Pigeon on the Wing – Chapter 1 – Judgment Day

    Chapter 1 – Judgment Day

Foreword: All chapters of Pigeon on the Wing published on this website are in draft form only. The final version may include grammatical, syntax and content changes, as well as sidebars and illustrations to maintain a level of interest and to stop readers’ eyes from glazing over. All comments and / or criticisms of content or writing style would be most welcome. Masterpieces like this don’t just write themselves, you know.

Seriously, though – this is your book just as much as it is mine. I couldn’t have even begun to write it without all of your help and support. Thank you so much for everything you have done for me, and I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

Tim Burton

Pigeon on the Wing – Chapter 1 – Judgment Day

“Twelve weeks.”

The words hung in the air like a malevolent mist on a winter’s day. I looked up from my reverie – I had been contemplating my journey home from the cold, unforgiving atmosphere of the Sentencing Hearing at Courtroom 4 of the Inner London Crown Court later that morning, and in my mind I was halfway between London and my Birmingham home, relaxing with my feet up on a Virgin Inter-City train, enjoying (if such a word may be permitted under the circumstances) one of British Rail’s most refined and delicate cheese and onion sandwiches, washed down with one of their celebrated Earl Grey teas, albeit served up in a nondescript white polystyrene cup.

“Twelve weeks.”

I frowned slightly. Surely I had misheard the judge – His Honour (who shall remain nameless for the purpose of my story, although a diligent researcher might easily uncover his identity), was, after all, renowned throughout the land as a most fair-minded example of the new liberal judiciary – a far cry from the notorious Hanging Judge Jeffreys of 17th century Dorset, or so I had been told, and most unlikely to submit to the crushing political correctness which was reported to be so pervasive in the British legal system in the 21st century. There was no way he would sentence a 64-year-old man with a previously clean record and a serious heart condition to prison, merely for sending a well-deserved handful of jocular, non-threatening emails to a pompous, arrogant, mendacious, grievance-mongering member of the British Establishment. Perhaps I had indeed misheard.

“Twelve weeks.”

I looked around. The courtroom was brightly lit, richly empanelled with wood that had become polished with age, and divided into sections for the various interested groups. The low hum of an air conditioner could just be discerned in the background. At the far end of the court, in front of me, elevated on a platform, was the bench on which the judge sat, embellished with the logo of the Inner London Crown Court and plainly designed to intimidate all those unfortunate enough to find themselves in the dock. To my left, on a bench presumably reserved for the assorted conglomeration of singularly ill-favoured weasels currently representing the British mainstream media, were four or five hacks, who occasionally glanced at me as they busily scribbled away in their notebooks. To my right were a series of benches, presumably for members of the public, which appeared to be vacant. (I later found that a handful of my faithful supporters were in fact in attendance in the public gallery, but hidden from my view by a wooden panel at the side of the dock.)

In front of me, in the well of the court, bewigged and cloaked in black silk gowns, and with all the self-important airs that one comes to associate with such members of the legal profession, were the prosecution lawyer and the defence lawyer, together with the Clerk of the Court and several other court functionaries. I myself was in the dock, behind a series of overlapping sheets of armour-plated glass – they don’t leave anything to chance in a Crown Court, I can tell you – and I was accompanied by a bored-looking Dock Officer dressed in a crumpled and down-at-heel uniform, sitting at a wooden table on the right-hand side of the dock. Every now and again he would look up from his half-completed Sun newspaper crossword to take a cursory interest in the proceedings. He seemed friendly enough, having offered me a biscuit and a glass of water at the start of the sentencing hearing, but I wasn’t about to engage him in conversation, as by now I was listening intently to the words of the judge as I began to realise that perhaps I wasn’t going home later that morning after all.

“Twelve weeks. And there will be a victim surcharge of eighty pounds.”

Eighty pounds? Eighty POUNDS? What a cheek, I thought. Talk about adding insult to injury. And a “victim surcharge”? There hadn’t even been a victim; merely a mendacious grievance-monger milking the situation for all that it was worth. This particular grievance-monger (about whom I will have more to say later) had sought to paint himself as a model of rectitude and pillar of the community, cruelly maligned, distressed, alarmed, and unfairly harassed by a bigoted, racist, far-right extremist, good-for-nothing “Islamophobe” (that would be me, apparently) – and the Court had swallowed his version of events hook, line and sinker.

Beside me, the Dock Officer stirred slightly and regarded me with interest, with a look similar to that of a well-fed Labrador who perhaps would have been quite happy reclining in front of a coal fire but was now anticipating a run around the local park in pursuit of his favourite ball. He put aside his newspaper with the half-completed crossword and rose to his feet. Brushing the biscuit crumbs from the front of his uniform, he moved to the back of the dock and, examining a set of keys that hung from his belt on a steel chain, he selected one and opened the rightmost of two doors. The door on the left, I knew led to freedom (for that was the way I had come in), but the door on the right that I presumed led to the cells underneath the court might as well have had a sign on it reading “Abandon Hope, all ye who enter here.”

I realised that the time had come and gone for me to bribe the Dock Officer to let me escape from the court dressed as a washerwoman in the manner of Toad from Toad Hall, so I rose from my chair with as much dignity as I could muster and stoically resigned myself to my fate. I picked up my rucksack from the chair next to where I had been sitting, and made my way through the door on the right, down the thirty or forty concrete steps to the labyrinth underneath the court. Behind me, I could hear the Dock Officer locking the door with an air of finality, as I stepped off the bottom stair and into a brightly lit corridor stretching for at least fifty yards in each direction. Two burly, uniformed male prison officers were there to greet me.

