Roberts v Harkness [2018] VSCA 215

In Roberts v Harkness [2018] VSCA 215 the respondent challenged the jurisdiction of the court, over “a matter of a soul in a body living its fundamental and common law right to travel by the Blessing of Almighty God“. The magistrate excluded Mr Harkness from the courtroom on account of his persistent misbehaviour, summarily rejecting his objections without giving him the opportunity to make those submissions or providing due assistance to him as a litigant in person. The court held that in doing so, her Honour breached the rules of natural justice and his human right to a fair hearing, as the fact that Mr Harkness was evidently operating under the mistaken belief that there was some legal foundation for his assertion did not affect the content of the fair trial obligation. The appeal was upheld, the orders of the magistrate quashed and the charges were remitted to the Magistrates’ Court for rehearing.

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