The North Pacific v New Francois

The Court is now in session and will hear the case of The North Pacific v. New Francois.

Indictment and Request for a Ban

I bring forward the following charge and request that New Francois and all known puppets should be banned from the North Pacific, holding that all the below is true and honest to the best of my belief.

Name of Complainant: @Prydania
Name(s) of Accused: @New Francois
Date(s) of Alleged Crime(s): 14 August 2020
Crime: Section 1.8 of the Legal Code, Conspiracy. Specifically Conspiracy to commit Treason against TNP (Section 1.1 of the Legal Code).
Specifics of Crime(s): New Francois laid out a plan to start a "revolution" and seize control of TNP on the Regional Message Board of the region First World Order.
Summary of Events: New Francois, using the puppet account New Francois of First Word Order, began to plan an attempted coup of TNP on First World Order's Regional Message Board. He explains he wishes to start a "revolution" in TNP, indicates he desires a regional conflict, says he plans on "raiding" TNP to take control of it and "change basically everything about the region," claims that "TNP Officials" can't know about this plan because they will "shut it down," and says he could do this easier as either Delegate or Vice Delegate of TNP.
Reasons for seeking approval (how does the nation pose a clear security threat and why is their removal is necessary for the protection of the region): New Francois' plot is less than a month old, and includes him declaring that he can accomplish his goals of overthrowing TNP's government as either Delegate or Vice Delegate. He is currently running for Vice Delegate and has indicated he will run for Delegate in January 2021. It seems like they are acting on the plan laid out to attempt to topple TNP's legal government.
If the nation has already been ejected or banned, when was this action taken: I banned the nation in my position as Delegate around 2:30 EST before unbanning them to pursue this indictment.
Evidence:










Presiding over this case as Moderating Justice will be @Zyvetskistaahn

Representing The North Pacific as Prosecutor: @Gorundu

Representing New Francois as counsel: @9003

Plea of the Defendant: Guilty

The Defendant will have from the opening post until 24 hours after the Prosecutor takes office to enter their plea and to indicate their representation.

This post will be updated as information becomes available including the trial timetable.
 
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With the Vivanco now a Justice, it seems to me that he cannot be standby hearing officer for this case. I therefore name @Oracle as the new standby hearing officer.
 

New Francois

I'm the disco overlord!
Your honour,

I have not been very able to find any representation to suit my needs, so I would very much like it if the court would choose any representation for me.
 
I should note, the Prosecutor has taken office. The Court is, given the above request, considering potential defence representation. If you @New Francois do find suitable representation yourself, you remain free to appoint them whether now or at some future point in the case. You will also be free to dispense with the services of counsel, whether appointed by yourself or the Court, at any time.

@Gorundu, I would ask for an indication of how long you would expect to require for evidence submission, what times you are generally available, and whether you expect to file any requests for review regarding this matter.
 

New Francois

I'm the disco overlord!
Upon consultation with my defense council I will be changing my plea to nolo contendere to the charge of conspiracy to treason as part of a plea bargain arranged with the prosecutor.
 
@Gorundu
@9003

Counsel, before I decide on acceptance of the above plea, I would ask for submissions on it. In particular, whether a plea of nolo contendere is a plea that exists in law in The North Pacific. As far as I can tell, it is not recognised in terms by the Rules and does not appear to have been entered in any previous case, which seems to show a long practice of asking for and receiving pleas of Guilty or Not Guilty.

I will extend the plea period to 36 hours from this post while this point is being considered.
 

9003

Minister
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A plea of nolo contendere accepts that the presented facts are correct and that my client performed those actions but would allow the the court to sentence more freely favoring a lesser punishment as bargained with the prosecutor, then a guilty plea that would force the courts hand.

As to why the court should accept the claim of nolo contendere in general is that the legal code does not list or outline explicitly what pleas the courts accept or decline, thus allowing a multitude of pleas. Including this as a special case plea allows for the court to accept this in the future when other cases need to and add an additional tool to the plea bargain.

Should the court decided not to accept the plea I would so humble request an allotment of time to negotiate with the prosecution and my client.
 
A plea of nolo contendere accepts that the presented facts are correct and that my client performed those actions but would allow the the court to sentence more freely favoring a lesser punishment as bargained with the prosecutor, then a guilty plea that would force the courts hand.
I would appreciate if you could expand upon this counsel. The Court’s approach to sentencing, that it is not bound to agreements between the parties, is well known. I am not sure I follow why you submit the Court would be any freer in the context of a nolo contendere plea.

I would also appreciate expansion on your point concerning a lesser sentence. The Court’s approach on guilty pleas has been to recognise early guilty pleas and remorse as being factors favouring a lesser sentence, while it seems arguable that a nolo contendere plea would bring the same benefit as an early guilty plea, would it not also operate to deprive a Defendant of the benefit of remorse, given they do not accept guilt?
 
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New Francois

I'm the disco overlord!
A plea of nolo contendere means that you would take a sentence similar to what you would get if you have pleaded guilty, but without actually admitting that you are guilty of a crime.
 
@New Francois, I am familiar with the concept of a nolo contendere plea, however, such a plea does not seem to me to have been entered before and it is not acknowledged expressly in the Court’s Rules. For that reason, I am asking for the submissions of counsel to explore whether such a plea exists in our law, the fact that it exists in other jurisdictions does not mean it exists here. You are represented by counsel who is quite able to make submissions on this matter themselves and I would suggest that you let them do so.
 

