The Chronicles of Chill: The Scroll de Minimis

It came to pass, in the year of electora federalis, that Jegatrix the Head Umpire revealed the names of they who would contend for the crown of the 37 kingdoms. At that time, all in the land knew Gejoshaphat wanted to retain the crown, and that Gambrach – the severe man of Gunn – wished to regain it. Jegatrix announced 10 other men who desired the crown and lo, was there even a female contender, Lady Rémy of French Kowagitania. But the people were fixed on Gejoshaphat and Gambrach.

 

And in that day, about the severity of the severe man of Gunn was there great grumbling, for it was proclaimed that he only permitted a smile to crack his lips when there was a military drill to be planned. Gambrach’s heart was troubled and burdened by this, for in his heart he felt he was not a severe man at all. Whilst he slept, an angel appeared to him saying, “Gambrach, man of discipline and severity, we have seen your anguish over who the people say you are and now bring this message to you from on high. Unleash the engraving of your daughter unto the Twillistines and you shall be Zahrafied.”

 

Thus did the Zahrafication of Gambrach take place, for all were swayed by the beauty of the daughter of Gambrach and the lack of severity in her apparel. And from that day, was Gambrach no longer known as severe. All hail the Zahrafication, because in a season of great unchill, it brought peace and tranquillity to the waters of Twilistia and Social Mediana.

 

But all was still not well with Gambrach, for though Jegatrix had pronounced him a contender for the electora federalis, the house of Padipalia, from which Gejoshaphat hailed, brought a supplication unto the people. They levelled accusation against Gambrach, declaring him not to be possessed of Scroll de Minimis of Learning.

 

The Scroll de Minimis, generally attained by children of learning at the end of educatio basicus, had been declared by the supreme law of the land to be tendered by any contender for the crown of the 37 kingdoms. However, the law didst also give Jegatrix, Head Umpire, such discretion as to determine if a candidate had an equivalent to the Scroll de Minimis. Padipalia was displeasured by the certification of Gambrach by Jegatrix.

 

“Hear ye, this day”, they cried, “and know ye by these presents, that Gambrach cannot contend at electora federalis; for he is not possessed of the Scroll de Minimis!”

 

“He cannot contend! He must be disqualified!” came the cries from some quarters of Social Mediana. Others replied “Even if Gambrach presented a Scroll of Masonry from a bricklayer, yea, would I still stand with him.”

 

Of course, there again began unchill.

 

“Peace, be still!” cried Gambrach. “Know ye not that I have once worn the Crown of the 37 kingdoms?”

 

“Like the Kingdom of God that suffereth violence, thou takest the Crown by force, at the time”, sounded the reply. “We shall not reckon with it.”

 

“Then take ye heed”, said Gambrach, “that my Scroll de Minimis resides at the Records Palace of the men of Gunn.”

 

“Dost thou not possess a copy? Shew it to all, that this matter may be put to rest.”

 

“But consider that I could not have been a senior man of Gunn without the Scroll de Minimis.”

 

“It should therefore not trouble you to shew it, shouldst it?”

 

“But I have contended for the crown for 3 quadrannia now. Surely this means, I am possessed of the Scroll de Minimis??!!??”

 

“We wouldst no longer doubt, if thou wert to shew us a copy.”

 

 

And the unchill rumbled between the 2 houses and all their followers in Twilistia and the ends of the earth.

 

Finally, the scribe of the men of Gunn, cam forth with a proclamation, saying thus-

 

“Gambrach is one of us, distinguished and revered by all men of Gunn, past, present and future. We wouldst not descend into the arena of controversy with thee. Thee of various places, who have come here to seek his Scroll de Minimis, now take ye heed and know this: There is no record of his Scroll here at our Records Palace. Yea, indeed, is there a parchment from the head tutor at his educatio basicus, and evidence of grades awarded in subjects towards the Scroll, but of the Scroll de Minimis itself, we cannot remove obscurity any further.”

 

And the Pharisees of the land raged on either side of the divide, with they of the fence ducking to avoid the missiles and invectives being deployed. As it was stated in the book of prophecy, “in that day will learned brother turn against learned brother and the unlearned amongst themselves; and yea, will only the wise seize upon the unchill to set some P.

Unchill returneth for good.

 

Here endeth the Chronicles, for the tword cometh upon the chronicler, instructing him of another quest. Ye shall read from him again, but lo, the spirit departs from Twilistia to a land of chill and rest.

The JUSUN Strike: 7 Things (Guest Post by Damola Layonu, @snagapus)

On 2nd January 2015, the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) called an indefinite nationwide strike of all judiciary staff, the last resort in a bid to compel the Federal Government to comply with the Court’s decision in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/66/2013; JUSUN vs. National Judicial Council, ordering that funds accruing to the judiciary from the Federal Account be henceforth paid directly to the heads of courts of the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory. Below are 7 likely fallouts of this –

  1. “Wrong place at the wrong time abi? Na so.” *yinmu*

 

Justice delayed is justice denied, and no mistake! Whether your doppelganger (look-alike) stole bread in the market, or you had a sordid affair with the local Inspector’s wife, if you’re in jail waiting to post bail, think again. The nightmare is just beginning. Get comfortable…or…UN-comfortable as the case may be. You may be staying a while.

