Two cards on the table: I am a friend of Karol Aquilina’s but I have not discussed this piece with him, not even the idea of writing it. I am a biker and my instinct is to side with other bikers, even when they are there to fine me if I transgress (and even Wobolters, nuts though they may be).
That having been said, and having read the Court’s judgement (rather than relying on media reports of it, or on the instructions of a troll master) I’m moved to ask a few questions of the Commissioner of Police arising from the matter of the Police vs Opposition MP Karol Aquilina.
They’re in the order that they occurred to me while reading Magistrate Victor Axiak’s 13-page judgement, the length of which tends to confirm that he gave more thought to the matter than your average troll. Not that thinking more than an average troll is a great feat when you think about it.
Commissioner, since when do your officers decide to take action against a citizen on the basis of an edited film forwarded from a media outlet, when said officers had available to them the original footage, given to them by the owner of the vehicles from which they were taken?
Following on from that, given that the citizen involved just happens to be an Opposition MP and a more than somewhat vocal critic of the Party in government, do you think the officers who chose to take action should, just maybe, have given some thought to whether the police force was being instrumentalised to attack a political opponent?
And this by none other than Karl Stagno Navarra?
Just to be clear: there were officers on the scene at the time but action was only taken after Stagno Navarra, whose motives are now more than clear (if clarity on this were ever in doubt) sent his Oscar hopes to the police. They had the original footage but used the edited version: had they “lost” the original videos or failed to keep a copy or what?
Did not even these considerations give the relevant decision-makers pause for thought?
Another question for you, Commissioner: your officers were made aware that the person handing over the original footage to them was worried that it would end up on social media. In fact, it ended up on the real media, if anyone can grace the Labour Party’s One TV with that title.
Does this not give you some cause for worry?
Moving on, it is now clear that your bikers were actually escorting a set of empty vehicles. At no point was it submitted for the Court’s consideration that there was any particular urgency to get the cars from one point to another.
So, Commissioner, do you think that deploying their ‘blues and twos’ and generally chucking their weight about, in these circumstances, was something that your bikers should have been doing? The Court remarked on this, you might be interested to know.
Let’s get to the crux of the whole thing, however. Even with all of the above in the background, if Aquilina had driven dangerously or recklessly, with bikes around him, I’d be the first to wag a finger in his face and call him a tosser.
The Court did not do this.
Quite the contrary, the Court found itself incredulous at the fact that notwithstanding that Aquilina had at all times been compliant with the applicable rules of the road, including stopping at stop signs and using his indicator, he ended up being charged with dangerous driving.
The Court went on to make specific reference to the fact that – to add insult to injury – if anyone was manoeuvring dangerously, it was the cop bikers escorting vehicles without occupants but still in a great hurry.
The magistrate was moved to describe this as reminiscent of a land-based display by Red Arrows pilots tending to create unnecessary danger to other road users.
To the disappointment, no doubt, of that Stagno Navarra specimen, whose thirst for screaming all the news that’s good for Labour is legendary, and of the trolls who were mobilised by their pay-masters to bay for his blood, Magistrate Axiak found Aquilina not guilty as the charges were absolutely unfounded.
Which leads me to the final question, Commissioner: what are you going to do about all this?