2014 Da Lhiun v. Ardpresteir

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Din el Cort dels Edilicieux


Magniloqueu Épiqeu da Lhiun
Plaintiff
v.
BENEDITSCH ARDPRESTEIR
Defendant


Decided
5 May 2014/XXXV

Brief of the ruling
{{{ruling}}}

Opinion of the Court delivered by
Magistrate Owen Edwards


Ruling

PREFACE

I thank the plaintiff, defendant, and defence counsel for their patience through a difficult period personally for me; their forbearance is demonstration of so many of the good things about our fair nations. The case has been, on the whole, well-argued and well-mannered on both sides. I will attempt to render judgement in a concise but clear manner. This case has been very useful in interpreting “grey areas” of our legal system – just as the Grischun vs Cjantscheir case determined that the Corts are competent to try impeachments, and try them even when the defendant is no longer in post, this case has determined, if nothing else, that in Talossa libel per se is a misdemeanour, even where there is no material loss.

To reiterate the complaint brought (and relief sought) by the plaintiff:

CONVICT defendant Deputy Immigration Minister and Attorney-General Béneditsch Ardpresteir of a Class A Misdemeanour for intentful and untrue defamatory statement under 31RZ14 and its amending law 35RZ21, specifically 942.01 of the Civil and Criminal Codes of the State of Wisconsin, compelling him to remove such defamatory matter, and; CONVICT defendant of a Class I Felony under 946.12 subsection (3) of the Civil and Criminal Codes of the State of Wisconsin, and, if the Court deems reasonable; CANCEL the unsubstantiated dismissal of plaintiff as TALOSSAssistant, in light of an unrightful dismissal and facing the fact that the New Citizens Committee is scant of such volunteers, while the citizenship applications are numerous, thus rendering said dismissal null and void and reinstating plaintiff as TALOSSAssistant, and; IMPOSE civil disability upon defendant if he be thus convicted, under Talossan Statute 35RZ34, Section 2, Subsection 4

OPINION

The felony charge was dismissed with prejudice for want of evidence.

The request for civil relief was found to be untenable as the plaintiff had already returned to the post.

As relates to the misdemeanour charge, the defendant is hereby found guilty. Under a Restatement Test, the defendant's statement (“This is to notify that because of certain insubordinate activities Magniloqueu Épiqeu da Lhiun is being removed as a TALOSSAsisstant which is a position under the New Citizens Committee which in turn acts as a Department under the Ministry of Immigration.”) can be comfortably read as potentially defamatory. The defence's strongest argument related to various incendiary remarks made by the plaintiff. Though the defence never seems to have claimed a very direct link between the remarks and the termination, the counsel's argument assumes that link – the plaintiff was insubordinate and so the remarks made by the defendant were correct.

Let me briefly explain why I found this argument, in the final event, unconvincing. Firstly, of course, there is the debate over the term “insubordinate” - as no orders were disobeyed, under one definition no insubordination was committed, but under another it was. Which did the defendant intend? Did he mean that plaintiff had disobeyed orders or that he had been disrespectful? Given that no explanation was offered at the time, and the defence has been slightly cagey since as to the exact chain of events, we shall perhaps never know – but of course that does not make the defendant guilty. It simply muddies the water a little. If the defendant had been innocent, it would have been greatly in his interest to clarify the process involved in arriving at plaintiff's dismissal from the NCC (with the contentious “insubordinate” explanation attached).

Secondly, there is the question of the direction of plaintiff's remarks. Though the court accepts the relevance of said remarks to the case, it does not accept the necessity of defining them as insubordinate. The defence did not demonstrate that the remarks were made either TO the defendant, nor “at work”. In our strange electronic twilight world, so far as I can tell, all the incendiary remarks were made “in the public square”, directed at the general citizenry. I am disturbed at the idea of a subordinate who finds their superior wanting being gagged, and I find it hard to reconcile that with any useful definition of “insubordination”. Or perhaps the Tolpuddle Martyrs were truly being insubordinate – well, they paid through the nose for it.

Thirdly and finally, the defendant's immediate appointment of the plaintiff to an effectively more senior position seems to demonstrate no actually irremediable breakdown of trust and relationship occurred. Indeed, it casts even greater doubt upon the truth value of the allegedly defamatory remarks.

In summary, even under the defence's “fair play” definition of insubordination – and even if we assume that the remarks were the motivation for the dismissal – that definition does not seem to have obtained, given the context of plaintiff's remarks; even if said remarks had been stated directly to the defendant, or whilst “at work” to third parties, the defendant's near simultaneous appointment of the plaintiff to another post seems to give the lie to the claim that the defendant had taken the remarks as truly insubordinate.

SENTENCE Under 35RZ34, the defendant is sentenced as follows:

Under 2d, 4 weeks civil disability from national executive office, suspended for 4 weeks from this date (5th May 2014; suspension expires on 2nd June 2014, at which point the suspended punishment is rescinded).

Under 2g, a Judicial Reprimand. The defendant's erratic and very public criticism of the plaintiff's character could have had far worse effects on the plaintiff's career than it in fact did; in the case of a different election result and a remanned Immigration Ministry, he might well have been consigned to the country for some time. His success since is based on the present (and perhaps temporary) ascendency of an essentially different political class, not the innocuousness of the defendant's remarks. As a public figure of some importance within our great nation, the defendant owes it to himself and to the public to use his status with greater wisdom in future.

POINT OF ORDER For now, at least, the defendant has a route of appeal – if he should find error in this court's judgement, he may pursue it to the Uppermost Cort.


Statement by
Magistrate Owen Edwards

Transcript of Case

The proceedings of the case can be found here.