LORD ADVOCATE’S REFERENCE
Kreb Dragonrider’s Response
ruling on the four questions of the Lord Advocate’s Reference
Lords Prosser, Kirkwood, and Penrose
at the High Court of the Justiciary Edinburgh, 30th April 2001 INTRODUCTION
The Ruling on the Lord’s Advocate Reference was given by High Court Judges, Lord Prosser, Kirkwood, and Penrose, at the High Court of Justicary on 30th April 2001, in response to four questions put the High Court by the Lord Advocate:
1. In a trial under Scottish criminal procedure, is it competent to lead evidence as to the contents of customary international law as it applies to the United Kingdom?
2. Does any rule of customary international law justify a private individual in Scotland in damaging or destroying property in pursuit of his or her objection to the United Kingdom’s possession of nuclear weapons, its actions in placing such weapons at locations within Scotland or its policies in relation to such weapons?
3. Does the belief of an accused person that his or her actions are justified in law constitute a defence to a charge of malicious mischief or theft?
4. Is it a general defence to a criminal charge that the offence was committed in order to prevent or bring to an end the commission of an offence by another person?
The High Court met on two occasions to hear answers and discussions from both sides. For the Petitioner, the Right Honourable The Lord Hardie, and for the Respondent, Angie Zelter, Ulla Roder, and Ellen Moxley. Both sides were assisted in matters of law by barristers. The LAR were discussed in detail from 9th to 13th October 2000 and 14th to 17th November 2000. On 30th April 2001 the High Court gave rulings in response to the hearings.
Lord Prosser said, “The reference contains four questions for the court. The first raises a question of competency in law and we find in the negative. Each of the other three questions raises an issue of substantive law. All of these issues concern different aspects of possible defences to criminal charges on the basis that the act charged might be justified either as matter of customary international law or a matter of Scots law necessity. We answered each of these three questions in the negative.” (Guardian, 31st March 2001, page 8, article ’Faslane nuclear ruling overturned’.)
In other words, to the above four questions, the High Court Judges have answered: No, No, No, No. EFFECT OF RULING
The effect of the LAR ruling is that the disarmament of nuclear weapons by civilians is illegal. Another way of seeing this is, that threatening to use nuclear weapons by way of ’deterrence’ have become legalised within Scot and UK law. Peaceful people who, for example, commit criminal damage to a fence of Royal Naval Base at Faslane, are no longer permitted at court to offer a defence of upholding international law, or preventing a greater crime. It appears to be not illegal to actually or to threaten to detonate nuclear weapons – radioactive fireballs – in order to kill over one hundred thousand people (per warhead), to burn, to rip to shreds, to cause radiation sickness, to cause cancer, to cause abnormal births, to destroy churches, to destroy museums, to destroy law courts, to destroy hospitals, to destroy schools, to contaminate the land making it unfit to grow crops, to kill people mostly civilians including children, the elderly, the disabled, holy people. It appears to be not illegal to actually or to threaten to injure many times the number, to kill or injure other guest species that many humans hold dear such as dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, hamsters, fishes, birds – as well as livestock. MY RESPONSE TO THE RULING
Activists and supporters of Trident Ploughshares 2000, and campaigners against nuclear weapons, were hoping that the answers would be: Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes – to lend legal recognition of Scots Law (and UK Law) to the judgement made by the International Court of Justice. To wit: “The threat or use of nuclear weapons is generally contrary to international humanitarian law” (International Court Of Justice, Advisory Opinion, 8th July 1996, Opinion para 105, 2E). I am a member of Trident Ploughshares, who is (along with other members) committed to peaceful, safe, open, and publicly accountable disarmament of nuclear weapon systems. This I do because I do not wish to see our planet Earth wasted, nor do I wish to see civilisations thrown back to the stone age, nor do I wish to watch other people kill each other. I am also a devout Buddhist. I keep the five precepts, or training principles in high ethics. They are:
I undertake the training principle of abstaining from killing or harming sentient beings.
I undertake the training principle of abstaining from taking that which is not given.
I undertake the training principle of abstaining from sexual misconduct.
