias in the capacity of Sheriff and conspired with others to pervert the course of justice.

These are matters of extreme gravity and I will not be rushed. I will be making some statements and asking some questions. As you have refused permission for this hearing to be recorded, I will be writing down your responses as we proceed in order that I have a true record.

I am asking you to recuse yourself because I cannot expect a fair trial with you presiding as sheriff. As I stated on the 18th January, the doctrine of judicial recusal requires that you must step down in circumstances where there is bias or apparent bias. I intend to show:

The matter concerns hearings before the Lerwick Sheriff Court. I will go into some detail, but will keep strictly to the point.

I made a Subject Access Request to the Court on case No. LE15000550, the first of two accusations against me of vandalism, both at the same locus. To comply with the law a Subject Access Request must bring forth all documents concerning me in connection with the matter specified. I must therefore rely on the fact that all relevant documents have been revealed to me. As a result of the Subject Access Request to the court I was provided with these 6 documents (hand to usher). Four of them related to that case and two to the contempt of court case, No. PP16002183 (-044?). Because the documents are from two different cases it already appears there has been an attempt to conflate the two.

Looking in detail at the documents:.

    Document C1 concerns the 14th October hearing. It does not record the fact that at that hearing I challenged the court's jurisdiction on the basis that Shetland is not part of Scotland nor that, after consulting with Sheriff Napier and the Court of Session, you claimed to have jurisdiction on the basis of the result of the Scottish independence referendum. Do you remember that? (No response).

    I was not at all happy with this. The fact that you consulted with them and then put forward an entirely different claim to jurisdiction than had been established by those very persons in 2011, not only shows the weakness of that claim and the need to abandon it, but contributes evidence of conspiracy.

I want to go into detail about the events of 20th January 2016. I’m going to be pretty picky, but I need specific detail.

When I did not go into the dock that day, I was pointing out that you had heard no proof of your jurisdiction. You warned me that I would be in contempt of court if I did not go into the dock. I started to say you would be in breach of Section 204 of the 1995 Act if you put me in the cells and you ordered me to be taken away. Is that your recollection? (No response)

The important question is: did I appear in the court that day? I see you are not going to answer.

If YES, then what gave you grounds to withdraw bail on the basis that the court was not satisfied that the accused would appear? (No response)”

At this point, I could see there would be no response, so stopped asking questions.

Until STUART ALAN HILL appeared, the hearing could not begin.

The word 'appearance' has a very specific meaning in legal terms. I have found it very difficult to find a definition, but the Judiciary of Scotland gives this on their website: “Appearance: The formal act whereby the defender in an action intimates his intention to defend”. This of course relates to civil cases, so in a criminal case, it would be when the accused makes a plea. Is that correct?

Before that, the court must have jurisdiction. In answer to the call from the court “number 23, STUART ALAN HILL”, the man commonly known as Stuart Hill thinks: 'That sounds like me' and steps forward. He obeys the command to enter the box, at which point he submits to the authority of the court. He answers “Yes” to the question “Are you STUART ALAN HILL?”. The court needs to know they have the right person in front of them. At that point he has agreed to act as the accused on the complaint and the man on the bench can act as sheriff. Jurisdiction is established.

Before he entered the dock he was the man commonly known as Stuart Hill and any conversation between him and the man on the bench would be between two men, not men acting in any agreed capacity.

In the past, in front of Sheriff Napier, I had stood in the dock, but would only identify myself as Stuart of the family Hill. This got me sent to the cells, but before giving the order, the Sheriff turned to Mr. Mackenzie and invited him to apply for a warrant for my arrest, as he should under Section 150 of the 1995 Act, but it was not until some weeks later that I found out I had been arrested for non-appearance. Although we were speaking to each other, he could not act as sheriff until I had agreed to submit to his jurisdiction. The only way to proceed was to grant a warrant for my arrest – as would have been done had I not turned up for the hearing. The point is that it is not something the Sheriff can initiate – the warrant is granted at the request of the prosecutor.

On 20th January, the proper course of action was for Mr. Mackenzie to apply for a warrant for my arrest - then I could be taken to the cells.

No such warrant has been revealed to me, so I must assume it does not exist.

Obviously, if I have not appeared, I have not agreed to act as the accused and jurisdiction has not been established, so it seems you have acted without authority as a judge to deprive me of my liberty on your own account.

The following matters mentioned in document C2 were not part of the alleged hearing in the cells:

  1. that you revoked bail,

  2. that you delayed consideration of the contempt matter,

  3. that Mr. Mackenzie put forward a motion for witness evidence to be conducted by way of video link and

  4. that the court granted that motion.