“Well, well, what have we here?” said the first prison officer. He was a tall, well-built man in his forties, swarthy and dark-haired, and surprisingly genial in his manner. His words echoed off the walls of the corridor like those of an overly enthusiastic demon receptionist welcoming a newcomer to Hades.  It has to be said that I wasn’t really sure exactly what to expect at this point, perhaps a water-boarding session or a stretch on a medieval rack followed by the attachment of some electrical jump leads to the more sensitive parts of my anatomy, but his words alleviated my fears, at least to the extent that I could feel a sense of calm starting to descend upon me.

It’s an odd thing, but at times of extreme stress I sometimes find that I am almost able to detach myself from my body and view the situation as a dispassionate observer. It’s difficult to say where this ability came from – I certainly don’t remember being able to call on it when I was a child – but I don’t think it would be unreasonable to put this down to my training in martial arts and meditation over the last thirty years. The Japanese call this sensation “no-mind” and with extensive practice it allows one to accept what is inevitable and to make the most of one’s situation, without wasting mental energy on ineffective strategies such as panic and anxiety.

The second prison officer examined his clipboard. “Timothy Burton? Not Tim Burton the famous film director? What’s a toff like you doing here?” He was younger than the first man, with wispy hair, a light complexion and accompanied by a disposition that was at least as equally genial as his colleague. Hearing his words, I was rather taken aback. I checked myself to see whether, perhaps in a fit of absent-mindedness while getting dressed that morning, I had clothed myself in some accoutrements that would have justified such a description, perhaps a top hat, or a monocle, white spats and a mahogany cane, but no, I was simply dressed in my blue suit, dark shoes and matching tie which I had donned for the occasion in a gesture of respect for the Court.

(I was surprised to find out later that many defendants turned up for court somewhat less well-turned-out, if not downright scruffy and unkempt. Call me old-fashioned, but I can’t help but feel that such an approach to sartorial matters would minimise their chances of a favourable outcome.

Then again, I had just been given twelve weeks by the judge, so perhaps my theory concerning the appropriate dress to wear at Court was not altogether as infallible as I might have first thought.)

The first prison officer indicated that I should stretch my arms out so that I could be thoroughly searched, patted down and screened with a metal-detecting wand, which emitted an unnerving screech as it hovered over my jacket pocket. Busted! I thought, as I was relieved of my house keys, nail clippers, wallet, and mobile phone, which were placed in a large polythene bag which had (ominously) already been labelled with my name. That was odd, I thought. It was almost if they had been expecting me for the past few days.

The second prison officer spoke again. “Follow me and we’ll get you processed.” He turned and led the way down the corridor to a room on the left, where a petite blonde woman sat at a desk with a computer, intently tapping away on the keyboard as if her life depended on it.

“It’s Burton, miss.” He motioned to me that I should relinquish my rucksack. I sat down at the side of the desk as he started to unpack all my worldly possessions, or at least those I had brought with me that morning. Not that I had brought a great deal, anticipating as I had that I would by now be on my way home, but all the same, it was an odd feeling to see my rucksack being pulled apart in such a way by the hands of a stranger.

“Don’t worry, we’ll keep this safe for you,” he said. “Although we’ll have to confiscate these food items.” He pulled out a couple of chocolate bars (that I had kept in my rucksack in case of an emergency) and placed them on a shelf, no doubt in order to subject them to a detailed forensic examination later.

The petite blonde woman studied the computer screen and then turned to me. “You’ll be going to Thameside, Mr Burton. Don’t worry, it’s an OK nick. And you’ve been given twelve weeks, which means you’ll be out in six.” She made it sound like a walk in the park.

“I’ll need to confirm a few details,” she continued, and proceeded to question me about every aspect of my existence since I was about five years old. Was I allergic to anything? (No, unless you count my sporadic outbreaks of hay fever). Did I have an alcohol or drugs dependency? (No, unless you count my heart medications, on which I could be said to be rather dependent, on the grounds that if I didn’t take them every day then my forthcoming sojourn at Her Majesty’s pleasure might be unexpectedly curtailed, and not in a good way). Did I have any diagnosed mental illness? How about an undiagnosed mental illness? Was I a member of a particular religious affiliation? I fought back the urge to say that I was either a Satanist or a Jedi Knight – as I had sensed that this might not be the right time to reveal my religious affiliations. Being unfamiliar with the proper etiquette to be observed when in custody, I had no desire to draw undue attention to myself lest I be immediately consigned to a straitjacket.

After this initial interrogation I was led to a holding cell. For those of you unaccustomed to the delights of the subterranean residences of the Inner London Crown Court, this was an enclosed space of about 12 feet by 12 feet with a concrete floor, a ceiling with a fluorescent  light set into it under a vandal-proof cover, brick walls painted with a faded shade of duck egg blue, and a concrete bench along one wall. There were no windows. There was a sound of creaking hinges as the thick steel door slammed shut behind me, a series of clunks and clicks as the key turned in the lock, and for the first time since sentence had been passed earlier that morning, I was utterly alone.

At that time it must have been about half past eleven in the morning, and  I wondered whether I might be moved straight away to the “OK nick” that was HMP Thameside, or whether I was going to be in this cell for a long stay. I sat down on the hard concrete bench provided and contemplated the separation from the outside world, thinking that I might as well look on the bright side – I hadn’t as yet been handcuffed, and I hadn’t as yet been forced into one of those trendy bright orange jumpsuits which I understand are all the fashion with the inmates of Guantanamo Bay. (Orange is not at all my favourite colour.)

