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Private prosecution of PM for treason leads to vexatious litigant status

October 18th, 2007 · 20 Comments

It took an awfully long time — almost 15,000 words — for Justice Hansen to state the bleeding obvious in Attorney-General for the State of Victoria v Shaw [2007] VSC 1148, but in the circumstances, I well understand why his Honour desired to appeal-proof his judgment. Mr Shaw, who as a newly annointed vexatious litigant, must obtain leave of the Supreme Court before commencing proceedings, may be Victoria’s most unsuccessful litigant. He unsuccessfully sued (in many cases as private prosecutor of serious criminal offences) the Chief Magistrate, Masters Wheeler, Evans, Kings and Cain and Justice Smith of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal’s President Winneke, Justices of Appeal Brooking, Charles, Buchanan, and Chernov, the High Court’s Justices Kirby, Callinan, Crennan, Gummow, Heydon, Gleeson, and Hayne, the Commonwealth Governor-General, the Victorian and Commonwealth Directors of Public Prosecutions, the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Victoria, Rob Hulls and the Attorney-Generals of Tasmania and NSW, and Julia Gillard. He sued Kim Beazley and John Howard for treason and misprision of treason. He had been declared vexatious already in Western Australia, and took to suing a similar cast of Western Australians in Victorian courts — for an enumeration of these actions, see the judgment…

Of course there were the predictable forms of hopeful litigation, such as the defence of speeding charges on the bases that ‘the Magistrate‚Äôs [sic.] Court at Werribee was never legally Constituted, because Victoria does not have a valid Constitution,’ and ‘The Queen of England has abdicated her role as DEFENDER OF THE FAITH, that faith being Christian, by abdicating to the foreign power of Freemasonry’. But one must admire the chutzpah in the attempt to convoke a grand jury under s. 354 of the Crimes Act, 1958 to rule on Mr Shaw’s arguments that:

(a) a Freemason conspiracy has corrupted the judiciary and the court process in Victoria;

(b) there is currently an illegal conspiracy, already commenced in Western Australia, to fracture the Commonwealth of Australia and create a republic in its place; and

(c) the Victorian Constitution is invalid and enacted without legal authority.

I have long been intrigued by the name of my fellow member of the Victorian Bar, Dr John Francis Patrick Cyril Colclough Walsh of Brannagh. I looked him up for the first time this evening, and found that he is the one-time Chancellor of the Greenwich University on Norfolk Island, set up by the Greenwich University Act 1998 (Norfolk Island). Dr Walsh, Mr Shaw’s counsel, made the following submission to Justice Hansen:

‘What Mr Shaw wants to do is to have these matters aired and the simplest way to get rid of this man who is a farmer is to have the matters heard before a jury and if the charges have no substance, if they are hopeless, if they lack merit as my learned friend puts it, the jury will see this quite clearly. Charges will be dismissed, the defendants will be free to go and Mr Shaw will go back to his farming activities, but until that day happens he is concerned.’

It was faintly reminiscent, I thought, of this passage commenting on the client from the memorandum to counsel of one of the allegedly negligent solicitors in Arthur J.S. Hall & Co (a firm) v Simons, the English case which abolished advocates’ immunity:

‘Cockbone is a typical farmer. He lives in cloud cuckoo land and will say whatever comes into his head at that particular moment. . . . The inadequacy and superficiality of these instructions is greatly regretted . . . Please conduct the case simply to the best of your ability with the information at your disposal. We are well aware it is less than adequate.’

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Tags: Abuse of process · Judges