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Lagavara1

Judgement in absence

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In recent times there has been numerous instances, highly publicised, at court sentencing when the accused have declined to be present to hear the (guilty) outcome of their trial.

Freemasonry in Ireland regretfully also is required to hold trials. However, in Freemasonry the accused is not permitted to be present to hear the outcome at Grand Lodge when judgment is delivered. Rather the entirety of those attending Grand Lodge both hear and vote on the judgment while the accused (guilty) learns from hearsay or awaits postal correspondence.  

Masonic scholars will advise that matters are proven rather than have guilt applied. This may so but the absence of the accused is not justifiable in today’s modern world of openness, transparency, and human rights.  

What is the position in UGLE and GL Scotland when an accused is judged?  

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I have been present in Grand Lodge when the Brother who is facing a charge has been there and put his case to the brethren.

Could be a bit tricky to achieve where the person in question is already behind bars. Unlikely he would be allowed out for the day to attend a Masonic Meeting.

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PM George, thank you for recalling your experience on matters in Scotland.

For clarity, the issue is solely a masonic issue and not of someone in jail. 

I wonder in your instance if the brother was appealing his judgement of Lodge or Provincial at a Grand Lodge setting. It is good practice that a higher authority not be involved as it enables a pathway of appeal.

Here in Ireland I do recall a non masonic solicitor representing a brother at masonic trial. Unfortunately Grand Lodge Ireland has deleted past minutes of proceedings from its website, co-incidentally at a time when Grand Masters Lodge expelled several members and the Grand Secretary position was relinquished.       

However, this specific (IC) Grand Lodge trial was directed and managed by the Deputy Grand Master under instruction openly aired at a Provincial Grand Lodge meeting by the Grand Master. Whilst this in itself is somewhat bizarre in itself and setting that aside, the accused ultimately has no pathway of appeal as Grand Lodge has no route of challenge against the direction and will of the Grand Master.

Never the less, even judgements not derived from any Grand Masters direction the accused is never in attendance in Ireland. I believe sentencing a brother in his absence is wrong and it is unjust.       

 

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