However, after around thirty minutes, the cell hatch snapped open and yet another cheerful face appeared. I swear that they must select prison officers for their cheerfulness. I suppose that the average prison officer must face the prospect of an awful lot of disgruntled convicts, a category that I was fast in danger of joining, insofar that I was now most definitely a convict and could be said to be in the initial stages of being somewhat disgruntled. An overweening abundance of cheerfulness could definitely be considered to be a huge asset for a prison officer under such circumstances.

It has to be said that even if I was not completely disgruntled at this time, I was certainly a long way from being gruntled.

“You want some lunch?” said Mr Cheerful. “Uh – yes please,” said I, not wanting to subject Mr Cheerful to too much trouble on my behalf. For all I knew, Mr Cheerful might hold the keys that would make a difference between a pleasant stay in the holding cells, or a one-way trip to the water-boarding suite complete with a set of electrically operated testicular agitation devices.

“What do you want?” Well, blow me down with a feather, I thought. I hadn’t realised there was a choice. For a moment I contemplated selecting the Duck a L’Orange followed by the Chateaubriand steak and a bottle of Pol Roger ’61, but in the end I said – “Uh – What have you got?”

“Lasagne.”

“Is that it?”

“Yup. Although you can have two portions if you want.” Never having been one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I said “OK then – two portions would be great.” And to be fair, when it arrived in a micro-waved plastic dish, it was absolutely delicious. Not five-star Ritz hotel delicious maybe, but delicious enough for a starving, newly convicted reprobate like myself who has just seen his last chocolate bars for the next six weeks disappear in a metaphorical puff of smoke over the horizon.

The next few hours passed slowly, and I found myself engaging in any number of mentally distracting activities – counting the number of bricks in each wall of my cell, trying to gauge the length of the corridor outside by the footfall of the prison officers, listening to the incessant complaints of the man in the cell next to mine – “So why can’t I have a cigarette then? You bloody screws are all the same. You’re infringing my human rights!”

I was just starting to think that maybe they had forgotten about me and that I was destined to spend the next six weeks on a diet of truculent neighbours, lasagne and brick-counting, when there was the clunking of a key in the lock, the door opened and Mr Cheerful appeared again.

“Your brief’s here.”

Now, I can’t say that I was totally enamoured with my brief (defence lawyer). She had demonstrated remarkable incompetence during my trial, committing all sorts of cardinal errors that a barrister with 20 years experience should never have committed. (I later found out that the highlight of her career was defending the welfare of a bunch of scrofulous rabbits. (This is actually true, a factoid that I subsequently gleaned from the website of her Chambers in King’s Bench Walk). I don’t think she had prepared herself adequately for the defence of an actual human being, let alone a concerned patriot like myself. Prior to the trial, she hadn’t even read my defence notes properly, which had more than likely contributed to my current situation. Rest assured, dear reader, I will expand more on this later.

“How are you doing?” she said as she walked into my cell, motioning to Mr Cheerful that he should wait outside. She sat down on the concrete bench next to me. I could smell her perfume, straight out of Coco Chanel’s Come Hither Bunny Lover range of fragrances.

“I can’t complain,” I said, “the room service is very good, although I’m a little perplexed at why I’m down here in the first place. You assured me that there was no way the judge would hand down a custodial sentence given that I was of previous good character, that it was a non-violent offence and that I was suffering from a serious heart condition.”

“Yes, well, the judge wasn’t really in your corner from the start,” she breezed. (This was true enough. I have seen cornered rats that were more in my corner than that judge was.)

“But if you keep your head down and do what you’re told, you should be out in next to no time. In fact, if you volunteer for some of the prison jobs in the library, or the laundry room, or handing out meals in the canteen, you could be eligible for home detention with an ankle tag after as little as three days.”

This, dear reader, as I was to find out, was a fiction. A fiction, a lie, no doubt designed to distract my attention from the discussion of her dismal performance in court during my trial. I dare say that she had encountered several such tricky situations in her legal career, if her unprofessional and slapdash approach to my personal circumstances was anything to go by.

Oh, how easily are the newly convicted taken in by such falsehoods. Still, I felt I could do no more than to thank her for everything she had done, even though she was heading home to a life of comfort, luxury and presumably unrestricted no-holds-barred rabbit fondling, whilst I was to languish for the next six weeks in an environment that might hold no end of trials and tribulations. She exited the cell without a backward glance, and that was the last I saw of her. The cell door clicked shut behind her.

Two hours later, the door of the holding cell was unlocked again – and I was on my way to HMP Thameside, which was to be my home for the next six weeks.

End of Chapter 1

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Help to overturn an unjust conviction and strike a blow for justice.

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Appeal Against Unjust Conviction – Latest Update on Friday 16 February 2018

We have now reached the next stage of our quest to overturn my unjust conviction.

To recap – my conviction in March 2017 at Southwark Crown Court was brought about by an insidious combination of sly, deceitful and underhand processes – the connivance of the so-called “victim” (Fiyaz Mughal of Tell Mama) with the Crown Prosecution Service (on whose board he sits as an advisor) – together with a corrupt Crown Prosecution Witness, Dr. Matthew Wilkinson, who neglected to inform the court of his financial ties with the Crown Prosecution Service – combined with a singularly useless “chocolate teapot” of a Defence Barrister whose entire career (I have since discovered) was built on protecting the welfare of rabbits.

If only I had known that the only things that stood between me and a custodial sentence were a corrupt legal system and a singularly incompetent rabbit-hugger, I might well have intervened at an earlier stage. As it was, I entrusted my liberty and security to a flawed process, and paid the price.

