Australia: DSP/SP dispute

Xxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxx.xx
Thu Dec 19 13:41:20 MST 2002


The Story is based on these pieces of evidence. The first explains
the people involved, including Steve Jolly (defendent) of the SP, and
a man named Bob Lewis (A DSP member) whom the case is reliant on. The
police informant was a DSP member some years ago.

part one:
from a Leftlink news dispatch
> * Stephen Jolly's case goes to a contested mention date on Wednesday
> September 18th at the Melbourne Magistrates Court. The trial proper
> is to begin later this year or early next year. Mick Heaney, the  alleged
> accused has two witnesses - the Victorian Police informant Andrew Bowen
> and DSP member Bob Lewis. Unfortunately our attempts to get this sorted
> outside of the capitalist courts look like having failed and we will be
> going for broke for a legal victory. Our lawyers are Robert Stary(the
> same lawyers used by the Skilled Six campaign).

The second is a letter to us from John Percy (natsec of the DSP)
trying to rationalise for their actions in this particular case [grab
a bucket].

Letter to the Socialist Party (Australia)

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Dear Comrades

It has come to our attention that your organisation is circulating a
document entitled "A call for the basic tradition of solidarity -
Statement by the Socialist Party" around the left and labour
movements.

The document is a shameless political slander on the DSP and its
members and we demand that it be retracted.

Over the last two years Stephen Jolly and other leading members of
your organisation have tried to politicise a murder trial that had nothing
to do with our two parties or politics. The person who was charged and
convicted of the murder was a former member of the DSP and the victim,
his former partner, was a supporter of the Socialist Party.

>From the start we made it clear that this was not a matter that
should be politicised and used to divide the left through a completely
unwarranted use of emotional incitement of hate and blame. We
explained time and time again that, despite the SP's claim, the person
concerned had long ceased to be a member of the DSP at the time of the
murder.

But Jolly and other SP members persisted with this campaign of slander.

During the trial there was an incident which has resulted in criminal
assault charges being laid against Jolly. Again, contrary to the SP
statement of July 11, the complainant was not a member of the DSP.
This simple fact was explained to SP members and other parties who sought
our party's intervention in this matter, time and time again. But the SP
statement persists in repeating this lie, clearly with the intent of
using another criminal proceeding to divide the left.

We have been informed by a third party who tried to negotiate an
out-of-court settlement of this matter that Jolly has rebuffed his
best efforts and instead continued to persist with slandering the DSP and
its members over this matter.

Over the last few years the DSP has demonstrated its non-sectarian
approach towards the SP by inviting the SP (then called Militant) to
discuss unity between the two groups in 1996 (an offer that was
rebuffed in a totally manipulative and dishonest way) and last year by
inviting the SP to join in the formation of the Socialist Alliance. The
Socialist Alliance has also demonstrated an exemplary non-sectarian approach
by campaigning for the SP's candidates in local council elections in
Melbourne last year.

Yet the SP/Militant leadership has reciprocated with sectarian
hostility. Some SP members have pursued the highly sectarian course of
slandering and physically intimidating members of other left parties.
For example, in 1998, the DSP was forced to write a protest letter to
the Militant (now SP) over the gross abuse and physical intimidation
by older Militant members of high school members of Resistance involved
in the organisation of a student walkout over racism.

All these matters are well-documented.

It is the SP that has been breaking the "basic tradition of solidarity
within the labour and trade union movement" by trying to exact
political gain through slander and intimidation.

Back in 1998 we urged your group to draw back from its sectarian
course, cease lying about various incidents, end the aggressive intimidation
of our members, and "return to the normally accepted relations that
should exist between left groups". We repeat that call. A first step should
be to retract your slanderous July 11 statement.


John Percy
National Secretary
Democratic Socialist Party

I guess you can all see how this completely avoids the issue.

The third piece of evidence is our reply, which goes down to the
basic issues, and refutes some of Percys assertions.