9003

Minister
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My most sincere apologies to the honorable Justice @Zyvetskistaahn, My client unfortunately does not have a strong grasp on the workings of the region and in turn its justice system.

To your first point, I coincide that notion as I miss read the penal code. The court is free to hand down whatever sentence they seem fit for the crime, in this case conspiring to treason.
What the plea bargain achieves is a recommend sentence that all parties can agree on with the final decision to be made by the court.

To your second point, I humble disagree, an individual can be remorseful and sorry for their actions but that does not make them guilty of the crime. My client has shown that they are remorseful and sorry for the events that unfolded. They accept the facts as true, that they stated those things but they will not accept that they were said under treason's pretense and rather a revolution. Anyone in a situation that they are "changing things in a big way", whether through legal means, as my client was doing with the election, or illegal means. The higher ups of any organization would be resistant to change.

My client understands that the things that they said are out of line, but due to their relative lack of knowledge in the region would prove both unfruitful and far from illegal. They also understand that despite their good intentions many of the things were taken differently and agree that there needs to be some recompense for their actions, hence the plea of Nolo Contendere, and the very remorceful thread in an attempt to clear the air around their name.
 

Gorundu

When in doubt, blame Bob
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Your Honour,

The Court Rules and Procedures, as they stand, make no explicit reference to any plea except that of Not Guilty, which was to be entered if there was no response from the defendant. In fact, the longstanding procedure of moving straight to sentencing in the event of a Guilty plea is not mentioned anywhere in the Rules. As the Rules do not note that only specific pleas can be accepted, it should therefore be that any plea in which the intent of the defendant is clear should be accepted. In this case, a plea of nolo contendre (or in English, a plea of no contest) makes it clear that the defendant does not wish to contest the charge of Conspiracy to Commit Treason. As such, they have waived their right to a trial and the trial should proceed to the sentencing phase, as is customary in this Court when the defendant waives their right to a trial.
 
@Gorundu
@9003

Thank you, counsel. Do you say that, beyond that the Defendant does not in terms accept guilt, there are any different effects of a nolo contendere plea as compared to a guilty plea? I ask because it appears to me some of the utility of the plea in other jurisdictions would not follow here, such as effects on civil liability given we lack a civil jurisdiction.

There also appear in other jurisdictions to be controls on the use of the plea, notably that it requires the Court’s permission to be entered. Do you say any such controls exist here? If you do, what do you say is the test by which the Court should consider whether to grant permission and why, in this case, should the Court grant permission?
 

9003

Minister
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To point one, other then the defendant not in terms accepting guilt it would also prevent the plea from being used as evidence in further cases, meaning that this is an isolated incident that can not be used as an admission of guilt later down the road in civil, should we ever deiced to make such laws allowing for such cases or criminal cases. Not baring the client to submit an appeal should they deem something a miss about this case but rather preventing this plea from being used as evadence in further crimes. Similar to Rules of Evidence for United States Courts and Magistrates, rule 803(22).

To point two, as of now, the court has no outlines of when it is permissible to accept such a plea. Seeing as we are establishing precedent here it fits to outline such concepts fully here and now rather then letting it be open undefined. That being said I believe that such a plea should be used only when all parties, including the court, agree that it fits and hold vaild merit. In this particular case both the defendant and prosecution have come to an agreement of the plea, leaving it up to the court to determine if it is an acceptable plea. Seeing that it fundamentaly is very similar to a guilty plea I see no reason the court should not accept the Nolo Contendere plea for this case.
 

Gorundu

When in doubt, blame Bob
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Your Honour,

In the Prosecution's point of view, the difference between a nolo contendere plea and a guilty plea is minimal in terms of practical effect. However, the Court could and should consider a nolo contendere plea differently to a guilty plea when viewed as a possible mitigating factor in sentencing, given that a nolo contendere plea does not admit guilt and thus makes it possible that the defendant is less likely to be remorseful for the crimes committed. In a similar vein, if the defendant is found guilty in a different criminal case in the future, a nolo contendere plea and a guilty plea would likely be viewed differently as possible aggravating factors in sentencing. Lastly, a nolo contendere plea may, in the eyes of the Court, give the defendant more standing when submitting a Request for Review to appeal the conviction, should perhaps new evidence arise that challenge the facts of the case, as the defendant had not accepted guilt.

As to the second question, it has always been the Court's prerogative whether or not to accept a plea, as long their decision does not violate the defendant's rights under the Bill of Rights. In the Prosecution's view, for the nolo contendere plea, the Court should consider whether the defendant understands the effects of the plea, whether the Prosecution and Defence agree that the plea is appropriate for the case and whether it is in the best interests of the region to accept the plea. It is clear that the Prosecution and Defence agree that the plea is appropriate for the case, and that it is in the best interests of the region to accept the plea so as not to prolong the case further while handing out the appropriate punishment for the crime committed. As to whether the defendant understands the effects of the plea, it appears the defendant has shown understanding of the effects plea, though I cannot speak definitively to this as I am not the defence counsel and I respect if the Court feels it is necessary to question the defendant further on this.
 
I am considering whether to allow a nolo contendere plea to be entered. I am grateful to counsel for their submissions on this matter, which I have found very helpful.