It is my suspicion that all of that was done before the hearing in the cells. It was certainly not done in my presence. That being the case, it was not possible to recall me to the court room in public because all that business had already been done.

It is my belief that the hearing in the cells was an elaborate sham and the record of it is a false document.

I was remanded until the trial date on the vandalism charge. In what matter was Mr.Mackenzie asking for evidence by video link? (No response)

So there was a plan to have a hearing on the contempt matter while I was in Peterhead prison, where I would have no access to any law books or to a computer and could more easily be found guilty.

Unfortunately that plan was upset by my request for a bail review, so a quick re-think was needed.

Referring again to document C2. If I had not appeared in court on 20th January, this document purports to be a record of what occurred in the police cells.

C2 only makes mention of Lerwick Sheriff Court. We must then infer that the police cells are part of the court.

I'm not sure if that is in their entirety, or only the one you happen to be in at the time.

In the police cell hearing I no more made an appearance than I had done in the court, I had been required to strip and dress in anti self-harm clothing because I refused to identify myself to the police. I had no identifying documents on me. Unless a police officer took the personal responsibility to identify me as STUART ALAN HILL by looking at my face, they had no idea who I was.

When you and others came into the cell, I did not identify myself as STUART ALAN HILL and I made no plea. I believe that is why the court records, not that I pled guilty, but that I (quote) 'indicated an intention to adhere to the plea or pleas of not guilty' (unquote). They are not the same. Can you say how I indicated that intention? Can you explain how I made a plea if I had not identified myself? (No response)

So, document C2 is a fabrication.

I have made a Subject Access Request to Police Scotland relating to cases LE15000550 and this case LE16000107. It gives full details of my interactions with the police. There is no mention of my being in the cells that day, nor of my being transferred to Peterhead Prison. As I said, I did not identify myself. As far as the police are concerned, I was not there. G4S did not know who they were transporting, unless a police officer had presumed to have identified me without any documentation. Peterhead prison did not know who they were being asked to accept and actually put me back in the van to be returned to Lerwick before changing their minds and accepting me – on what authority, I don't know.

In the absence of due process you personally have authorised my wrongful detention in the police cells.

In the absence of due process you personally have wrongfully authorised my detention in Peterhead Prison.

In any case, 4 weeks remand in Peterhead prison was unnecessarily harsh and oppressive in view of my age and the fact that I present no risk to the public. I can only regard it as personally vindictive.

Coming now to 5th February:

We have already established at the intermediate diet that there were two separate hearings on 5th February 2016, the bail review hearing and the contempt of court hearing. They were separate cases and both were listed in the court rolls for that day. I had applied to the court and had been granted a bail review hearing. I was not notified of any contempt of court hearing. This is obviously not part of your duties, but it indicates that others may have been involved in what I believe to have been a conspiracy.

I was brought into the court room from the police cells in double handcuffs, which was unbefitting an innocent man. You have said you recognise that it was wrong, but I was surprised to find that instructions went out to police in Scotland to that effect in 2012, so there can have been no excuse for you not to have known. Allowing the use of handcuffs on an innocent man in court was not something you should have allowed and can only be regarded as more evidence of personal bias.

During the bail review hearing you made some remarks about contempt of court, but the hearing was about the bail review, so those remarks, whatever they were, have no relevance to that hearing, but appear to have been made so as to give the impression that there had been a hearing on contempt. That was certainly the impression given to the press - either then, or in my absence after the bail review hearing. The bail review hearing ended with my being told I was a free man and being led away to police cells in double handcuffs. I should have been released immediately, but endured a further two hours of incarceration. I protested to the police that you had told me I was a free man, but they would not release me.

During that time and after my leaving the court, the contempt of court hearing appears to have taken place in my absence. It was impossible for me to have been there because I was in the police cells.

The two documents, C5 and C6 appear to be the only documents recording this case. It must be my reasonable presumption that, either the two cases were regarded as being so closely connected that documentation for the contempt case needed to be included in material requested on the Subject Access Request for the vandalism case, or that these two documents were slipped into the Subject Access Request material to give the impression that due process had been followed on the contempt matter.

If the first, then two documents can hardly be accepted as representing a full record of the case. If the latter, there is clear evidence of conspiracy and intent to pervert the course of justice.

As far as I can find, there are no practice guidelines on contempt of court in the Scottish system. The 2015 Practice Directions in English Law are very strict and extremely detailed. Contempt of court is a serious matter and reading these practice directions makes it clear that an accusation of contempt is not to be made lightly not to be taken lightly. I completely understand that English law and Scots law are not the same, but since the same legislation covers both jurisdictions, there will be equal gravity in each.