Still, it could have been worse. I emerged from six weeks’ incarceration at Her Majesty’s pleasure with no more than a bruised ego and a simmering resentment of the Establishment – an entity that would place the “offended feelings” (of a member of a perpetually-offended group) above my right as a free-born Englishman to say what I truly felt – my right to say that Fiyaz Mughal was no more than a common criminal extorting money from the taxpayer by promoting the false narrative of Islamic victimhood and manipulating the figures of his organisation’s database accordingly.

As avid readers of my website will know, a judge at Southwark Crown Court declined to process my Contempt of Court application to hold to account the corrupt Crown Prosecution Witness, Dr Matthew Wilkinson, and the Royal Courts of Justice have ignored my appeal to get Southwark Crown Court to do their job. At any stage, an order could have been issued to say that my application had no merit, but neither the Crown Court nor the Royal Courts of Justice saw fit to do this.

The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that my application does indeed have merit, but to process it would be problematical from a political point of view, as it would call into question numerous high-profile cases of persons convicted of terrorism as a result of the testimony of Dr Matthew Wilkinson who are now serving time in high-security prisons.

Anyway, my barrister has recommended that now that six months has elapsed following my initial application (followed by numerous emails and telephone calls) none of which have elicited a satisfactory response, we should submit a formal complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman via the Complaints Resolver process.

Once again I have to ask you if you are able to assist with this process in financial terms – I hate having to ask but unfortunately I have no alternative if we are going to see this through. Every penny that you can spare at this crucial time would be most welcome, and as always, I will acknowledge every contribution personally.

Best regards,

Tim Burton

Donations: http://www.paypal.me/followthecat

A Travesty of Justice – and My Original Application for Contempt of Court

Dr Matthew Wilkinson

For the many patriots and supporters of justice who have been following this case, I will now be keeping you all up-to-date via the Counter Jihad Warrior website. Here is my original application to have the Crown Prosecution expert witness, Dr. Matthew Wilkinson, punished for Contempt of Court following my political show trial in March 2017. After nearly six months, we are “still” trying to have this application processed, however we have run into a wall of prevarication and obfuscation from the British legal system. As a consequence, we have stepped up the pressure by applying to the Royal Courts of Appeal, asking for them to adjudicate on the failure of HHJ Taylor of Southwark Crown Court (the lower court) to act according to established procedure and to provide us with a written judgment.

It’s interesting that the lower court could have simply replied to say that the application had no merit. The fact that the lower court did not do this says to my barrister that the application does indeed have merit, but to process it in my favour (which would result in my conviction being overturned) would cause the Government extreme embarrassment due to Dr. Matthew Wilkinson’s involvement with some other very high profile cases over the past few years – some of which relate to terrorism, and all of which would need to be revisited – with all of the enormous legal costs that would entail.

The application contains a lot of legal jargon, but is well worth reading to obtain a sense of the lengths that the British legal system will go to in order to protect prominent members of the Establishment and to achieve a result that serves as an example to others, no matter how unjust – i.e. the conviction of someone who cares passionately about free speech in this country and who opposes the insidious onslaught of Islamisation.

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Application to punish for contempt of court in the case of R. v. Timothy Burton (Southwark Crown Court, Case Ref: T20160559, 27-30/3/2017)

Timothy Burton (Applicant), Dr. Matthew Wilkinson (Respondent)

 Allegation

Introduction

  1. The basis of this application is that the respondent, Dr. Matthew Wilkinson, signed a statement of truth (in an expert’s report) which he either knew to be false or did not honestly believe to be true. This is contempt of court.
  2. Matthew Wilkinson acted as an expert witness for the prosecution (the Crown Prosecution Service or CPS) in the case of R. v. Timothy Burton, which was tried before Recorder Alex Gordon in the Southwark Crown Court from 27/3/2017 to 30/3/2017 (Case Ref: T20160559). He gave an expert opinion on the Islamic doctrine of taqiyya, which broadly means deception or lying, as discussed below.
  3. The defendant, Timothy Burton, was charged under s.32 Crime and Disorder Act 1998 with religiously aggravated harassment of a certain Fiyaz Mughal. Fiyaz Mughal is a Muslim who set up and was, until 2014 I believe, the head of an organization called ‘Tell Mama’, which allows people in the UK (generally Muslims of course) to report anti-Muslim ‘hate crimes’.
  4. The alleged offence consisted of a number of E-Mails which Timothy Burton sent to ‘Tell Mama’, but which the court found were intended for Fiyaz Mughal. The most important of these described Fiyaz Mughal as a ‘mendacious grievance-mongering taqiyya artist’; that is, a liar, as explained below.
  5. It is critical to note that the basis of this application is not that there was, in fact, a conflict of interest or that there was even a risk of a conflict of interest in the mind of the ordinary reasonable man, it is that Dr. Wilkinson knew that he had a duty to report any potential conflict of interest (it was for the court to decide the matter, not him), as per the CPS guidance quoted below, and that he either intentionally or recklessly did not disclose a potential conflict of interest and signed a statement of truth in his expert’s report to the effect that he had disclosed any potential conflict of interest, as per the CPS guidance, and that this conduct amounts to contempt of court.