There are two separate issues: whether the plea is one that exists; and, if so, whether I should allow it to be entered.

On the first issue, both the prosecution and the defence submit that the plea does exist. They contend that the categories of plea are not closed under the Court Rules and Procedures, which require only that “The Defendant will be given a period of time to enter a plea” and require entry of a default plea of Not Guilty if no plea is entered by the Defendant. A logical alternative to such a plea is one of Guilty, which has been recognised by the long practice of the Court. I think that the parties are right that the wording of the Rules does not, of itself, limit the pleas that may be entered, but I do not think that is the end of the matter, the Rules cannot allow for infinite types of plea and for pleas that would be contrary to law.

In addition to the wording of the Rules as they now stand, I have had regard to the wording of previous versions of the Rules. The Adopted Court Rules made from 2012 to the enactment of the current Rules are similar to the present iteration; the Court Rules of Evidence and Procedure at Trials or Hearings, which ran from 2010 to 2012, also omit to limit types of plea. However, going back further still, the Interim Court Rules for Criminal Proceedings, made in 2005, by rule 510 provided that “A defendant nation may enter a plea of “guilty,” “not guilty,” or “nolo contendere” to the complaint”. While there does not seem to me to have been an occasion where a plea of nolo contendere was in fact entered, it does appear to be a concept which was, at least at one time, known to our law. There do seem to me to be limits to this: the Interim Court Rules are not the Rules in force now and have been revoked for a decade; they differ substantially from the present rules in many respects; and they were made under a significantly different Constitution and Legal Code. I must ascertain whether the plea is available under our laws now.

The Bill of Rights requires that “In any criminal proceeding, a Nation is presumed innocent unless guilt is proven to the fact finder by reasonably certain evidence”. Chapter 2 of the Legal Code, provides “1. Criminal acts may be punished by restrictions on basic rights, in a manner proportionate to the crime at the discretion of the Court unless specified in this chapter”. The substance of a nolo contendere plea, as counsel submit, is that a Defendant does not admit guilt to a crime or accepts the acts alleged but not their criminality. It seems to me that this presents a difficulty for the Court in its duties. The Court is entity with limited power, it must abide by the law and, as the Bill of Rights provides, does not have the power to “suspend or disregard the Constitution or the Legal Code”. The Court cannot, therefore, consider a nation guilty unless guilt is proven by reasonably certain evidence, nor can it punish a nation except for criminal acts. Those restrictions do not present a problem with guilty pleas: the word of a nation in Court stating clearly that it is guilty is reasonably certain evidence and proves guilt of the criminal acts alleged. A plea of nolo contendere, by contrast, expressly does not accept guilt or criminal action. The prosecution has submitted that by the plea, the Defendant waives their right to trial which is of the same effect as with a plea of guilty, however, I do not think that is a sufficient answer to the difficulty presented; an individual nation cannot bestow upon the Court the power to sentence the innocent, when that is denied by our law.

For those reasons, I do not think the plea is available in law and I cannot accept it. I do not, therefore, need to consider whether to accept such a plea in this particular case and I make no judgment on that issue.

I will accede to the request of the defence for an extension of time to consider next steps. I will, subject to further motion or submissions, allow two days from this post.
 

New Francois

I'm the disco overlord!
Upon review with my defense council I have opted to plea guilty in light of the inability to plea nolo contendere determined by the court.
 

9003

Minister
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As we have reached a plea bargain behind closed doors I believe that if the court is ready we will not require much time.
 
Very well. I will bring forward the end of plea submission to expire now. Sentencing recommendations may be entered over the next two days from this post.
 

9003

Minister
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Your Honor, in entering this recommendation to the court we are conscious that my client has entered a guilty plea on the understanding of a plea bargain with the prosecution and understands that the actions that they performed were wrong.

New Francois has pleaded guilty to one charge of Conspiracy to Commit Treason. The punishment described in the penal code is as follows:
2. Treason will be punished by ejection and banning, and removal of any basic rights for whatever duration the Court sees fit.
and
8. Conspiracy will be punished by a sentence strictly less than what would be appropriate for the original crime.
With the relevant laws in mind, the Prosecution and the Defense have agreed on a Joint Sentencing Recommendation as follows:

Circumstances of the crime
The circumstances of the crime, as laid out in the indictment, was not contested by the defendant in their guilty plea.
Specifics of Crime(s): New Francois laid out a plan to start a "revolution" and seize control of TNP on the Regional Message Board of the region First World Order.

Summary of Events: New Francois, using the puppet account New Francois of First Word Order, began to plan an attempted coup of TNP on First World Order's Regional Message Board. He explains he wishes to start a "revolution" in TNP, indicates he desires a regional conflict, says he plans on "raiding" TNP to take control of it and "change basically everything about the region," claims that "TNP Officials" can't know about this plan because they will "shut it down," and says he could do this easier as either Delegate or Vice Delegate of TNP.
Mitigating factors:
Guilty plea: The defendant has also entered a plea of guilty, accepting the guilt and responsibility for their actions rather than attempting to waste the Court’s time by prolonging the trial. However, it should be noted that the original plea was Not Guilty and was changed on advice of the Defence Counsel.

Criminal history: New Francois has not been previously convicted of any crime in The North Pacific.

