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Magna Carta defence fails for Fife man convicted of driving offences

Reilly was convicted at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.
Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.

A Fife man has been convicted of driving offences and struggling violently with police at Kirkcaldy’s Justice of the Peace Court – despite putting up his own bizarre defence case.

Steve Higginson, 56, of Thornhill Drive, Kirkcaldy, denied driving without insurance and a valid MOT on January 15 this year as he claimed he did not need them, while he accused police officers of being “thugs” at the JP court on March 14, 2016.

Higginson, who represented himself during his trial at the town’s sheriff court, also handed Sheriff Alastair Brown a multiple page document as part of his defence which referred to the Magna Carta, and Australian and Canadian law among other sources.

The original Magna Carta inside the medieval Chapter House at Salisbury Cathedral.
The original Magna Carta inside the medieval Chapter House at Salisbury Cathedral.

However, Sheriff Brown dismissed that submission and found Higginson guilty on various charges, telling him: “Whoever drafted this does not have the slightest understanding of this or any other system of law.”

Higginson’s personal appearance came just a couple of weeks after a comical courtroom exchange via video link in which he repeatedly said: “I am a living man, the blood flows, the flesh moves – I wish for remedy.”

Flanked by three members of security staff, Higginson repeated that mantra on a number of occasions during Thursday’s proceedings and accused police of acting as a “terrorist organisation”.

Higginson was found guilty of repeatedly struggling violently and lashing out with his arms at Kirkcaldy’s JP court, and also behaving in a threatening and abusive manner at the town’s police station across the road.

Giving evidence, PCs Sean Ward and Ian Henderson told how they had struggled to gain control of Higginson after he refused to enter the dock.

‘One of strongest guys I’ve ever had to arrest’

PC Ward said his colleague had tried to handcuff Higginson’s right hand but sent the handcuffs “flying” as he flailed around, while he tried to cuff his left hand and use a technique called ‘drag to prone’ to bring him under control.

“We were basically pushed about as if we didn’t weigh too much at all,” he told the court.

“He’s probably one of the strongest guys I’ve ever had to arrest.”

Three other officers joined in before he was led to a cell at the police station.

PC Ward added that they returned to charge Higginson later that day and used the cell hatch for their own safety.

Both PC Ward and Henderson spoke of Higginson becoming agitated and picking up a cup of unidentified liquid which was hurled towards the hatch.

Higginson was also found guilty of driving without insurance and a valid MOT certificate on Kinghorn Road, Burntisland, on January 15, failing to provide details to PCs Gavin Jack and Daniel Crighton, and assaulting PC Brian Geddes by repeatedly throwing clothing at him.

The court heard that PC Jack and Crighton had stopped Higginson’s blue Ford Fiesta during a routine stop in the early hours, and he was subsequently taken into custody as he refused to give details when requested.

PC Geddes, along with PC William Alexander, took him by police van to Kirkcaldy Police Station, where he again proved un-cooperative.

After Higginson was asked to wear a safety suit in his cell, PC Geddes explained that Higginson took off his socks and underwear and threw them at his head.

Higginson claimed he didn’t need insurance

In relation to the traffic stop, Higginson said he did not need insurance as he was “not acting in commerce”, while he claimed he had not been “compelled” to enter court in relation to the JP court incident.

Sheriff Brown found him guilty of various charges and deferred sentence until a later date pending reports and an application for bail.

During the trial, the sheriff acquitted Higginson of obstructing PC Geddes and Alexander in the execution of their duty by refusing to confirm his identity, address and nationality, and refusing to provide fingerprints when requested to do so.

The sheriff ruled there was no case to answer in that respect.

Charges alleging culpable and reckless conduct by spitting in a police van, and urinating and defecating in a police cell were also dropped by the Crown during the trial, and Sheriff Brown found Higginson not guilty on those.

Comical courtroom exchange sees sheriff pledge to give Fife man ‘remedy’ he seeks

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