 

  1. Waiting for trial? You’re on a LOOOOOONG thing”

 

For two straight days, John Bull and Dauda, the two ‘presidos’ of your cell have made your stay…interesting. There are rats, there are mosquitoes, and you are faced with the shocking realisation that hypothermia is possible in this hot country! You actually have an excellent lawyer, one who might be able to get you off the hook…IF he could just get you a trial date. DARN! The ingenious defence your lawyer has somehow managed to conjure won’t see the light of day for quite some time. Please refer to No.1 above.

 

  1. “Default Penalties: To pay, or not to pay?”

 

At court, every move a lawyer makes – when to file, when to respond, when to serve – is timed. If he exceeds the stipulated time, he just applies for an extension, right? WRONG! What happens if time runs out during the strike? Does he still apply for an extension of time? If so, what reasons does he give? Whose inadvertence (mistake) should the court excuse? Does he pay penalties? If he decides (rightly so, in my opinion) not to, can the Registry lawfully reject his filing? If the Registry refuses, what’s his next move? So many questions! Arrggghhhh!!!! *pulls out hair*

 

  1. “I just got back…for good”

 

You escaped the shores of our blessed country, and have settled somewhere on the Continent, in the Carribean, the Orient or maybe further away than that. One day, you receive a subpoena, summoning you home to give crucial evidence in a case for/against your brother/mother/godmother/company/uncle’s sister/doctor/babalawo etc. and here you are, prepped and ready to destroy the opposition’s case. What now? Just pop back home for a bit? I think not. The strike could end at any time and your absence from court might just put the case in jeopardy, or worse, be deemed contempt, putting you at risk of jail-time the minute you return.

 

  1. “Adjourned to the 29th of Never”

 

Any Nigerian lawyer worth his salt knows that the Court Registries have backlogs – files awaiting re-assignment, rulings that have not been delivered (or written, for that matter, in some cases), and last but not least, suits awaiting adjournment. What is another likely impact of the strike? That’s’ right – MORE files awaiting re-assignment, rulings that have not been delivered/written and suits awaiting adjournment. Good luck with that, guys!

 

  1. “Professional fees, but UN-professional expenses?”

 

Most firms take an initial deposit on account and then settle the balance upon conclusion of a lawsuit. Expenses, however, accumulate during the course of the suit, and may be calculated based on a number of factors including lawyers’ attendance at court. So the question is – Should lawyers still claim their expenses for court attendance even though they KNOW the courts aren’t sitting?

 

  1. “Winner takes (and keeps) all”

 

It’s election season again, or for some lawyers, early Christmas. Every election seems to breed more disgruntled politicians, claiming they won the primaries within their respective parties. Lawyers rub their hands in glee, knowing fully well that the egoes of those passed over will inevitably kick in, the court battles will begin, and the money will follow. Well, sorry lawyers, no Christmas for you this term. And as for the petitioners, we are equally sorry. For if you lost the primaries, you lost FOR REAL. No take-backsies!

 

Now, while I acknowledge that this industrial action may bode serious and detrimental implications and effects, I think looking on the lighter side of things helps. So here’s hoping the strike ends soon and that you at least got a giggle out of this.

Panic in Haramistan as Boko Haram now Deadlier than Ebola

Newsweek highlights in this report that Boko Haram has killed more people than Ebola. Boko Haram is deadlier than Ebola. And you know, these things are especially true when reported in foreign publications.

 

As a result of this news, the government of Haramistan, formerly part of North-Eastern has announced the following measures to combat the scourge.

 

  1. Hand-Sanitisers are to be installed in all POW and concentration camps in the bushes and forests.
  2. Prisoners, orphans and amputees cannot exchange handshakes after prayers. Good sanitation and personal hygiene must be maintained at all times.
  3. All schools are closed until the WHO pronounces the region free of Boko Haram. This can only happen 40 days after the last person killed by Boko Haram has died, so parents whose children have not yet been killed or kidnapped should find ways to occupy their children at home.
  4. A containment centre for all persons afflicted by Boko Haram has been set up. Haramistani death workers will embark on a house-to-house patrol in their hazardous equipment suits to bring the scourge to a halt.
  5. Infrared thermometers will be deployed at the Haramistani airport and all other transportation routes into the territory, to ensure that Boko Haram does not enter via the ports.

 

The government of Haramistan is confident that these measures will bring Boko Haram under control and return killing supremacy to Ebola.

Drunken Love (the Consent remix)

 

“Not in a position to give consent” really means not in a position to withdraw it, no pun intended. At least that’s how I read the report of the proceedings in which Ched Evans was denied leave to appeal his conviction. I think this principle skews the balance of justice irretrievably in favour of the accuser, in accusations of non-violent rape, and I’m not certain it’s a good thing.