Aggravating factors:
Ban from citizenship: The Vice Delegate has rejected a citizenship application by New Francois made after the indictment, and the rejection was upheld by the Regional Assembly. This demonstrates that citizens of The North Pacific believe New Francois to be a threat to the security of the region and that New Francois should not be granted the rights associated with being a citizen.

Lack of remorse: New Francois, despite having stated multiple times that they had never planned to perpetrate a coup, has never apologized or expressed remorse for their actions. Instead, they had tried to argue, outside of this Court, that their actions do not count as planning. In doing so, New Francois has shown a lack of remorse for the crime they have committed.

Comparison to past cases
Although there has not been any recent case of a nation convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Treason, there have been several convictions in the past year for Treason, which can be used as reference to this case.

In TNP v. Slatos, the defendant, who was ultimately convicted for Treason, was similarly a new member of the region with a lack of knowledge on the region’s laws, and their crimes, although fitting the definition of Treason, did not ultimately result in any harm to the region. Like in this case, the defendant also pleaded guilty (although at an earlier point in the trial than New Francois) and was not completely remorseful. Slatos was sentenced to 90 days ejection and ban from the region and 90 days removal of the right to citizenship after the banning period, with 180 days ban on voting or seeking government office if they obtain citizenship afterwards. As New Francois was only convicted of Conspiracy, the sentence should be less than that imposed on Slatos.

In TNP v. Ikea Rike, the defendant, who was ultimately convicted for Treason, had the intention of perpetrating a coup of the legitimate government but ultimately did little harm, similar to New Francois. However, unlike New Francois, the defendant entered the region with malicious intent, an aggravating factor on their behalf, though their expression of remorse was a mitigating factor that New Francois does not have. Ikea Rike was sentenced to 90 days ejection and ban from the region and 90 days removal of the right to citizenship after the banning period, with a one year ban on voting or seeking government office if they obtain citizenship afterwards. As New Francois was only convicted of Conspiracy, the sentence should be less than that imposed on Ikea Rike.

General comments
The Defense believes the extent of the crime committed was minor, as the planning to possibly perpetrate a coup was in fact in very early stages. Seeing as conspiracy is punished as a lesser punishment then the original crime, thus sparing my client from the highest punishment, a ban from the region. As well as seeing the mitigating factors in the case The Defense submits the following Final Recommendation for this case.

Final Recommendation
In consideration of the above, the Prosecution and Defense jointly recommends a sentence of 120 days’ ban from citizenship for the crime of Conspiracy to Commit Treason, in the case of The North Pacific v. New Francois.
 

Gorundu

When in doubt, blame Bob
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Your Honour,

The Prosecution and the Defence Counsel have agreed to submit a joint sentencing recommendation to the Court, consequent to the plea of guilty entered by the defendant. As the Prosecution, we present the sentencing recommendation as follows:

New Francois has pleaded guilty to one charge of Conspiracy to Commit Treason. The punishment prescribed in the penal code is as follows:
2. Treason will be punished by ejection and banning, and removal of any basic rights for whatever duration the Court sees fit.
and
8. Conspiracy will be punished by a sentence strictly less than what would be appropriate for the original crime.
With the relevant laws in mind, the Prosecution and the Defence have agreed on a Joint Sentencing Recommendation as follows:

Circumstances of the crime
The circumstances of the crime, as laid out in the indictment, was not contested by the defendant in their guilty plea.
Specifics of Crime(s): New Francois laid out a plan to start a "revolution" and seize control of TNP on the Regional Message Board of the region First World Order.

Summary of Events: New Francois, using the puppet account New Francois of First Word Order, began to plan an attempted coup of TNP on First World Order's Regional Message Board. He explains he wishes to start a "revolution" in TNP, indicates he desires a regional conflict, says he plans on "raiding" TNP to take control of it and "change basically everything about the region," claims that "TNP Officials" can't know about this plan because they will "shut it down," and says he could do this easier as either Delegate or Vice Delegate of TNP.
Mitigating factors:
Guilty plea: The defendant has also entered a plea of guilty, accepting the guilt and responsibility for their actions rather than attempting to waste the Court’s time by prolonging the trial. However, it should be noted that the original plea was Not Guilty and was changed on advice of the Defence Counsel.

Criminal history: New Francois has not been previously convicted of any crime in The North Pacific.

Aggravating factors:
Ban from citizenship: The Vice Delegate has rejected a citizenship application by New Francois made after the indictment, and the rejection was upheld by the Regional Assembly. This demonstrates that citizens of The North Pacific believe New Francois to be a threat to the security of the region and that New Francois should not be granted the rights associated with being a citizen.

Lack of remorse: New Francois, despite having stated multiple times that they had never planned to perpetrate a coup, has never apologised or expressed remorse for their actions. Instead, they had tried to argue, outside of this Court, that their actions do not count as planning. In doing so, New Francois has shown a lack of remorse for the crime they have committed.

Comparison to past cases
Although there has not been any recent case of a nation convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Treason, there have been several convictions in the past year for Treason, which can be used as reference to this case.

