‘Be ye never so high, the law is above you’

Manchester Mags

Although those words are often attributed to former Master of the Rolls, Tom Denning KC, they were in fact first written by Dr Thomas Fuller, a physician, preacher and intellectual, in 1733.

One man to whom those words well might be addressed, and not least today, is 48 year old Raja Miah, an unemployed, failed charity and free schools operator from Mossley in Tameside, Greater Manchester.

Whilst attending a case management hearing at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court this morning, he posed for a photograph in the court waiting room and, thereafter, posted it on his disgraced, frequently banned Recusant Nine Facebook page. Along with a disparaging remark about the court’s general functioning and ability to dispense justice.

Pictured alongside Miah was 84 year old failed politician and self-admitted public nuisance, Warren Bates, who made that comment, according to Miah.

Raja Miah has pleaded not guilty to two offences, described by Greater Manchester Police as harassment of a 38 year woman and the sending of malicious communications to a 42 year old woman. There are two trials due to listed for later in the year. He robustly denies any wrongdoing and provides what is, virtually, a weekly running commentary on his thoughts about the police, prosecutors, and at least one of the complainants. He has also outlined a key strand of his defence strategy, in open space.

The taking of the photograph at court does, however, present both Miah and Bates with a quite different problem. It can amount to contempt as set out in the High Court case, Solicitor General v Cox [2016] EWHC 1241 (QB) (read in full here), despite it being a summary offence under section 41 of the Criminal Justice Act 1925. In that case, the taking of photographs was also aggravated by posts on Facebook.

As Mr Justice Ouseley records in his judgement, ‘Criminal contempt, in essence, is based on conduct that denotes wilful defiance or disrespect towards the court. or that wilfully challenges or affronts the authority of the court as the guardian of the rule law and thus interferes with the due administration of justice’.

As a court reporter, accredited by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service, the author of this article, Neil Wilby, is duty bound to draw the matter to the attention of the Resident District Judge at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court, the Attorney General’s Office and Greater Manchester Police.

UPDATE: Raja Miah has not contacted me directly and exercised his right of reply. He has, however, stated in another Facebook post since, to the effect that the subject photograph was taken in a coffee shop and not the court waiting room. Which was how he captioned it.

He is due next at the same Magistrates’ Court on 12th April, 2022 when dates will be set for the two criminal trials.

Page last updated at 1045hrs on Thursday 4th March, 2022

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Photo credit: HMCTS

© Neil Wilby 2015-2022. Unauthorised use, or reproduction, of the material contained in this article, without permission from the author, is strictly prohibited. Extracts from, and links to, the article (or blog) may be used, provided that credit is given to Neil Wilby, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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