Some people will try anything

I thought I’d seen all the pathetic excuses possible for trying to get out of legal proceedings (including seceding from Australia, declaring the Court to be a hotbed of Freemasons and/or claiming that the Constitution is invalid for spurious reasons). But this is one of the best:

Richard James Howarth was remanded to appear in the Ipswich Magistrate’s Court to answer a string of traffic offences, including four counts of driving with a blood alcohol content more than three times the legal limit.

However, his lawyers said he failed to appear after having earlier informed them he would not talk to them because he is was [sic] the almighty and above answering to Queensland laws.

Early this month, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service solicitor Kevin Rose, for Howarth, told the court his client refused his office’s attempts to talk to them.

A court and a mental health expert have already deemed Howarth was mentally fit for trial, but Mr Rose maintained he has obvious mental health issues.

Mr Rose said he did not doubt Howarth genuinely believed he was God.

The Magistrate issued a warrant for Howarth’s arrest. Now if Howarth can turn the handcuffs into loaves and fishes, he might have some possibility of being believed…

Incidentally, if he is God, I have a number of questions for Him:

  • Why do bad things happen to good people?
  • Whose God are you? It would sure help if You mediated some religious conflicts waged in Your name.
  • What is your point of view about homosexuality? (a la Southpark)
  • If you are God, why couldn’t you just magic the alcohol away from your bloodstream before you got into the car? (I’m thinking here of Aziraphale and Crowley in Good Omens

(Via Iain Hall)


A friend has asked that I recount one of my own craziest litigant in person stories. I came across this litigant in person who had exhibited the Magna Carta to his affidavit. Now that’s pretty stock standard with these guys. But the extraordinary thing was that his primary source for the Magna Carta seemed to be a novelty tea towel. I’m guessing it was a tea towel because of the fabric weave visible in the photocopy. Also there was kitschy gothic script. None of the judges commented on it, and I’m not sure that anyone else noticed.


Filed under cars, courts, crazy stuff, criminal law, driving, law, mental illness, religion

4 responses to “Some people will try anything

  1. LE, that is gold. I love that the judges let him get away with it, too.

    Where would we be without crazy people?

  2. Nicole

    I knew I remembered it was a good story! I wish I could get one of those tea towels myself…

  3. Then again, the standard of offering a bible in our courts, or the (often erroneous) use of the Koran in Sharia, lends support to the existence of a deity that has no basis in evidence, and thus makes it logically inconsistent to pooh-pooh the claims of such idiots, as the courts support the underlying assumptions.

    The law should excise all elements of any theology.

  4. Dave, interesting point. The main ways that religion still comes into the law in Victoria today are the following:
    (a) Allowing people to swear on their holy book of choice;
    (b) Saying “God Save the Queen” when Court is opened; and
    (c) Opening of the Legal Year religious services.

    I take a relaxed view as to (a), because by allowing a person to swear on a particular book, the court is not sanctioning that religion, they are impressing on a witness the importance of telling the truth. Personally I have never sworn on the Bible or any other book, and I always affirm, but I do think people should be given a culturally/religiously appropriate choice. It is good that there is a choice not to use any holy book if you want to do so.

    As a Republican, I really hate (b). I don’t have anything against the Queen, but I certainly don’t want God to save her especially. I also don’t think it’s appropriate to mention God in the opening of the Court.

    As to (c), again I don’t have any problem, as long as the particular religious group is not saying God has the answers to legal disputes.

    As I’ve said before in relation to a post on this subject at A Roll of the Dice, I must confess that I have attended a number of synagogue services for the opening of the Legal Year. And I enjoyed them (admittedly those little plum cakes after the service may have played a part too in my enjoyment…mmm…none of the Christians got any food). In those instances, it was not so much about seeking divine guidance as confirming that fair, impartial judgment was an important part of both the Jewish faith and our legal system. From that point of view, I found the ceremony to be a positive thing.

    As I’ve said, I am a very firm believer in impartial judgment, regardless of faith, race, gender, sexuality or whatever. Insofar as opening of the legal year services serve to confirm and celebrate those principles, I’m all for them.

    However, I am a little disturbed by the concept of divine guidance and the courts: justice in the court can only be handed down by a man or woman, not God. Religion should only enter into judgment tangentially (eg, if the litigants have a particular religion which is relevant to the way in which they have behaved or something like that).

    If one is a religious judge, I believe that all one should pray for is for God to give you the strength and wisdom to make a fair decision, He (or She) can’t give you the answer. It’s a bit like my post on praying to God to win a soccer match – in my opinion you can’t pray to win the match, all you can pray for is for God to give you the strength to try. The rest is up to you. And so it is for judging too.

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