Taqiyya

  1. This E-Mail gave rise to the question of what the word taqiyya means and whether to call a person a ‘taqiyya artist’is an insult from the point of view of a Muslim. I believe that the defendant’s position was that taqiyya is conduct mandated by the Koran and that, in the appropriate circumstances, using taqiyya is a praiseworthy thing. It follows that it cannot be an insult to describe a Muslim as a ‘taqiyya artist’, because, for Muslims, the term carries positive connotations; either lying to protect oneself or one’s fellow Muslims from harm or lying to advance the cause of Islam. In short, while lying might be a bad thing from Timothy Burton’s viewpoint, the particular type of lying (taqiyya) is a good thing from the viewpoint of a Muslim.
  2. In 2014, in relation to a separate incident, Mr. Timothy Burton had been charged with racially-aggravated harassment of Fiyaz Mughal in the Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, by using the same word, but had been found not guilty. In Timothy Burton’s mind, this amounted to confirmation by a court of law that using the word taqiyya could not amount to harassment, whether racial, religious or just plain vanilla. Mr. Burton’s expert witness in that case, Dutch scholar of Islam, Professor Hans Jansen, Houtsma Professor for Contemporary Islamic Thought in the Department of Arabic, Persian and Turkish at the University of Utrecht,explained that the doctrine of taqiyya involves both lying to protect oneself or other Muslims from possible harm and lying to advance the cause of Islam, and that the doctrine is acknowledged by leading Muslim theologians and commentaries on the Koran.
  3. Wilkinson was instructed to provide an expert opinion about:
    1. the linguistic and religious meanings of the Arabic word taqiyya;
    2. the sources of taqiyya in Islam;
    3. the historical practice of taqiyya and,
    4. the contemporary understanding and significance of taqiyya.
  4. In broad terms, Dr. Wilkinson, said that the doctrine of taqiyya allows Muslims to conceal, or lie about, their religion, but only when their lives (or the lives of fellow Muslims) are in danger. He rejected the notion that taqiyya could be used by Muslims in other circumstances; that is, to advance the cause of Islam by concealing the true nature of it (such as, say, by concealing the fact that Islam requires the murder of apostates). In Western culture, it may be acceptable to lie to avert some threat of harm, but it is generally not acceptable to lie in other circumstances. In short, one can see why, if the Koran does allow Muslims to lie when they are not in danger, they would want to conceal that fact.

Conflict of interest

  1. Wilkinson (a Muslim),runs an organization, Curriculum for Cohesion, a patron of which is, according to its website, a senior CPS employee (Ms. Baljit Ubhey OBE, who is Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP) for the Crown Prosecution Service in London); a connection he failed to disclose to the court. This is an extremely serious matter, as explained below.
  2. In this context see Toth v Jarman [2006] EWCA Civ 1028 at 99 and following. At 102 it says: ‘Where an expert has a material or significant conflict of interest, the court is likely to decline to act on his evidence, or indeed to give permission for his evidence to be adduced. This means it is important that a party who wishes to call an expert with a potential conflict of interest[my emphasis] should disclose details of that conflict at as early a stage in the proceedings as possible.’
  3. See also the CPS document ‘Expert Evidence’,(https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/assets/uploads/files/expert_evidence_first_edition_2014.pdf), p. 8, which says: ‘However, it is vital that any potential conflict[my emphasis] is disclosed to the court and other parties to the proceedings by the party wishing to call the expert as soon as possible, so that an informed decision can be made as to whether the expert is impartial and what weight to be attached to his evidence – see Toth v Jarman[2006] EWCA Civ. 1028 and R v Stubbs[2006] EWCA Crim. 2312.
  4. So, it is necessary to assess whether the conflict of interest is significant. Well, we have an expert witness who runs an organization and a patron of that organization is a senior employee of the prosecution authority (the CPS) for whom the expert witness prepared his expert’s report. I simply cannot see how such a relationship can be considered insignificant.
  5. In this context, see Pinochet, In re [1999] UKHL 1; [2000] 1 AC 119; [1999] 1 All ER 577; [1999] 2 WLR 272, where there was no question of actual bias on the part of the judge, merely a question of whether the judge’s interest in or connection to the case gave rise to a reasonable apprehension or suspicion on the part of a fair minded and informed member of the public that the judge (Lord Hoffmann) might be biased. In that case, reference was made to Lord Hewart’s famous dictum that it is “of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.” (see Rex v. Sussex Justices, Ex parte McCarthy [1924] KB 256, 259).
  6. So, not only is actual bias sufficient to disqualify a person, a reasonable perception of a risk of bias is enough (without any suggestion of actual bias). Even a reasonable suspicion of possible bias must be avoided.
  7. In Director General Of Fair Trading v Proprietary Association Of Great Britain & Ors [2000] EWCA Civ 350, a case binding on Southwark Crown Court, it was said at 41 (emphasis added): ‘We start our analysis of the authorities with the decision of the Divisional Court in Rex v Sussex Justices, ex p. McCarthy [1924] 1K.B. 256. That decision concerned a prosecution before the lay magistrates for dangerous driving. Unknown to the Defendant and his Solicitors, the Clerk to the Justices was a member of the firm of Solicitors acting in a civil claim against the Defendant arising out of the accident that had given rise to the prosecution. The Clerk retired with the Justices, who returned to convict the Defendant. On learning of the Clerk’s provenance, the Defendant applied to have the conviction quashed. The Justices swore affidavits stating that they had reached their decision to convict the Defendant without consulting their Clerk. In giving the leading Judgment Lord Hewart C.J. said at pp.258-9:

“It is said, and, no doubt, truly, that when that gentleman retired in the usual way with the justices, taking with him the notes of the evidence in case the justices might desire to consult him, the justices came to a conclusion without consulting him, and that he scrupulously abstained from referring to the case in any way. But while that is so, a long line of cases shows that it is not merely of some importance but is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done. The question therefore is not whether in this case the deputy clerk made any observation or offered any criticism which he might not properly have made or offered; the question is whether he was so related to the case in its civil aspect as to be unfit to act as clerk to the justices in the criminal matter. The answer to that question depends not upon what actually was done but upon what might appear to be done. Nothing is to be done which creates even a suspicion that there has been an improper interference with the course of justice. Speaking for myself, I accept the statements contained in the justices’ affidavit, but they show very clearly that the deputy clerk was connected with the case in a capacity which made it right that he should scrupulously abstain from referring to the matter in any way, although he retired with the justices; in other words, his one position was such that he could not, if he had been required to do so, discharge the duties which his other position involved. His twofold position was a manifest contradiction. In those circumstances I am satisfied that this conviction must be quashed, unless it can be shown that the applicant or his solicitor was aware of the point that might be taken, refrained from taking it, and took his chance of an acquittal on the facts, and then, on a conviction being recorded, decided to take the point. On the facts I am satisfied that there has been no waiver of the irregularity, and, that being so, the rule must be made absolute and the conviction quashed.”‘

 

  1. One further point. As a Muslim, Dr. Wilkinson must believe that there is no higher authority than the Muslim god, Allah. If he doesn’t believe this, then he is not a Muslim (and he therefore lied in his expert’s report when he said he was). It follows that Sharia law (the law of Allah) is, to a Muslim, superior to and overrides any man-made law, and a Muslim’s duty to obey that god-made law, and of loyalty to other Muslims, must override any man-made law, including the laws of England. Where there is a conflict between Sharia law and man-made law, a Muslim is bound to adhere to the former, as far as possible. If he does not do so, then he is not a Muslim and is subject to the penalty in Sharia law for apostasy; that is, death. This is an absolutely irreconcilable conflict of interest. Clearly, where Muslims are in a position of weakness (as, say, a minority in another country), they may have no option but to appear to outwardly accept the supremacy of a non-Sharia legal system, but this does not mean either that they inwardly accept the supremacy of that system or that they are absolved from doing everything they can to work towards the implementation of a Sharia legal system (that is, to make the country a Muslim one) or from doing everything they can to protect and further the interests of their fellow Muslims in the interim without obviously contravening existing laws. It follows that if they can contravene our laws and get away with it, they will. Necessarily, this involves an outward appearance of compliance, including doing such things as signing a statement of truth. This means that Dr. Wilkinson’s statement (‘I do not consider that any interest which I have disclosed affects mysuitability as an expert witness on any issues on which I have givenevidence.’is (must be) false.
  2. To say otherwise, and to allow Dr. Wilkinson to act as an expert witness, is directly comparable to allowing a witness to give evidence having sworn, on entering the witness box: ‘I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth – unless it conflicts with my duty as a [insert name of religion here].’This is because saying ‘I am a Muslim’ equates to saying ‘I acknowledge no other law than the law of Allah and I therefore do not acknowledge the supremacy of your laws.’There is no way on earth that any court in England would accept such an oath, so how can any court accept the glaring conflict of interest between Dr. Wilkinson’s duty to the court as an expert witness and his duty to the law of Allah and to his fellow Muslims as a Muslim – given that the latter necessarily (by virtue of Dr. Wilkinson’s faith) overrides the former?
  3. Ask yourself a simple question. How can someone who does not accept the supremacy of our laws over his religious beliefs honestly say that he acknowledges that he has an over-riding duty to the court? He can’t; so, when he says such a thing he is lying. Either he is lying when he says he is a Muslim or he is lying when he says that, as a Muslim, he acknowledges an over-riding duty to the court. Ask any Muslim in the street and (if he is unguarded – see above) he will tell you that Sharia law overrides man-made law. In fact, the truth of the matter is that he doesn’t recognize our laws as laws at all. He obeys our ‘laws’ (but only as far as he must) temporarily and out of necessity, that is all.

The statement of truth

  1. But there is a far more serious point. An expert witness is required to sign a statement of truth in which he certifies that he has disclosed, amongst other things, any interest or relationship which might affect (or might be considered likely to affect) his independence. The statement includes the words: ‘I know of no conflict of interest of any kind, other than any which I have disclosed in my report.’(CPD V, Evidence, 19B, ‘Statements of Understanding and Declarations of Truth in Expert Reports’). It is contempt of court to sign a statement of truth either knowing it to be false or not honestly believing it to be true.
  2. Note further that the statement of truth ends: ‘I confirm that the contents of this report are true to the best of my knowledge and belief and that I make this report knowing that, if it is tendered in evidence, I would be liable to prosecution if I have willfully stated anything which I know to be false or that I do not believe to be true.’(CPD V, Evidence, 19B, ‘Statements of Understanding and Declarations of Truth in Expert Reports’).
  3. Now ‘willfully’ means ‘recklessly’; that is, ‘careless as to the truth of’. This means that an actual intention to lie is not required; it is enough to be careless (reckless) as to whether what you say is true (that is, going ahead in spite of an awareness of a risk or likelihood of untruth). See Derry v Peek [1889] UKHL 1(http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKHL/1889/1.html): ‘Fraud is proved when it is shown that a false representation has been made (1) knowingly or (2) without belief in its truth or (3) recklessly, careless whether it is true or not.’ If recklessly making a false representation is sufficient to prove fraud, it is surely sufficient to prove contempt of court.
  4. Now, it is inconceivable that Dr. Wilkinson did not know about the relationship/connection; that is, that Ms. Baljit Ubhey OBE, who is Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP) for the Crown Prosecution Service in London, is a patron of the organization he runs. It is inconceivable that he was not aware that the relationship might reasonably be seen as giving rise to a risk of bias on his part (he prepared a report for an organization and a senior employee of that organization is a senior figure in the organization which he, Dr. Wilkinson, runs; a classic case of a relationship that could give rise to a bias or a perceived risk of bias). It follows that he must have known that he had a duty to disclose the relationship and deliberately chose not to do so. In other words, he intentionally concealed the relationship. Again, what matters here is not so much what was concealed but the patent dishonesty of the act of concealment. In short, we have an expert who is demonstrably dishonest. This is what matters. It is comparable to committing perjury in relation to a minor criminal offence; it is not the seriousness of the original offence that matters but the fact of lying to the court, which is what Dr. Wilkinson did. Bear in mind that Dr. Wilkinson has considerable experience of acting as an expert witness. It is not as if he was ‘the new kid on the block’. He has no excuse whatsoever.