Archbold Chapter 28-38 states that (quote) 'the standard of proof in all forms of contempt is the criminal standard' (unquote). There must be a mens rea, a criminal intent. In my case exactly the opposite was true – I was trying to uphold the law by requiring the court to hear proof of its jurisdiction. Once again, Archbold deals with English law, but that does not change the fundamental principle - contempt must be proved to a criminal standard. There must be a mens rea.

No matter whether English law or Scots, all of this of course presupposes that a hearing has taken place - an absolute requirement before a conviction can be made.

A charge of contempt of court must be proved to criminal standards, so some detailed argument must have been put, there must have been a mens rea put forward and I must have had the opportunity to defend myself. Had I been there and with advance warning, I would have been able to adequately defend myself against such a ridiculous charge.

There was no intimation of the contempt case to me. There was no hearing at which the charge was put to me. I made no plea. I was not given the opportunity to defend myself. I was not even present – and yet document C5 says I was present and then says I was sentenced to 28 days on charge 1.

This is another blatantly false document.

There is no document specifying what charge 1 is, but document C1 states “The accused pled not guilty to charge 1”, C4 states “The accused pled not guilty to charge 1”, C2 states “The accused indicated an intention to adhere to the plea or pleas previously tendered in relation to charge 1”, C5 states “The court sentenced the accused to 28 days imprisonment on charge 1”. It seems to me and, I think to any reasonable person, that the references to 'charge 1' are intended to confuse and to be taken as the same in all the documents. The final document, C6 is the warrant for my imprisonment for contempt of court. I will come to a detailed look at that in a minute.”

Around this point the sheriff interrupts to say that my 20 minutes is up. I say I still have more to say and continue.

Now to documents received from Peterhead Prison in response to a Subject Access Request. (hand to usher).

P1 is an email from Jan Campbell to me in the prison, confirming my application for a bail review and my confirming that I want the hearing to be in the court. The hearing was for a bail review. Nothing is said on this or any other document about my attending the court to face a charge of contempt, even though, as I said, it appeared on the court rolls for that day. It seems I was walking into an ambush.

The rest of these documents concern what happened after the bail review hearing, while I was waiting to be released as a free man. I will relate what I believe to have happened during this period. Some of it is speculation, but is the best construction I can put on the evidence:

P2 is an email from Jan Campbell on 5th February. It concerns the vandalism case and certifies the 20th January warrant is no longer in force. I presume this would be normal procedure and should have enabled my immediate release when the case was deserted by the Crown.

It is my speculation that the back-dated conviction was applied in the expectation that it was simply a matter for the court; and back-dating it while I was on remand on a different matter was a convenient way for the sentence to have been served with no further ado.

If that were the case, unfortunately G4S appear to have put a spanner in the works with document P3. There is a section for them to state how the court has dealt with me. If they had reported that the case had been deserted, as it was, everything would have been neat and tidy from the court's point of view and I would have been released almost immediately. The back-dated sentence would simply be a matter for the court to record as an administrative exercise and all would be done and dusted. The pretend conviction would be between me and the court and nobody would be any the wiser.

Instead G4S report that I have been sentenced to 28 days backdated to 20th January 2016. Peterhead appear to be taken aback by this. This is the first time they have heard of any conviction. Having been advised that the original warrant was no longer in force, they now need documentation to accept and release me for this new sentence. Even a back-dated sentence has to go through their system.

There then seems to have been a bit of a panic. P 4 and 5 show a flurry of 4 emails in the space of 11 minutes (roughly 3½ minutes between each one) starting with a request from the prison for a warrant to cover the phantom sentence. The court apparently does not realise the prison needs another warrant in addition to the original remand warrant. When the penny drops there is a gap of 12 minutes before the new warrant is sent. It seems this was the time needed to make up the warrant for the phantom conviction.

There must already have been a request from Peterhead prison for a copy of the contempt conviction, but I do not have it. I only have the ones starting with a reply to that first request. Those emails read:

On P4: at 11:18: Stuart Retsis, Lerwick Sheriff Court: “Please find attached a copy of the imprisonment warrant for the above as requested. The original would have been given to G4S to allow them to convey the accused to prison.” As an aside, Stuart Retsis does not seem to understand the difference between imprisonment and remand.

at 11:23 Anna Watt, Scottish Prisons: “I cannot authorise liberation until I have the Convicted warrant of 28 days backdated to 20.01.16.”

Then P5: at 11:27: Janet Campbell, Lerwick Sheriff Court: “I can email a signed warrant to you from 20 January” (Presumably she is suggesting making up and signing a new version). She goes on: “however G4S staff took the original with them when Mr. Hill was remanded. I am assuming you have not received this warrant?” Seemingly holding me without a warrant is nothing remarkable.

