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Council tax rebel raises stakes

9th March 2011

Civil Liberty correspondent

 
Protestors demand lawful action from judges
Protestors demand lawful action from judges
 
Wirral Council is taking Roger Hayes to Birkenhead county court for non-payment of council tax.

Mr Hayes, chairman of The British Constitution Group, claims the council tax is illegal and imposed without his consent.

His stand has won support from all over the country, and demonstrators travelled miles to protest outside the court building.

But, as judge Michael Peake tried to get the case under way, Mr Hayes repeatedly demanded whether he was "on oath of office".

Judge Peake insisted it was a "properly constituted court", and said if Mr Hayes had a complaint it was an issue he could take up later.

But Mr Hayes again asked if he was on oath of office and when he did not get an answer he was happy with, said: "Sir, I am obliged to arrest you for contempt of court and treason."

Two supporters of Mr Hayes then attempted to make the arrest but were stopped by police."

Now the stakes are being raised. More from the Wirral Globe.

A Wirral man who led a tax rebel protest to “arrest” a judge attended a court hearing of his supporters today - and demanded a warrant be served to arrest Merseyside Chief Constable.

Roger Hayes, chairman of the British Constitution Group, applied at Wirral Magistrates' Court to have Jon Murphy arrested following Monday's demonstration.

Mr Hayes, of Wallasey, believes police should have actually helped members of the public arrest the judge.

Yesterday, his bankruptcy hearing for non-payment of council tax ended in uproar when his supporters - several hundred of whom had massed outside - stormed Birkenhead County Court and "arrested" Judge Michael Peake.

Protestors from the public gallery charged at Mr Peake to make a civil arrest chanting “arrest that judge”.

Police scrambled over court benches to control the near riot and one protestor shouted “seal the court.”

Another sat in the judge’s chair and declared Mr Hayes be “released”.

Deafening cheers and chants could be heard from the crowd outside the courts and demonstrators used mobile phones to film arrests being made.

Today Mr Hayes told District Judge Lomax at magistrates' court: “In county court, we arrested Judge Peake for treason and contempt of court.”

However, District Judge Lomax refused the application saying it was for “self-publicity” and that it was not coming before the court with “clean hands”.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Hayes told the Globe: “We will now take this application to a higher court and appeal the judge’s decision to not issue a warrant to the chief constable.

“A key point in all of this is that I am happy to pay council tax, provided it is lawful.

"The way council tax is being applied is unlawful. I have written to Wirral Council but they will not reply to my letters. We are calling for everyone, under common law, to stop paying their council tax until change comes.”

Also appearing before the Wirral bench following the protest was Jay Doyle, of Dacey Road from Anfield, who pleaded guilty to breach of peace.

Steven Aspinall, 43, from Burnley, and Malcolm Massey, 31, of no fixed address, both denied charges of violent disorder and will appear at Wirral Magistrates on May 3 for committal to crown court.

They were released on bail on the condition that they do not enter any court building in the UK unless there is a pre-arranged appointment to do so.

A fourth man, known to the court as ‘Person B’ because he refused to give personal details, was to be given a summary trial yesterday.

A Merseyside Police spokesman said: "Merseyside Police is aware of an application for a warrant heard at Birkenhead Magistrates court this morning (8 March)"

 

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