I was going to write in answer to various Census questions people have posed but that can wait. There has been a large protest (and case adjourned) at the Birkenhead County Court leading to a number of arrests.
From reading between the lines in the article, those arrested were for breach of the peace, assaulting officers and obstructing police.
Let’s start off with a few words about Merseyside Police, however I will start this with the caveat that I wasn’t there but I have seen similar scenes before. Charges of assaulting officers is one of those charges used in order to get somebody in a van and a custody suite.
A previous case that I witnessed led to bruising of the person being arrested, four charges of assaulting a police officer (that were later dropped/dismissed in court). When the police face a mob of angry people at what they’re doing they can get their batons out and be quite emotional.
I’ve known a case where a person has been arrested for something trivial warranting say a £40 on the spot fine. However the police (who can in my experience be pretty brutal/heavy handed in sending a dozen cops to arrest one person dragging them out of a building without their feet touching the ground) must realise that their presence can inflame a situation especially where there is a crowd of people.
I’ve seen arrests where batons have been used and police have got very angry. Once police get emotional, their training can be forgotten in the heat of the moment. Often the charge of assaulting a police officer gets dropped or doesn’t stand up in court. Violence begets violence.
So getting back to the story and away from pure opinion on Merseyside Police, Wirral Council take someone to court for non-payment of Council Tax. Said person organises (or gets someone else to organise) a protest of six hundred people which turns into a riot. Court security can’t cope and call police. Police arrive and make arrests.
I’ll end on one thing. It’s a shame a Liberal Democrat government wasn’t elected, which would’ve abolished the Council Tax. Then all this time and expense, police time, Wirral Council legal department time, county court time etc etc wouldn’t have been required.
However, personally I think it is merely the start of what is to come.
There’s more about the protest here. I must admit that the article that refers to the protestors as BNP (who do hijack a lot of protests), hippies, dreadlocks, urban commandoes and those protesting “Judges are lizards” are certainly the strangest bunch of protesters I’ve heard about in a good while!
P.S. Judges in my experience always (try) in civil cases to treat litigants-in-person as fairly as possible to prevent grounds for appeal and in order to ensure justice. However as in all walks of live judges vary and some bad apples can bring the whole profession into disrepute.