I undertake the training principle of abstaining from false, harsh, harmful, and trivial speech.
I undertake the training principle of abstaining from drinks and drugs tending to cloud the mind.
Therefore, I take very seriously the supreme ethic of not killing. I do not deliberately kill humans or animals, even if ordered to do so by the state. I do not deliberately kill or harm even insects. All human beings belong to planet Earth, and have come to live on Earth for a purpose. All humans have the right to life. Indeed animals have the right to life too, even insects. However, despite the presence of many harmless and peaceful people on Earth, there are many who are engaged in killing each other. The killing may be on an individual basis such as murder, or in large numbers such as in battles. The killing are motivated by hatred, by greed, and/or by ignorance. Murder appears to become legalised when rulers ’declare war’, and encourage and force others to engage in killing. At the top end of the scale of this mass killing, is to detonate weapons of mass destruction, in an orgy of hatred and killing. At the end of it, the planet is reduced to a charred and radioactive wasteland unfit for habitation. Places such as Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Bikini Island, and Chernobyl – would be a Sunday school picnic.
If I (and other peaceful people) can persuade others not to kill, and to take up the peaceful life, I would be very happy.
Well, I (and some others) worship Buddha. Others worship God. Yet others worship the Goddess. There are some who even worship Money.
But a few, foolishly, worship a false god called Nuclear Deterrence, and pray (p’raps on their knees) that no one has the courage or foolhardiness to let one nuclear warhead go off. For, if one do goes off, a cycle of vengeance will begin and spiral out of control, until perhaps the entire nuclear arsenal is released.
But imagine, should I survive a such a nuclear war I shall find myself in a desolate land, cities in ruin, farmland wasted by radioactive fallout. The dead unburied. No High Courts. No police stations. No job centres. No supermarkets. No money. We can imagine ourselves being plunged back to the stone age, except cavemen and cavewomen had access to a tribal social system, shelter, clean water, fruit trees, and their hunting grounds.
Therefore, in response to the High Court legalising Nuclear Deterrence, and in effectively making it lawful for those who possess nuclear weapons to threaten or actually kill: I do solemnly declare that:
1. I find the High Court to be in contempt of Peace.
2. I will no longer have any respect for UK law or Scots law. Instead, I shall go by high ethics, such as the Five Precepts of Lay Buddhism.
3. I will not cooperate with the judiciary of any land, especially in relation to any charges made against me in any actions to prevent nuclear war. I will choose whether or not to appear at court. I will not rise. I will not bow (I bow only to Buddhas and holy and peaceful people of all religions). I will offer a moral defence, but not a legal one. I am aware that people may hold me in contempt of court, but I find the court in contempt of peace.
4. I invite other people to take part in court contempt actions when attending my appearances in court. I thereby give license and freedom to other people, if they wish, to interrupt court proceedings in any non-violent way as they think fit – such as cross-dress, stand up, turn their backs, talk, heckle, pray, play music, sing, dance, eat, drink, walk about, display banners, act, play, laugh, hug, kiss, clap, blow whistles, cheer, and/or pretend to die (such as to dramatise a nuclear attack). This they may do at any diet or hearing that I am in appearance, whether plea, intermediate, or trial. legal warning – if you take part in court contempt actions, the judge or magistrate may call upon police constables to arrest you for ’contempt of court’. In so inviting others to take part in court contempt actions, I am aware that I am liable to be arrested for ’inciting people to commit criminal offences’. In this case, I am happy to so incite, as a result of my finding the law to be in contempt of peace.
5. I will continue to take no part in nuclear war, nor in preparation of nuclear war. I will publicly persuade others not to take part in the legalising, manufacture, or deployment, of nuclear weapons, any components of nuclear weapons, or their delivery vehicles.
6. I will continue to peacefully, safely, openly, and accountably disarm any part of component or vehicle of the nuclear weapons industry, as a member of Trident Ploughshares 2000, as a pledger against nuclear crime.
7. I proclaim that the law is an ass.
8. I send peace and love to every sentient beings on planet Earth.
9. Blessed be.
Signed and sealed.