In TNP v. Slatos, the defendant, who was ultimately convicted for Treason, was similarly a new member of the region with a lack of knowledge on the region’s laws, and their crimes, although fitting the definition of Treason, did not ultimately result in any harm to the region. Like in this case, the defendant also pleaded guilty (although at an earlier point in the trial than New Francois) and was not completely remorseful. Slatos was sentenced to 90 days ejection and ban from the region and 90 days removal of the right to citizenship after the banning period, with 180 days ban on voting or seeking government office if they obtain citizenship afterwards. As New Francois was only convicted of Conspiracy, the sentence should be less than that imposed on Slatos.

In TNP v. Ikea Rike, the defendant, who was ultimately convicted for Treason, had the intention of perpetrating a coup of the legitimate government but ultimately did little harm, similar to New Francois. However, unlike New Francois, the defendant entered the region with malicious intent, an aggravating factor on their behalf, though their expression of remorse was a mitigating factor that New Francois does not have. Ikea Rike was sentenced to 90 days ejection and ban from the region and 90 days removal of the right to citizenship after the banning period, with a one year ban on voting or seeking government office if they obtain citizenship afterwards. As New Francois was only convicted of Conspiracy, the sentence should be less than that imposed on Ikea Rike.

Prosecution’s comments
The Prosecution believes the extent of the crime committed was minor, as the planning to possibly perpetrate a coup was in fact in very early stages. However, there are aggravating factors in the crime, to an extent where it likely outweighs the mitigating factors. In light of this, a just sentence should be lighter than past sentences imposed for similar cases of Treason and spare the defendant from the highest punishment, a ban from the region, but should be sufficiently lengthy to reflect the aggravating factors.

Final Recommendation
In consideration of the above, the Prosecution and Defence jointly recommends a sentence of 120 days’ ban from citizenship for the crime of Conspiracy to Commit Treason, in the case of The North Pacific v. New Francois.
 
Thank you for your submissions, counsel. I will end the period for sentencing recommendations now. The Court is adjourned to deliberate on sentence.
 



Sentencing Order of the Court of the North Pacific
In the case of The North Pacific v. New Francois

Order drafted by Zyvetskistaahn, joined by Vivanco and Oracle

The Court took into consideration the relevant clauses of the Legal Code:
2. "Treason" is defined as taking arms or providing material support to a group or region for the purpose of undermining or overthrowing the lawful government of The North Pacific or any of its treatied allies as governed by the Constitution.
24. "Conspiracy" is defined as planning, attempting, or helping to commit any crime under this criminal code.
1. Criminal acts may be punished by restrictions on basic rights, in a manner proportionate to the crime at the discretion of the Court unless specified in this chapter.
2. Treason will be punished by ejection and banning, and removal of any basic rights for whatever duration the Court sees fit.
[...]
8. Conspiracy will be punished by a sentence strictly less than what would be appropriate for the original crime.
The Court took into consideration the sentencing recommendation by the prosecution:
Your Honour,

The Prosecution and the Defence Counsel have agreed to submit a joint sentencing recommendation to the Court, consequent to the plea of guilty entered by the defendant. As the Prosecution, we present the sentencing recommendation as follows:

New Francois has pleaded guilty to one charge of Conspiracy to Commit Treason. The punishment prescribed in the penal code is as follows:
2. Treason will be punished by ejection and banning, and removal of any basic rights for whatever duration the Court sees fit.
and
8. Conspiracy will be punished by a sentence strictly less than what would be appropriate for the original crime.
With the relevant laws in mind, the Prosecution and the Defence have agreed on a Joint Sentencing Recommendation as follows:

Circumstances of the crime
The circumstances of the crime, as laid out in the indictment, was not contested by the defendant in their guilty plea.
Specifics of Crime(s): New Francois laid out a plan to start a "revolution" and seize control of TNP on the Regional Message Board of the region First World Order.

Summary of Events: New Francois, using the puppet account New Francois of First Word Order, began to plan an attempted coup of TNP on First World Order's Regional Message Board. He explains he wishes to start a "revolution" in TNP, indicates he desires a regional conflict, says he plans on "raiding" TNP to take control of it and "change basically everything about the region," claims that "TNP Officials" can't know about this plan because they will "shut it down," and says he could do this easier as either Delegate or Vice Delegate of TNP.
Mitigating factors:
Guilty plea: The defendant has also entered a plea of guilty, accepting the guilt and responsibility for their actions rather than attempting to waste the Court’s time by prolonging the trial. However, it should be noted that the original plea was Not Guilty and was changed on advice of the Defence Counsel.

Criminal history: New Francois has not been previously convicted of any crime in The North Pacific.

Aggravating factors:
Ban from citizenship: The Vice Delegate has rejected a citizenship application by New Francois made after the indictment, and the rejection was upheld by the Regional Assembly. This demonstrates that citizens of The North Pacific believe New Francois to be a threat to the security of the region and that New Francois should not be granted the rights associated with being a citizen.

Lack of remorse: New Francois, despite having stated multiple times that they had never planned to perpetrate a coup, has never apologised or expressed remorse for their actions. Instead, they had tried to argue, outside of this Court, that their actions do not count as planning. In doing so, New Francois has shown a lack of remorse for the crime they have committed.

Comparison to past cases
Although there has not been any recent case of a nation convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Treason, there have been several convictions in the past year for Treason, which can be used as reference to this case.