Consequence of exclusion of expert’s report

  1. It becomes clear not only that Dr. Wilkinson’s report should be excluded, but becausehis report was an important element of the prosecution’s case (if it had been unimportant it would have been unnecessary to employ experts in the first place), the conviction cannot stand. See Regina v. Connor & Anor [2004] UKHL 2 (http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKHL/2004/2.html) at 5: ‘If there are substantial reasons to doubt the impartiality of the tribunal, the matter must be examined in order to determine whether there has been a breach of this fundamental guarantee [of an impartial tribunal]. That is so even if the reasons for doubt about the impartiality of the tribunal only emerged after the verdict. If there has been a breach [of Article 6 ECHR], the conviction cannot stand.’
  2. Article 6 ECHR (right to a fair trial) gives an absolute right to a hearing before an impartial tribunal. Where the state, in the form of the state prosecutor (CPS), employs an expert witness who deliberately conceals a relationship with that state prosecutor, how can it possibly be claimed that the tribunal is impartial (free from actual bias or a perceived risk of bias)? In the broader context of the right to a ‘fair trial’, a person clearly cannot have a fair trial where key evidence (an expert’s report in this case) is treated by the court as being impartial, and is admitted on that basis, when it clearly should have been excluded because of actual bias or a reasonable perception of a risk of bias.

The ‘best of deceivers’

  1. In addition to the above, an expert is required to state in his statement of truth that ‘I have endeavoured to include in my report those matters, of which I have knowledge or of which I have been made aware, that might adversely affect the validity of my opinion. I have clearly stated any qualifications to my opinion.’ (CPD V, Evidence, 19B, ‘Statements of Understanding and Declarations of Truth in Expert Reports’).
  2. Now, Dr. Wilkinson said, in essence, that lying is not mandated in Islam unless a person is in danger. Lying is therefore generally a bad thing in Islam, so to call someone a liar is to insult him, not praise him. This was the logic. But there are well-known verses in the Koran that describe Allah as the ‘best of deceivers’ or similar. The point is that, logically, Allah can do no wrong, so if he is the ‘best of deceivers’ (note not ‘worst’), this can only mean that deceiving (or lying) is a good thing; that is, if Allah does is, it must be good. This would appear to contradict Dr. Wilkinson’s argument.

*Qur’an 3:54-‘And they (the unbelievers) planned to deceive, and Allah planned to deceive (the unbelievers), and Allah is the best of deceivers.’

Qur’an 7:99-‘Are they then safe from Allah’s deception? No one feels safe from Allah’s deception except those that shall perish.’

Qur’an 8:30-‘And (remember) when the unbelievers plotted deception against you (O Muhammad), to imprison you, or kill you, or expel you. They plotted deception, but Allah also plotted deception; and Allah is the best of deceivers.’

  1. But the point is not whether the description of Allah as the ‘best of deceivers’ actually does contradict Dr. Wilkinson; it is that this clearly might adversely affect the validity of his opinion (the statement above says:‘…that might adversely affect the validity of my opinion.’). This means that Dr. Wilkinson had a duty to highlight the matter and to explain why lying in Islam is a bad thing in spite of the fact that Allah is described as the ‘best of deceivers’.

Tawriya

  1. Other Islamic teachings and caveats permit Muslims to deceive even fellow Muslims. For example, I believe that the doctrine of tawriya allows Muslims to lie in virtually all circumstances, provided that the lie is articulated in a way that it is technically true. The authoritative Hans Wehr Arabic-English Dictionary defines tawriya as ‘hiding, concealment; dissemblance, dissimulation, hypocrisy; equivocation, ambiguity, double-entendre, allusion.’ Conjugates of the trilateral root of the word, w-r-y, appear in the Quran in the context of hiding or concealing something (e.g. 5:31, 7:26).
  2. In other words, a central issue in the case was whether Islam allows Muslims to lie. Even if the doctrine of taqiyya does not allow Muslims to lie except when their lives are in danger, it appears that there is another doctrine in Islam (tawriya) which does allow Muslims to lie when their lives are not in danger. Dr. Wilkinson should have disclosed this fact; he should have said, in effect, that the questions about taqiyya are too narrow. In other words, Dr. Wilkinson gave a false overall impression that Islam does not allow lying. He had a duty to point out the broader truth.
  3. His failure to mention tawriya amounted to lying by omission.
  4. Further Sahih Bukhari (3, 49, 857) (http://sahih-bukhari.com/Pages/Bukhari_3_49.php), narrated by Um Kulthum bint Uqba states ‘That she heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “He who makes peace between the people by inventing good information or saying good things, is not a liar.”‘
  5. Thus, if a Muslims lies about a wrong he has done, denial of doing the wrong arguably ‘makes peace between the people’ in the sense that it avoids (or attempts to avoid) confrontation, accusations and so on that might result from the wrongdoing.

