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Back at Court of Session, Court 8, for Lord Doherty response on prorogation interim order request. Few #ScotlandInEurope folk posing for cameras outside.
Very busy courtroom. Public gallery near full. I’ve promoted myself to the press section. Clerk of Court runs through basic procedure for viewers. Quips that we ‘live in interesting times’. Court perhaps not usually such a spectator sport!
Cameras also in court recording proceedings - believe for BBC. Quite rare for a Scottish case to be filmed in the courtroom. Even live tweeting is also a fairly recent innovation now allowed when permission granted or accreditation received! ☺️
Lord Doherty enters. Court rises.
Doherty begins statement: Grateful to effort of Counsel preparing in short time available.
Doherty runs through the remedies sought by petitioners - the illegality of proroguing Parliament & an interdict against UK ministers to prorogue.
Doherty explains the case timeline, the scheduled hearing on September 6. This was ‘overtaken by events’ by the Queen’s Order in Council to prorogue Parliament. This led to request for interim interdict request.
Doherty: Essence of petitioners’ argument was advice given to 👸 was illegal & unconstitutional, being justiciable. Mr O’Neill moved for interim orders. Issue was considered overnight.
Doherty: I am not satisfied that there is a cogentneed for interim interdict to be granted at this stage. Petitioners interim request has been rejected.
Doherty: Substantial hearing should be moved forward to Tuesday or Wednesday next week, allowing for appeal before 9 September. Judge is calling for speedy justice.
Doherty: I will not decide whether petitioners have a prima facie case. Preferable to wait until full hearing - wise not to say anymore than is strictly necessary. Concludes.
Petitioners Counsel rises. Requesting full hearing is moved forward. ‘Matters have moved on.’ Motion for hearing on 2 September.
Petitioners’ Counsel: No reason to seek to delay the full hearing of substantive matter.
Doherty: If parties capable to go ahead on Tuesday that would be preferable.
Petitioners are seeking an affidavit from Boris Johnson on reasons for proroguing and would seek to cross question him in court.
Respondents’ Counsel: ‘My silence on the issue of an affidavit from the PM should not be taken as consent to such an affidavit.’
Respondents’ Counsel raise concern that they may not be available to move the hearing forward to Tuesday.
Petitioners’ Counsel: This hugely important issue should not be delayed a single day. This is a crucial issue for the country as a whole.
Doherty: Substantive Hearing is set for Tuesday. Interest of justice and public interest to proceed sooner rather than later.
Challenge to Boris Johnson clearly the headline from the hearing. Very political, of course. Presumption that he’ll run scared I’d imagine.
Big media huddle & #ScotlandInEurope campaigners outside the court. Legally, a small lost battle for petitioners. Main clash set for next Tuesday.
Petitioner @joannaccherry QC MP: Decision for urgent full hearing is a "victory", "vindication". Prime Minister should swear statement on oath & face cross-questioning in court. Thanks public support that has made court challenge possible.
@joannaccherry “My message to the Prime Minister is tell the truth. Have the courage of your convictions. Swear on oath the reasons for your prorogation.” @joannaccherry
@joannaccherry Whatever outcome at 1st instance next week, prorogation challenge likely to be appealed to the Inner House of the Court of Session & UK Supreme Court, @joannaccherry.
@joannaccherry I asked @joannaccherry if she’s worried about time running out. They've got a fortnight. “What could be a bigger emergency than the constitutional crisis in which we currently find ourselves?” Expects courts to recognise this & get UKSC verdict before any Sep.10th prorogation.
@joannaccherry This abuse of Parliament & democracy strengthens the case for Scottish independence, @joannaccherry. “The time to act on that is coming soon.” Suspending Parliament is something done in “dictatorships”. Only poll since Johnson took over put support for independence up to 52%.
@joannaccherry Therein ends the hearing & statements. Will post a short summary video in a wee bit separately. Thanks again for following & for the nice messages from all you constitutional-watchers out there! ☺️
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