----------------------
After reading DSP National Secretary John Percy's letter you would
think it was the DSP and not the SP and its supporters that was the victim
of  1) "gross abuse and physical intimidation" and 2) the politicisation of
a criminal court case. The exact opposite is the case.

Before we come to concrete proposals to solve the current problem, we
are forced to explain in more detail - consciously excluded from our
original statement - about the two cases (Dave Mizon's trial and the
upcoming assault charges against Stephen Jolly) in order to set the record
straight.

Lucy May murder
In September 2000, Socialist Party members buried a great supporter,
Lucy May. She was 40 years old and 7 months pregnant when murdered by Dave
Mizon in the most brutal fashion the night before the S11 protests
(approximately 11pm on Sunday 10th September). May's body was found by her
mother and sister with over 30 knife wounds in the neck and upper body. She
died after being strangled and stabbed. SP members were informed of her
death  during the midst of the S11 protests. The next period was of one of
immense grief.

Mizon was an active member of the DSP up until six months or so prior
to the murder. In 1996 he stood for the DSP in the State election for
the seat of Richmond. At the time of the murder he was still on the books of
the DSP. No-one "blames" the DSP for Lucy's murder. How could anyone
guess that Mizon's was a murderer? We definitely didn't.

It is what happened afterwards that especially shocked SP members.
While John today in his letter wipes his hands of Mizon, at the time
of the committal hearing and later at the full trial DSP members and ex-
members regularly attended in solidarity with Mizon. DSP members visited
Mizon in jail and attended court proceedings.

There is nothing wrong with supporting your comrade and friend when
he is in trouble and you know no better about his true nature and past that
was only to come out in the course of the trial.

Yet the fact they could continue to actively support Mizon after what
they heard at the Committal Hearing is inexcusable. Let us explain.
At the Committal Hearing, Mizon's legal team attempted a bizarre
political defence. They asked almost all the prosecution witnesses if they
were or had ever been members of the Socialist Party/Militant. They
attempted to imply a political conspiracy was being undertaken against their
client, framing him for the murder. There has probably never been a more
serious allegation made against a non-violent political organisation in
recent Australian history. And yet John in his letter talks about "shameless
political slander" and "(the case) was a matter than should (not) be
politicised and used to divide the leftS" - it was us that suffered
this slander. In fact it is a credit to the discipline of the SP members
that this attack was kept out of the capitalist media.

The magistrate dismissed the defence teams arguments and sent Mizon
to a Supreme Court trial with a jury. By then Mizon's lawyers had dropped
the "political conspiracy" line and ran a conventional case.

At the Committal hearing Mizon's lawyers accepted the evidence from
his first wife, who spoke of several beatings from him during the course
of their relationship. Yet during both the Committal hearing at the
Magistrates Court and the Supreme Court trial, current and ex-DSP
members attended the public gallery in support and solidarity with Mizon.
The uncontested evidence at this Committal hearing proved Mizon, at best,
to be a wife-beater. At this stage, you'd expect his DSP supporters to
either stop attending the case in solidarity with him, or at the very least
approach Lucy's family or the SP to open up dialogue.

SP members found it incredulous that given the support the DSP have
gives to progressive causes, in particular womens rights, they could ignore
past evidence at the Committal hearing of Mizon's wife-bashing, and DSP
members and ex-members could continue to support this man.

The evidence against Mizon at the trial was overwhelming. He admitted
lying to police about not knowing May was dead when first questioned. Then
he claimed he did find the body but it was already dead. Expert witnesses
proved that the blood spray on Mizon's clothes and shoes from Lucy's
blood was such that he must have been next to her less than 30 seconds
after her throat was slashed.

His blood was found in her house. His bloodied clothes (with both his
and May's blood) were found hidden under his house. And of course he had a
motive. The jury took little time in finding him guilty.

As an aside we were disappointed that the DSP didn't attend Lucy's
funeral which was a big affair attended by many trade unionists and in which
Rod Quantock spoke. They didn't put an obituray in their paper. They
didn't offer condolsences to the family. This is what led to the tension at
the time of the alleged assault by  Jolly.