In TNP v. Slatos, the defendant, who was ultimately convicted for Treason, was similarly a new member of the region with a lack of knowledge on the region’s laws, and their crimes, although fitting the definition of Treason, did not ultimately result in any harm to the region. Like in this case, the defendant also pleaded guilty (although at an earlier point in the trial than New Francois) and was not completely remorseful. Slatos was sentenced to 90 days ejection and ban from the region and 90 days removal of the right to citizenship after the banning period, with 180 days ban on voting or seeking government office if they obtain citizenship afterwards. As New Francois was only convicted of Conspiracy, the sentence should be less than that imposed on Slatos.

In TNP v. Ikea Rike, the defendant, who was ultimately convicted for Treason, had the intention of perpetrating a coup of the legitimate government but ultimately did little harm, similar to New Francois. However, unlike New Francois, the defendant entered the region with malicious intent, an aggravating factor on their behalf, though their expression of remorse was a mitigating factor that New Francois does not have. Ikea Rike was sentenced to 90 days ejection and ban from the region and 90 days removal of the right to citizenship after the banning period, with a one year ban on voting or seeking government office if they obtain citizenship afterwards. As New Francois was only convicted of Conspiracy, the sentence should be less than that imposed on Ikea Rike.

Prosecution’s comments
The Prosecution believes the extent of the crime committed was minor, as the planning to possibly perpetrate a coup was in fact in very early stages. However, there are aggravating factors in the crime, to an extent where it likely outweighs the mitigating factors. In light of this, a just sentence should be lighter than past sentences imposed for similar cases of Treason and spare the defendant from the highest punishment, a ban from the region, but should be sufficiently lengthy to reflect the aggravating factors.

Final Recommendation
In consideration of the above, the Prosecution and Defence jointly recommends a sentence of 120 days’ ban from citizenship for the crime of Conspiracy to Commit Treason, in the case of The North Pacific v. New Francois.
The Court took into consideration the sentencing recommendation by the defense:
Your Honor, in entering this recommendation to the court we are conscious that my client has entered a guilty plea on the understanding of a plea bargain with the prosecution and understands that the actions that they performed were wrong.

New Francois has pleaded guilty to one charge of Conspiracy to Commit Treason. The punishment described in the penal code is as follows:
2. Treason will be punished by ejection and banning, and removal of any basic rights for whatever duration the Court sees fit.
and
8. Conspiracy will be punished by a sentence strictly less than what would be appropriate for the original crime.
With the relevant laws in mind, the Prosecution and the Defense have agreed on a Joint Sentencing Recommendation as follows:

Circumstances of the crime
The circumstances of the crime, as laid out in the indictment, was not contested by the defendant in their guilty plea.
Specifics of Crime(s): New Francois laid out a plan to start a "revolution" and seize control of TNP on the Regional Message Board of the region First World Order.

Summary of Events: New Francois, using the puppet account New Francois of First Word Order, began to plan an attempted coup of TNP on First World Order's Regional Message Board. He explains he wishes to start a "revolution" in TNP, indicates he desires a regional conflict, says he plans on "raiding" TNP to take control of it and "change basically everything about the region," claims that "TNP Officials" can't know about this plan because they will "shut it down," and says he could do this easier as either Delegate or Vice Delegate of TNP.
Mitigating factors:
Guilty plea: The defendant has also entered a plea of guilty, accepting the guilt and responsibility for their actions rather than attempting to waste the Court’s time by prolonging the trial. However, it should be noted that the original plea was Not Guilty and was changed on advice of the Defence Counsel.

Criminal history: New Francois has not been previously convicted of any crime in The North Pacific.

Aggravating factors:
Ban from citizenship: The Vice Delegate has rejected a citizenship application by New Francois made after the indictment, and the rejection was upheld by the Regional Assembly. This demonstrates that citizens of The North Pacific believe New Francois to be a threat to the security of the region and that New Francois should not be granted the rights associated with being a citizen.

Lack of remorse: New Francois, despite having stated multiple times that they had never planned to perpetrate a coup, has never apologized or expressed remorse for their actions. Instead, they had tried to argue, outside of this Court, that their actions do not count as planning. In doing so, New Francois has shown a lack of remorse for the crime they have committed.

Comparison to past cases
Although there has not been any recent case of a nation convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Treason, there have been several convictions in the past year for Treason, which can be used as reference to this case.

In TNP v. Slatos, the defendant, who was ultimately convicted for Treason, was similarly a new member of the region with a lack of knowledge on the region’s laws, and their crimes, although fitting the definition of Treason, did not ultimately result in any harm to the region. Like in this case, the defendant also pleaded guilty (although at an earlier point in the trial than New Francois) and was not completely remorseful. Slatos was sentenced to 90 days ejection and ban from the region and 90 days removal of the right to citizenship after the banning period, with 180 days ban on voting or seeking government office if they obtain citizenship afterwards. As New Francois was only convicted of Conspiracy, the sentence should be less than that imposed on Slatos.

In TNP v. Ikea Rike, the defendant, who was ultimately convicted for Treason, had the intention of perpetrating a coup of the legitimate government but ultimately did little harm, similar to New Francois. However, unlike New Francois, the defendant entered the region with malicious intent, an aggravating factor on their behalf, though their expression of remorse was a mitigating factor that New Francois does not have. Ikea Rike was sentenced to 90 days ejection and ban from the region and 90 days removal of the right to citizenship after the banning period, with a one year ban on voting or seeking government office if they obtain citizenship afterwards. As New Francois was only convicted of Conspiracy, the sentence should be less than that imposed on Ikea Rike.

