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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 36, No 11 May 30th, 1973


Photograph of the Magistrates Court

A significant confrontation occurred in the Magistrate's Court recently between Mr Trapski S.M. and counsel for William Alexander Hall, Mr Cleary. Hall had been accused of escaping from Porirua Hospital, where he had been committed under the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Act. Mr Cleary pointed out that as police evidence had stated, Hall had left the confines of the hospital grounds and returned shortly afterwards with two bottles of beer, which he had purchased in the Porirua shopping area. This did not amount to a full scale escape said Mr Cleary. He was about to offer further submissions when he was interupted. "I don't take that view," said Mr Trapski.

"Two bottles of beer are hardly enough to cause the downfall of others," replied the lawyer.

"I don't take that view," repeated Trapski. "I have access to better information than you. I understand that the defendant had more than two bottles of liquor."

Mr Cleary reminded Mr Trapski that a magistrate was bound to confine himself to the police summary. Mr Trapski denied this, wherepon Mr Cleary reaffirmed that the court should work from the facts presented. He said that his client had been in prison for two weeks and should be returned to Porirua. "If Porirua will have him," said Mr Trapski. The matter was finally adjourned to be dealt with in chambers.

Mr Cleary had good reason to suggest that the offence was minor and that his client should be removed from prison. The defendant had not escaped (no matter how much liquor he may have brought with his small allowance). He was also no less than seventy years old!! Mr Cleary later informed me that he "could have stood on his dignity and demanded that Trapski work from the police summary, and then appealed, but that would have been tough on the old guy," (who would have had to stay in prison during these additional legal proceedings.)

Mr Trapski's behaviour is quite consistent with his position as a judge in a commodity society. In such a society men and women are dealt with by their rulers according to their capacity to produce. The elderly and incapacitated are "worthless" to capitalism and are tolerated as a nuisance; bound to behave themselves at all times or be locked up, irespective of their state of health, age or aspirations.

Keen young lawyer of the week: Rodney 'middle' Buddie, counsel for the Rama gang.

Keen young lawyer of the week: Rodney 'middle' Buddie, counsel for the Rama gang.