Tim Haries – Fathers4Justice campaigner guilty of defacing painting

F4Jus

Facts

On 8th January 2014 Tim Haries, an activist for Fathers 4 Justice, was convicted by a jury at Southwark Crown Court of Criminal Damage.

On 21st June 2013 he smuggled some purple spray paint into Westminster Abbey and sprayed the word ‘help’ onto a portrait of the Queen.

Mr Haries did not dispute, either now or previously, that he had committed the act. From the BBC : ‘moments after committing the act, Haries told a Westminster Abbey steward: “Sorry mate, I’ve got nothing against the Queen” before telling a police officer he was “guilty as charged”.

Sentence has been adjourned until 5th February.

 

What will he get?

Good question. It’s difficult to know. The painting was valued at £160,000, but it presumably will cost a lot less than that to repair it. We don’t know anything about Mr Haries’ background, but the normal course would be (probably) a non-custodial sentence, possibly a prison sentence (of about 6-9 months) but suspended.

That’s our best guess, but we will come back to this when Mr Haries is sentenced.

The problem with sentencing political offences such as this is that it raises different issues from most other offences. Offences such as this were done with the full intention of being caught and there is not remorse.

 

 

Why was there a trial if he admitted his guilt?

Essentially for the same reasons as the killers of Lee Rigby did. Mr Haries was representing himself and told the jury that he had done this as an act of civil disobedience, inviting them to acquit as a result – a form of jury nullification.

The jury did not accept this, but it was Mr Haries’ absolute right to ask the jury to determine his guilt.

 

Wasn’t this in the papers before?

That was our first thought – it did seem quite familiar. We were thinking of another Fathers 4 Justice activist who glued a picture of a child onto Constable’s ‘The Hay Wain’. At the time of writing, his position is unclear.

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About Dan Bunting

I'm a lawyer who works for myself. Legal geek, maths freak, general dullard and jack of all trades. Here’s a few views on law and occasional musings on life. Usual caveats about not relying on anything I say etc applies.

10 thoughts on “Tim Haries – Fathers4Justice campaigner guilty of defacing painting

  1. home

    It was very popular for folk music, especially during the early 1900s with the Irish. A racecar driver named Ray Harroun finished the inaugural lap of Indianapolis 500.

    Reply
  2. 'Dave Darby

    Shocking to think that the jury have come to the conclusion that a painting is more important than a childs right to family life…Article 8 ECHR. 600+ children a week are losing contact to one of their parents. This child abuse is supported by lawyers, CAFCASS, mediators, judges and MP’s.

    Reply
  3. Vince Pitts

    There is a significant background story to this case. The simple facts are that Mr Harries has been denied the right to contact with his child/children and having been through what many see as the massively prejudiced family court, shrouded in secrecy and accountable to none, has exhausted all other avenues in his efforts to bring his plight to public attention in the hope that he, and others in his situation, don’t have to endure the suffering of knowing that their child is being raised without the love, care and affection of a doting parent for absolutely no justifiable reason. I struggle to understand why, given the circumstances and the massive impact it must be having on Mr Harries, the jury could not support his action in so far as his plight is undeniable and he has no other option but to resort to extreme measures if he is to have any hope of being the loving parent that almost all in society recognise would be n the best interest of his child. Significant wrong has been done, and such will continue, but the perpetrator is not Tim Harries, it is in fact the UK Government, the Family Court, CAFCASS, Social Services, and many other organisations involved in family law matters. Eachg and every one of the jury should ask themselves – ‘what would I do if my children were taken away and nobody was prepared to give me a fair trial or a reasonable hearing?’ Many would argue that he will have that and that is truly sad and nothing more than the result of the secrecy surrounding the Family Court. Only those who have been through it would know. Perhaps, before deciding on judgement, the right thing to do would be to establish whether Mr Harries has been separated from his child without justification and if so whether he had exhausted all reasonable options to right what would undeniably be a massive wrong. If he has, it is not Mr Harries who should be punished, it is the people who have allowed, who have caused, the separation from his child.

    Reply
  4. Barry Lendrum

    Why on earth should he express remorse? I sure wouldn’t. He knew what he was doing and why. He did it for a great worthwhile cause, his children. Not to show remorse doesn’t make him bad or even criminal by nature. It was criminal to convict him in the first place but then we all already know that the justice system as well as family law is corrupt to the very core. The jury was also either made up by feckless single mothers or people who just views paintings as more precious than our children, or maybe a bit of both.

    Many dubious people believe that F4J should protest quietly out of the way where they cannot be seen or cause disruption. But what they are really telling us is not to protest at all, to wrongly accept that forced absent fathers will always be frowned upon like criminals, sperm donors and cash-points while the feckless mothers who lie, cheat and use children as weapons are seen as the victims regardless. This acceptance of this will never happen.

    A fatherless society is a dystopian society.

    The women’s suffragettes back in the 1920’s has caused far worse disruptions in protest for women equality. They have actually wrecked artworks beyond repair, they have also used violence against the police whereas F4J do not. Today they are applauded for this by everybody. The hypocrisy is sickening.

    F4J are a far more peaceful movement. Sure they question the morals of certain celebrities such as Kate Winslet and they are conveniently accused of harassment for it. But Kate was the one who deliberately antagonised by opening her mouth in public in the first place against fathers rights challenging F4J, and all F4J have done is publicly challenged her back. Fair play.

    Well, I just hope that Tim Haries isn’t sent to prison as that would be a major miscarriage of justice. How many more of these more precious than children paintings must be destroyed before equal rights finally becomes a reality?

    Reply
  5. CitymanMichael (@CitymanMichael)

    I absolutely agree with Vince.
    As a man who has been in the same emotional place as Tim, I would say that if that jury had suffered the same fate, not one of them would have found Tim guilty.

    Instead of committing suicide, as many men have done, or committing what is known as family annilation, or just sitting quietly in the background pondering a living grief, Tim has in this action begged the only person he could think of for help.

    The response he received from the court is not help, nor mercy, but a blunt rebuff for his desperate deed.

    Tim is a real hero. And his children should be proud of him – I hope someday they are.

    Reply
  6. Michael Cox

    The jury would have been sifted beforehand to remove anyone likely to sympathise with Tim; funny how jury-nobbling is legal when the Establishment does it!

    Reply
      1. Marie Lomas

        How funny. :-)
        I’m on twitter should you wish to follow me. Marie Lomas. Then I would have a grand total of 9 followers :-)

  7. Pingback: Tim Haries (Fathers4Justice activist) jailed for spraying the Queen’s portrait | UK Criminal Law Blog

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