General comments
The Defense believes the extent of the crime committed was minor, as the planning to possibly perpetrate a coup was in fact in very early stages. Seeing as conspiracy is punished as a lesser punishment then the original crime, thus sparing my client from the highest punishment, a ban from the region. As well as seeing the mitigating factors in the case The Defense submits the following Final Recommendation for this case.

Final Recommendation
In consideration of the above, the Prosecution and Defense jointly recommends a sentence of 120 days’ ban from citizenship for the crime of Conspiracy to Commit Treason, in the case of The North Pacific v. New Francois.
The Court took into consideration its decision on sentence in The North Pacific v Slatos:
After careful consideration the Court under guidance of Chapter 2, Clauses 1 & 2 sees fit that the Defendant, Slatos, be sentenced with:

  • Ejection and Banning for a period of 90 days, ending on 26 May, 2020;
  • Removal of Citizenship;
  • Removal of the right to seek and hold citizenship for a period of 90 days after the banning period, ending on 24 August, 2020;
  • Removal of the right to seek and hold government office for a period of 180 days after gaining citizenship, or until 31 August 2021 whichever shall be sooner;
  • Suspension of the right to vote for a period of 180 days after gaining citizenship, or until 31 August 2021 whichever shall be sooner.
The Court has considered the recommendations of the prosecution and the defence and has concluded that the case of The North Pacific v. Ikea Rike has the greatest similarity to this case. They relate to the same crime and in neither case did harm result.

However, unlike in that case, the Court has seen no evidence that this Defendant joined The North Pacific with the malicious intent to commit the crime nor any suggesting any longer term commission of the crime. The Defendant does benefit from an early guilty plea but there is no comparable demonstration of remorse and the Court is not satisfied that the Defendant is remorseful.

Balancing those points, the Court considers that a comparable sentence to the Treason sentencing in The North Pacific v. Ikea Rike is appropriate.

The Delegate, the Speaker of the Regional Assembly, and the North Pacific Election Commission will be informed of this verdict and instructed to make appropriate requests of forum administration.

This decision will stand unless overturned by an appeal. The Court hereby closes the case of The North Pacific v Slatos.
The Court took into consideration its decision on sentence in The North Pacific v Ikea Rike:
Under The North Pacific Legal Code Chapter 1, clause 2, and Chapter 2, clauses 1 and 2, the Court sees fit that the Defendant, Ikea Rike, be punished for Treason by:

  1. Ejection and ban from the region for a period of 90 days, with credit received for days already banned, ending 18 April 2020;
  2. Removal of citizenship;
  3. Removal of the right to seek and hold citizenship for a period of 90 days from the date of sentencing, ending 13 May 2020; and,
  4. Removal of the right to seek and hold office, commencing when the Defendant attains citizenship and lasting for a period of one year or until 31 May 2022 whichever shall be sooner, provided that if the Defendant attains citizenship after 31 May 2022 there will be no suspension of this right.
.

Under The North Pacific Legal Code Chapter 1, clause 6, and Chapter 2, clauses 1 and 3, the Court sees fit that the Defendant, Ikea Rike, be punished for Espionage by:

  1. Suspension of the right to vote, commencing when the Defendant attains citizenship and lasting for a period of 90 days or until 31 May 2021 whichever shall be sooner, provided that if the Defendant attains citizenship after 31 May 2021 there will be no suspension of this right.

Under The North Pacific Legal Code Chapter 1, clause 25, and Chapter 2, clauses 1 and 10, the Court sees fit that the Defendant, Ikea Rike, be punished for Gross Misconduct by:

  1. Removal from any office the Defendant may hold; and,
  2. Suspension of the right to vote, commencing when the Defendant completes their sentence for Espionage and lasting for a period of 90 days or, if the Defendant does not gain citizenship before the point at which they would be subject to suspension of voting rights under the sentence for Espionage, commencing when the Defendant attains citizenship and lasting until 29 August 2021, provided that if the Defendant attains citizenship after 29 August 2021 there will be no suspension of this right

The Defendant has committed a number of crimes: Treason, Espionage, and Gross Misconduct. They did so as part of their role in an operation organised by the head of a foreign government which is widely and rightly reviled. They acted as an agent of that foreign government and sought to infiltrate The North Pacific with a view to assisting in the overthrow of the regional government, in so doing they provided reports on the activities of the region, all contrary to their sworn oath. Their actions required them to mislead their fellow citizens and to betray the goodwill extended to them.

It is fortunate, however, that their operation appears to have had minimal impact, their governmental involvement being limited to the Regional Assembly and positions in the executive staff as opposed to the attainment of government office, and to have lead to the disclosure of little, if any, significant information from the region. It is apparent from the evidence supporting the indictment that the Defendant quickly became more preoccupied with the region's roleplay than with their original mission. Had there been a greater impact, this would be a far more serious matter.

The Court has considered the recommendations made by the parties and has considered both the case of The North Pacific v Madjack, to which it was referred, and The North Pacific v Ravania, to which it was not. The Court does not consider that Madjack is of assistance to the Court in this matter: the Defendant in that case was not sentenced for any of the crimes being considered here and the different underlying facts render the sentence for Conspiracy to commit Gross Misconduct of little use. Ravania is more helpful, as it is a sentence for Espionage, but it is limited, due to the different purposes of the Espionage and to the fact that actual harm did result from the actions of the Defendant in Ravania.

