Roger Hayes is the chair of the British Constitution Group, a group which campaigns for lawful rebellion against governmental intrusions like Parliament, magistrates, and council tax, on the basis of our rights under Magna Carta. This morning he was arrested and imprisoned in Liverpool Prison by a magistrate’s court, and my Facebook feed went mad.
His outfit’s website, UK Column, has put up a lengthy article, complete with references to secret trials, gulags, and the Stasi, about how this incident shows the the police state closing in on us. I personally found this rather unlikely given the hundreds and hundreds of groups that are busy looking for exactly that have not seen fit to mention this case.
So, I just called Merseyside Police Press Office, to see what was up. They said that the operation was conducted at the request of Wirral Council, who obtained an arrest warrant from a judge last week. The lady I spoke to wasn’t entirely certain what the arrest was for, but believed that it was for non-payment of Council Tax.
They said that they will be putting a tweet out about it shortly and that they have contacted UKColumn to ask them to take down the post they have put up because it’s totally inaccurate. They have received several phone calls about it already on the basis of that article, but it’s nothing to do with them, because they were just executing a warrant – they suggest that everyone take it up with Wirral Council instead.
I would also like to point out that the “secret trial without a jury” was, in fact, a trip to the magistrate’s court, which doesn’t use juries for anything. Court can fast-track cases as they like, and if the warrant was issued a week ago, setting a court date and then obliging someone to attend it when they refuse to turn up is not “secret”, either.
I’ll maintain an open mind as we learn more about this case, but this does seem a very straght-forward matter of Roger Hayes refusing to pay council tax, being arrested for it and fined, and being jailed after refusing to pay that fine, something which happens to people all over the country who aren’t advocates for our Magna Carta rights – there seems little conspiracy or emerging police state here.
Here’s Wirral Council’s phone number if you want to check it out yourself: (0151) 606 2000