A strong prima facie case

  1. For the above reasons, it is submitted that Dr. Wilkinson:
    1. was aware that a senior CPS employee is a patron of an organization which he runs (Curriculum for Cohesion);
    2. was aware that this gave rise to a potential conflict of interest in relation to preparing an expert’s report for the CPS;
    3. was aware that he had a duty to disclose any potential conflict of interest (‘any’ being the word used in the CPS document ‘Expert Evidence’, as quoted above);
    4. therefore, either intentionally or willfully, he did not disclose that potential conflict of interest;
    5. was aware, as a Muslim scholar, of the ‘best of deceivers’ verses in the Koran (Dr. Wilkinson claims to have memorized large sections of the Koran and he was an Imam in the Mosque of Norwich from 1999 to 2003 and ran the Koran school there);
    6. was aware that these verses might affect the validity of his opinion on the subject of taqiyya (lying), orwas aware that others might think that these verses could affect the validity of his opinion and that he was therefore aware that he should, at the very least, explain why these verses do not affect the validity of his opinion (in other words, the verses are an obvious hurdle because they appear to say that lying (to further the cause of Islam) is mandated in Islam, whereas Dr. Wilkinson claims that it is not);
    7. therefore, either intentionally or willfully, he did not disclose those verses.
    8. was aware that there is a doctrine in Islam (tawriya) which does allow Muslims to lie;
    9. was aware that, to give a proper understanding of the broad issue of whether Islam allows Muslims to lie, he should have disclosed the existence of tawriya;
    10. therefore, either intentionally or willfully, he did not disclose the existence of tawriya.
  2. It is submitted, on this basis, that there is strong prima facie case that Dr. Wilkinson is in contempt of court.
  3. Note, in this context, that if Dr. Wilkinson is not aware of the ‘best of deceiver’ verses or the doctrine of tawriya then he can hardly be regarded as a scholar of Islam; in which case, he is not qualified to give an expert opinion in the first place.
  4. In short, if Dr. Wilkinson is aware of these matters then he should have disclosed them (in which case his expert’s report will have to be excluded on the basis that he knowingly excluded matters which he should have included); if he is not aware of these matters then he is not an expert (in which case his expert’s report will have to be excluded for that reason). Either way, his expert evidence must be excluded, and since that evidence was a significant part of the prosecution’s case, it is clear that excluding that evidence will necessarily mean that the conviction cannot stand.

Public interest

  1. If a person has been wrongly convicted largely on the basis of expert evidence which should not have been admitted in the first place, for the reasons stated above, then there is a clear public interest in doing justice to the person wronged. One of the most important aspects of a justice system is that it should be seen to make good its own mistakes (which will inevitably happen in the best of systems) as speedily and as effectively as possible. If mistakes or other wrongs of this nature are simply covered up to avoid embarrassing, exposing or punishing those responsible then, inevitably, the justice system will, over time, fall into disrepute – and when people cease to respect the justice system, respect for the rule of law (one of the essential pillars of an ordered and just society) will be eroded. With scandals like the Birmingham Six, Hillsborough, the Rotherham rape scandal and so on, we are dangerously far down that road already; so far down that it might already be impossible to save the situation. Every instance of this kind is another small nail in the coffin of a civilized and law-abiding democracy. When the short-term self-interest of those responsible in avoiding exposure and sanctions is weighed against the long-term interest in preserving respect for the justice system and, ultimately, the rule of law, where the public interest lies is obvious.
  2. The choice is clear; it is between the short-term aim of protecting certain individuals within, or associated with, the justice system and the long-term aims of maintaining respect for the justice system and the rule of law. Perhaps the justice system can survive just one more nail in the coffin. Maybe. Perhaps we haven’t quite reached the breaking point yet; the point at which people consider that the entire justice system is actually a criminal enterprise. Maybe.

Proceedings would be proportionate

  1. ‘Proportionate’ means ‘suited to the objective, need or problem’, which, in this case, means actions suited to (not excessive in relation to) the wrong that needs to be made good and to the aim of preserving respect for the impartiality of the justice system and the rule of law. In relation to the latter two objectives, it is difficult to envisage an action that would be disproportionate, given their over-riding importance. Certainly, sanctioning one person and overturning the conviction of another cannot be regarded as somehow unwarranted and excessive in that context.
  2. Proceedings for contempt of court are clearly proportionate in relation to the aim of doing justice to a person wrongly convicted (if he was wrongly convicted) and preserving respect for the impartiality of the justice system and the rule of law.

Conclusion

  1. Proceedings for contempt of court are in the public interest and would be proportionate, both in relation to the wrong that needs to be made good and in relation to the aim of preserving respect for the justice system and the rule of law.
  2. There is a strong prima facie case of contempt because Dr. Wilkinson:
    1. intentionally or willfully concealed a relationship which would give rise to a reasonable apprehension or suspicion on the part of a fair minded and informed member of the public that he might be biased;
    2. intentionally or willfully failed to explain the insurmountable conflict between his duty as a Muslim and his duty to the court;
    3. intentionally or willfully failed to identify matters which appear to directly contradict his opinion or which, at the very least, might be seen by the ordinary, reasonable man to adversely affect the validity of his opinion, and which therefore required explanation, as follows:
      1. the ‘best of deceivers’ verses;
      2. the doctrine of tawriya.

We respectfully request that you process this application in an appropriate and timely fashion.

Yours, etc

Tim Burton