Current case
This year one of our members, Stephen Jolly, is facing trumped-up
assault charges resulting from statements made by a DSP member and an ex-DSP
member to the Victorian Police in January this year. The police can't
believe their luck that one section of the Left is providing them with
"ammunition" against Jolly, who they have had in their sights since their
legal defeat at Richmond, not to mention since the Woomera protests at
Easter. The two men claim Jolly punched one of them on the back of the head
after an argument provoked by insensitive comments from them to the May
family and Jolly during an adjornment in Mizon's trial.

Even if true, going to the police shows a total lack of a sense of
proportion bearing in mind what Lucy's family and friends had just
been through. As it happens, on July 11th 2002, Jolly's lawyers reserved
their plea on the charges and the case is listed for a mention on August 8th
2002.

In response to our call for sanity to prevail and these charges to be
reconsidered, John accuses us of "shameless political slander" and
"emotional incitement of hate and blame".

He attacks us for not joining the Socialist Alliance (SA) and he
accuses us of "gross abuse and physical intimidation" in 1998. These are all
"red herrings" designed to divert attention from this controversy onto
other issues.

We resist the temptation to respond to John's comments on SA and the
school student movement of 1998. However, if any reader wants to know our
position on either of these two issues, please contact us - details below.
While waxing lyrical these unrelated topics, John says very little on
the central question. Do the DSP condone one of their members (and an
ex-member) making statements to the Victorian Police to get another
socialist charged? If not, will they do something about it? Is this
the way to get back to "the normally accepted relations that should exist
between left groups" as John calls for?

John claims that the assault charges have arisen purely from the
statement of one person, the ex-DSP member. However, this is untrue. Another
statement was made at the same time by an active DSP member. Both of
their statements are now public documents and therefore if anyone doubts us,
please contact us for the relevant information.

If the DSP member decided to withdraw his statement these court
proceedings because if their member withdrew his statement the trial would
be aborted.

The solution to this case proposed by the alleged victim and passed
on by the third party who John mentions in his letter was that Jolly admit
guilt, go on an anger management course, and then the charges would be
dropped!

This is no solution. There would be more justice in a capitalist
court than in this process.

We do not want this to go to court for four reasons:
1 - This is not the way the labour and trade union movement sorts out
these minor issues: - we do not call in the police and giving them 'an in'
into our movement. That is why we all criticiee the National Secretary of
the CFMEU for calling for a NCA inquiry into his union and Doug Cameron's
role in relation to Workers First in the AMWU. How the DSP can take a
principled position on these two issues, as they do, and not on the
withdrawal of charges against Jolly needs to be explained. As an aside the
legal costs for us equals $990, which is money better spent elsewhere.

2 - This trial will be very difficult for Lucy's family who thought
they had closure after the Mizon trial.

3 - The capitalist media will love to get their hands on this case.
By the way, despite the accusation of John, the SP worked successfully to
keep the political dimensions of the Mizon trial out of the mass media,
despite approaches to us.

We propose:
1 - If DSP members and ex-members feel that SP or any of its members
have acted inappropriately, we make ourselves available at any time or
place, with a mediator(s) present that are acceptable to the DSP, to try and
sort this matter outside of the capitalist courts.
2 - All relevant people hold discussions to see if these charges can
be dropped.

We add a third point, which is not a essential for us but we think
important nevertheless:

3 - The DSP condemn the use of the Victorian Police to deal with minor
issues such as those in this case. This is not the way of our movement
If this is not possible, obviously the court case will proceed, later
this year.

SP Statement 18-7-02

On November 12, the case was thrown out and Steve Jolly was awarded
damages and court costs.
To this point in time the DSP leadership has not responded, to either
our second statement or the result of this case.

cgs
DAVE



~~~~~~~
PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.



More information about the Marxism mailing list