Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dr. Toben's Latest Court Appearance

I am not given to exaggeration, but the court proceedings at Dr Toben's third hearing were dominated by an atmosphere of sinister lunacy.

It is true that the defence lawyer, Ben Watson, is excellent and produced some very cogent arguments relating to section 2 of the fast track EU wide extradition law, to the effect that this law had not been complied with by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The alleged offences that Dr Toben had committed related to the fact that he was an "anti-Semitic" and a "holocaust denier" and these dastardly deeds were carried between 2000 and 2004. However, the material referred to, the exact dates and the websites or printed material involved, were not named. Clearly it is not possible to defend oneself against something on this cosmic scale. The arguments were noted by the distraict judge, Daphne Wickham, and then promptly ignored - she just sat back and presided over this farce.

The CPS / Mannheim court barrister, Melanie Cumberland, made a number of crazed comments which went unchallenged. These comprised the following gems:

Firstly the internet is a "place."

Secondly denying reality is a crime - presumably relating to the "holocaust," but not specified.

Thirdly "holocaust denial" is equated with terrorism - a precedent quoted for fast-track deportation was that of some ETA terrorists, although the defence brief later pointed out that some details had to be supplied to the court on that occasion relating to command structure etc.
The CPS argue that Gerald Toben had already skipped bail on a previous occasion so should not be given bail. This related to an incident where he went to see the German authorities April 1999 to dispute allegations laid against him in and was promptly arrested and held in prison. He was released after his trial because, although he was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment, he had already served 7 months - this was on condition a fine (metage) of 6,000 marks ($3,500) - this was paid and he promptly left for Australia. The German court ruled that Gemany had no jurisdiction over Toben's on-line writings. However, the prosecution at the extradition hearing argued that he skipped bail, left the country and therefore forfeited the bail money and there is now so much rancour between defence and prosecution that they are not communicating with each other.

The judge commented that because of Toben's very extensive travelling in North America, the Middle East and Far East, i.e lecture tour, she could not be sure he would stay in the UK and refused to grant bail even to the next hearing on October 29 which is expected to produce a judgement on extradition. Toben is an Australian national and unlike Zundel does not have dual nationality with Germany which he left at ther age of six.

-An Observer

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