- Russell Blackford
- Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019) and AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021).
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Wilders trial collapses
For those who missed this, the case will have to start all over as a result of blatant (and frankly incredible) judicial impropriety. What a farce this has all been, whatever you think of Wilders. I wonder whether the authorities will have the good sense to let it drop now. The only person who is getting any benefit at this stage is Wilders.
Posted by Russell Blackford at 6:02 pm
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Unfortunately, the authorities can not simply drop the charges - they have been instructed by the court to prosecute Mr. Wilders, even though the public prosecutor pleaded "not guilty" on nearly all charges.
This despicable process against this despicable person will continue, leading to ever more attention to Mr. Wilders and his populist agenda, as well as wasting precious tax-payer money and judiciaries' time.
"I wonder whether the authorities will have the good sense to let it drop now. The only person who is getting any benefit at this stage is Wilders."
It should have been obvious since the beginning that Wilders was trying to portray himself as a "victim" of censorship, thought-crime, whatever. (He even followed an old script, one provided by other right-wing politicians before him. Say socially inacceptable things about one minority or other, then cry wolf when it catches up with him...) He knew from the beginning that what he was saying was considered outside the social contract in his country. Of course, it helps that he choosed to say things that could pass under the American First Amendment and that the tribunal of international opinion is largely anglo-saxon and extra-european.
BTW, I used to think it was a good thing to have laws against public baiting of racial and religious minorities, but harsh reality has shown, 9 times out of 10, that clever demagogues of the Wilders cut can run rings around that such laws. Now, I don't think American-style openness is in itself better (among other things, it favors a harsher kind of public discourse), it's just more open, and easier to identify.
What an utter, unmitigated disaster this prosecution has been. Here's hoping the Dutch cut their losses, show that they still respect free expression, and stop giving the clown more publicity.
Mr Borkeld, that sounds right. But is there no way the court can review its decision to require this prosecution? The prosecution doesn't seem to be in the public interest from any viewpoint.
The answer may simply be, "No."
Was the court that required the prosecution to continue the same court that has now been deemed unfit to hear the case? And if so, might that have any relevance?
I posted this at a related post but here it is again:
Judges in Geert Wilders’ Free Speech Case Removed from Trial
This article does name some names and from this, as far as I can make out, the judges making the original ruling to prosecute (even then against the advice of the public prosecutors) are quite different from the judges more lately dismissed.
However, Wilders has now filed a complaint against Judge Verheij, the president of the Amsterdam Higher Court and described in the article as "the court’s highest authority". So it seems that Wilders is taking the battle right to the top.
I don't know enough about legal processes to be able to tell if there is a way to stop all of this now. It doesn't look likely that it will come to a tidy end any time soon.
@ ColinGavaghan: "stop giving the clown more publicity"
I would agree that Wilders has a clownish appearance but take, for example, the following statement:
Wilders: my message to Muslims
If you read what he says while ignoring the photo above the text, can you identify a specific content in his message that is "clownish"?
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