Woman jailed for calling judge a liar, claims name is an ‘an artificial construct’

By Tracy Neal of

A woman who showed utter disrespect for a judge – calling her a liar, using her first name and speaking over her during a defended hearing – has been sent to prison to think about her actions.

Megan Dale Gordon appeared in the Nelson District Court on Thursday for a defended hearing in relation to an incident last year when she tried to avoid police at a checkpoint.

But things didn’t go so well during the hearing and she was eventually placed in custody and cited for contempt while Judge Jo Rielly went on to find her guilty on all charges, in her absence.

On Friday she was back in court where she stood with her back to the same judge who told her she was now going to prison for 21 days.

“I have done no wrong,” the 56-year-old cried from the dock.

Gordon was described as having been asked repeatedly to stop interrupting the judge, desist from calling her by her first name and refusing to leave the court to consider her position.

“You repeatedly ignored my directions and spoke over me.”

Gordon was told she would be taken into custody to allow her to organise and speak with a lawyer. But, when she returned to the court she was “more rude than earlier”, and accused Judge Rielly of “lying and embellishing”.

Gordon was then remanded back in custody.

“Yesterday when I asked for an apology you doubled down on your disrespect.”

Gordon was in court facing charges dating back to last year including failing to stop when required, failing to give a name and address, refusing to accompany police, failing to stop, and resisting police.

On the night of 5 July last year Gordon approached a police breath alcohol checkpoint in central Nelson in her Audi vehicle.

The police summary of facts said she was seen to stop just short of the checkpoint, but when police approached on foot, she drove forward, ignoring requests to stop.

Gordon then drove straight through the checkpoint and onto a main road, followed by the police who had activated their lights and siren.

Judge Jo Rielly in the Nelson District Court.

She again ignored requests to stop and turned left into a road leading up to Nelson’s Port Hills before she turned into a dead-end cul-de-sac.

Police continued to follow her, then placed their car in the centre of the road to stop her from driving away as they said she tried turning around in the cul-de-sac.

Gordon then drove forward towards the police; reversed at speed into a bank before driving forward at the police again.

They approached Gordon and asked her to get out of the vehicle but she locked the doors before refusing to undergo a breath test or accompany police.

Gordon continued to be uncooperative and resisted the police and was subsequently pepper-sprayed and arrested.

Since July last year Gordon, who has previously attracted media attention for her views on the validity of New Zealand law, has tried to argue her way out of the charges.

As she was led into the dock on Friday to respond to the contempt charge, she demanded that the media leave, and then instructed Judge Rielly on the meaning of the Contempt of Court Act.

“After 27 hours in solitary confinement I’m a bit scratchy around the edges,” Gordon said.

Judge Rielly explained how difficult it was for her to sentence a middle-aged woman to prison for disruptive behaviour.

“Your behaviour was out of control and I could not control what was going on in the courtroom with you and your so-called associate.

“I was concerned about how far that would extend,” Judge Rielly said.

The four supporters in the gallery matched the number of security guards.

Gordon argued there was “no controversy” in her seeking to make a statement to clarify her situation, and that “Megan Dale Gordon was an artificial construct” against which the charges had been laid, and therefore should be dropped because she was a non-resident settler “speaking out”.

“I’m standing here in good faith to settle this matter,” she said.

Judge Rielly said she had tried hard on multiple occasions to accommodate Gordon’s wishes about what she wanted to be called, only to be treated with “utter disdain and disrespect”.

She asked if Gordon’s comment she was sorry that the judge felt slighted was an apology, when it appeared as a veiled apology that was “carefully thought through”.

She said Gordon had been given every opportunity to respond to all matters, and that all efforts had been made to ensure she received a fair trial.

From a starting point of four weeks in prison, Gordon was sentenced to 21 days, with no conviction entered.

“Ms Gordon, this has been a very hard decision but you need to receive the message you cannot conduct yourself like this,” Judge Rielly said.

Gordon will be sentenced on the driving matters next month.

This article originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button