With barely concealed frustration, after all this is her third request:

At 11:29: Anna Watt, Scottish Prisons marked OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE: “It's not the 20th January warrant I need. It's the Convicted warrant that was issued today that I need, showing the backdated sentence of 28 days.”

Then 12 minutes pause to Document P6:

at 11:41: Janet Campbell, Lerwick Sheriff Court: “Please find the attached warrant.”

and at 11:44: Anna Watt, Scottish Prisons marked OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE: “That's perfect thanks.”

Panic over.

I will now ask you to compare documents P7 and C6. It is my assumption that P7, the one supplied by the prison, is the original and C6, as is notated at the top, purports to be a copy.

The document was evidently prepared in haste. Both versions are headed “Under the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995.” The alleged charge is contempt of court - nothing to do with that Act.

Both documents state that the “offence of which convicted” was '1. Contempt of Court Act 1981'. That of course is a piece of legislation, not an offence. However, it leads to the question: which section of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 was I charged with breaching? Do you mind telling me? (No response)

I can find no section of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 with which I could be charged in the circumstances.

You knew, or should have known that there are no provisions of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 that apply to my actions in court that day.

Document P7 carries the name Jan Campbell and is signed. It authorises officers of law to convey me to the prison of HMP &YOI Grampian and for the detention therein for 28 days. (full stop) (and then apparently added) to be backdated to 20 January 2016.

C6 is unsigned, but carries the name Jan Hunter. It purports to be a copy, but it has extra text not on the original, saying the court has found the accused in contempt of court. This is clearly not a copy as claimed, but appears to have been made up for the Subject Access Request.”

Again, the sheriff says I've had enough time. I say I'm nearly finished and continue.

These are what I can only describe, in the circumstances, as false documents.

It gets worse. All prisoners with a short sentence serve half their sentence, which should have meant my release on 2nd February, not the 5th.

It gets even worse. Because the false sentence was backdated, the prison then has had to falsify its records. I was released on 5th February, but P8 records me as having been involved in 'Industry Activity' on the 5th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th, when I wasn't even there.

It gets worse still. The police records contain a list of my convictions. There is no mention of contempt of court. The list of previous convictions supplied to me with the original complaint lacks any mention of contempt.

Even the Extract Conviction Report, in common with the phantom warrants, is headed “Under the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995”, which has nothing to say about contempt of court. The name of the accused is recorded as HILL, Stuart, not STUART ALAN HILL as on the rest of the documentation. Are these even one and the same person?

It seems this whole case really is a phantom fabrication and seemingly the conspiracy knows no bounds.

When you add these factors, the overall pervasiveness of the conspiracy becomes clear:

There were some other points on my list but I omitted them in order to get to the summary:

So, if I can summarise:

1. There is a conspiracy to prevent the question of whether Shetland is part of Scotland being raised in the courts and you have played your part in it.

  1. You have been involved in a false charge with no legislation under which it can have been brought, a fabricated hearing at which I was not present, a false conviction, a false sentence and a false warrant.

  2. Court records have been falsified.

3. Prison records have been falsified

4. I was wrongfully detained and wrongfully imprisoned at your personal instructions.

5. When I asked for a trial by a jury of my peers, both you and Mr. Mackenzie declared with some glee that this is not English law. I have been challenging the authority of the state and Scots law dictates that I can only be tried by the state. Even you must be able to see the irony and injustice.

6. Because no court has been shown proof of its jurisdiction in any of the cases in which I have been involved, all those proceedings are void and incurably void. You keep telling me I should employ a solicitor, but, apart from being the best way to drain my pockets and for you to keep me under control, no solicitor could question what I have been questioning and being legally represented removes what should be the protection of Section 204. You have told me there is remedy for me in the process, but when the proceedings are void, it is as if they never happened. There is nothing for a higher judge to review, but I can rely on the fact that prior proceedings are void if it comes to any future proceedings.

No fair-minded and informed person could be left in any doubt that you have acted with bias or apparent bias in cases in which I have been involved.

I now have a conviction for contempt of court and a prison record. Will the court quash that conviction and ensure the prison record is expunged?”

There followed a statement by the sheriff in which he said that procedural matters were nothing to do with him, that he had taken the judicial oath and had acted at all times in accordance with it. He pointed out that, even if he had made a judgment against me in the past, that did not indicate any bias. I responded by saying it was not the fact of any judgment, but that he had presided over a hearing of which I had not intimation, at which I had no opportunity to defend myself because I was not present and at which I had been convicted of contempt of court and given a prison sentence.

This had no effect and he ended proceedings by saying he was not going to recuse himself.