First of all, however, let’s get some ad hominems out of the way. I am male, the gender more likely to be accused of committing rape. I am the first of four sons and I grew up with no sisters. So perhaps my position will be perceived as biased. However, I am also married (to a woman – one must clarify these days) and we have 3 daughters, for whose future I am always terribly concerned. So, maybe a little reverse ad hominem there too. In other words, I think my opinion will be balanced. At least a little.

My interest in this matter is mostly an academic one – a logical and jursiprudential look, as far as is possible in a non-academic piece such as this, at the events that led up to the conviction of Ched Evans. The facts of the case (here’s the link again) are that Evans and a “mate” of his had sexual intercourse with a very drunk girl, who claims she woke up the next morning hungover, without any memory of what had transpired the previous night. She’d arrived at the hotel where the incident took place in the company of Evans’s friend (McDonald) who, as we say in Lagos, “controlled his guy”. Evans arrived to meet the accuser “enthusiastically engaging in consensual sex” with McDonald and claims she asked him to perform oral sex on her. After that, he proceeded to have penetrative intercourse with her. Long story short, after she woke up the next day she reported to the police and both men were charged. When she was examined and samples taken from her body, there was only evidence of intercourse; no bruises or injuries indicative of violence.

The thrust of the prosecution’s case was that the accuser was too drunk to have given her consent and therefore could not have given it. In a very technical (and almost convoluted) explanation, her memory loss was discounted, both at the trial and at the application for leave to appeal the judgement. Discounting her memory loss is significant for me because, what if she did consent but had forgotten? Rather, according to the judge when sentencing Evans, “…. [the complainant] was in no position to form a capacity to consent to sexual intercourse, and you, when you arrived, must have realised that.” I shall return to this shortly.

The jury, based on evidence of the accuser’s state as gathered from CCTV and witness testimony, acquitted McDonald but convicted Evans. I find this a little curious. If she was too drunk to have consented, as was the prosecution’s case, did going to the hotel with Evans indicate subliminal consent or did she somehow get drunker just before Evans came along? Note that (1) there was no evidence that she ingested more alcohol at the hotel; and (2) when she was tested at the police station, the following morning, there was no trace of alcohol left in her blood. On what basis did the jury deem that she consented to the sexual activity with McDonald but not to the one with Evans?

Then we return to the judge’s summation of the law, that the complainant was in no position to form a capacity to consent. Now, the thinking here is obviously to prevent vulnerable people from being taken advantage of; so that, for instance, men would not get away with intentionally intoxicating targets and putting them in that state of inebriation or incoherence to have their evil way with them. Fair enough. But it does not seem to me that the facts of this case fall under such precautionary jurisprudence. The implications for this on drunken, spontaneous (AND, hopefully, VERY SAFE) trysts, aside, it seems that what is being implied is that it is illegal to have coitus with a partner who is not in a position to communicate a withdrawal of consent.

I put the emphasis on withdrawal because, as these things go, except the sexual act is a transactional one lubricated by financial oils, consent is very rarely ever positively/verbally sought or communicated. Yes, sometimes, the guy asks if he can kiss the lady (I’ve been informed that this is not the preference of most ladies), but many other times, the man generally swoops in tentatively and sees consent or refusal in the lady’s response to his gesture.

Same for more advanced physical contact. You try first base, then second, then third, then go for the home run. It is extremely rare that consent is positively or categorically sought at each of these metaphorical stations. What usually happens is, when it seems like things are moving onward from any base, the uncomfortable lady communicates hesitation (during which moment, many a-weak man will say and promise anything to progress) or an outright NO, at which point, all well-mannered men retreat, albeit regretfully and konjilically. This is why I struggle a little with the reasoning behind “not in a position to form consent” in this case.

This piece does not seek to detract from the seriousness of non-consensual sexual activity. The only reason I’m even able to debate the case is because the crime alleged was not of the stalking or violent variety. I’m also not holding brief for Mr. Evans, and only the three people in the room know what actually occurred. Well, two, if one remembers that the third person had no recollection.

However, if she was so drunk that sex with Evans could not be deemed consensual, how is it that she was deemed sober enough to have consented to sex with McDonald? She was sober enough to agree to go to the hotel with a total stranger but too drunk to have consented to sex with a third party, even though the evidence of the 2 men involved as to what transpired in the room was not contradicted?

Rape is absolutely and completely deplorable and I understand that being a footballer is not a human right, but the facts here do not support Evans being treated like depraved, deviant sexual predator. This is as borderline as they come.

Furthermore, as this Slate piece (long read) suggests, while every accuser deserves to and should have her case investigated thoroughly, the fact of the accusation alone should not lead to a presumption of guilt and the unfair treatment of the accused.

UPDATE: On the 21st of April 2016, Ched Evans had his conviction quashed by the Court of Appeal and a retrial was ordered.

FURTHER UPDATE: On the 17th of October 2016, Ched Evans was found not guilty after the retrial.