The Court considers that the appropriate starting point for the length its sentence is around that proposed by the Defendant, though the Court does not consider that it would be right for the whole of the period to be punished by a ban. The Court is wholly unpersuaded that the justice of the case requires an indefinite ban as suggested by the prosecution, such a ban would be manifestly excessive when set against the actual impact of the Defendant's crime.

However, the Court must go on to consider aggravating and mitigating factors. A significant aggravating factor is the sheer length of time for which the Defendant was committing the crimes, this is of particular concern when considering the risk the Defendant could pose if allowed opportunity to attain office. In mitigation are a number of factors. As the Court has noted, the harm done by the crime appears minimal. The Defendant has no prior convictions and was new to the region, but that must be set against the fact that the Defendant's presence in the region arose only to commit these crimes. Of substantially greater credit to the Defendant is their entry of a prompt and complete guilty plea to each crime and recognition that their actions require punishment. The Court is satisfied that the Defendant has demonstrated genuine remorse and has renounced their previous association with the Confederation of Corrupt Dictators, these facts also do much to aid the Defendant.

Taking those factors together, the Court considers that the appropriate measure to take is not to substantially reduce the length of the punishment, but is to reduce its severity, such that the bulk of the period of punishment will not be served by a ban. However, the law requires the Court to pass a punishment including ejection and banning and the Court considers that it will, in all but the most unusual of circumstances, require a ban of a non-trivial length to meet the gravity inherent to the crime of Treason. In this case, the Court considers that the period of the ban should be 90 days. The Court considers it just and appropriate to also order the removal of the Defendant's citizenship and to remove their ability to seek and hold citizenship for a period of 90 days.

As is stated above, the Court also considers that there must be recognition of the fact that the Defendant has shown a willingness to act to overthrow the region and to do so for a considerable period of time, such that steps must be taken to prevent undue risk to regional government. The Court considers, therefore, that should further be imposed removal of the right to seek and hold office, commencing when the Defendant gains citizenship and lasting for a period of one year or until 31 August 2022 whichever shall be sooner, provided that if the Defendant gains citizenship after 31 August 2022 there shall be no removal of the right.

The law also requires the Court to impose separate punishments in respect of Espionage and Gross Misconduct. Espionage must be punished by suspension of voting rights or speech, or both. Gross Misconduct must be punished by suspension of voting rights. Without rehearsing all of the factors discussed above, the Court considers that the appropriate punishment in respect of each of the crimes of Espionage and Gross Misconduct is a voting suspension of 90 days. The punishment for Espionage shall commence when the Defendant gains citizenship and shall last for a period of 90 days or until 31 May 2021 whichever shall be sooner, provided that if the Defendant gains citizenship after 31 May 2021 there shall be no removal of the right. The punishment for Gross Misconduct shall commence when the Defendant completes their sentence for Espionage and shall last for a period of 90 days or, if the Defendant does not gain citizenship before the point at which they would be subject to suspension of voting rights under the sentence for Espionage, shall commence when they gain citizenship and last until 29 August 2021, provided that if the Defendant gains citizenship after 29 August 2021 there shall be no removal of the right. Gross Misconduct must also be punishment by removal from office; while it appears to the Court that the Defendant holds no office, the Court does nonetheless, in order to ensure completeness, order the Defendant's removal from any office they may hold.

In relation to the punishment of Treason by banning, the Court considers that it must recognise that the Defendant has already spent a considerable period of time banned, with the approval of the Chief Justice, pending the conclusion of this trial. While that ban was not punitive in its purpose, its link to these proceedings is clear and the Court is satisfied that, in the interest of fairness and proportionality in punishment, credit should generally be given for periods served banned pending trial. Consequently, credit is given for the time the Defendant has spent already banned, such that this part of the sentence will expire on 18 April 2020.

Overall, this will mean a sentence as follows:

  • Ejection and Ban from the region for a period of 90 days, credit received for days banned, ending 18 April 2020;
  • Removal from any office the Defendant may hold;
  • Removal of citizenship;
  • Removal of the right to seek and hold citizenship for a period of 90 days, ending 13 May 2020;
  • Removal of the right to seek and hold government office, for a one year period after attaining citizenship or until 31 May 2022 whichever shall be sooner
  • Suspension of the right to vote, a 180 day period after attaining citizenship or until 29 August 2021 whichever shall be sooner

The Delegate, the Speaker of the Regional Assembly, and the North Pacific Election Commission will be informed of this verdict and instructed to make appropriate requests of forum administration.

This decision will stand unless overturned by an appeal. The Court hereby closes the case of The North Pacific v Ikea Rike.
The Court finds as follows:
Under The North Pacific Legal Code Chapter 1, clauses 2 and 24, and Chapter 2, clauses 1, 2 and 8, the Court sees fit that the Defendant, New Francois, be punished for Conspiracy to commit Treason by:
  1. Removal of the right to seek and hold citizenship for a period of 120 days, ending 25 February 2021.
The Defendant has pleaded Guilty to Conspiracy to commit Treason. They planned to undermine or overthrow the region's lawful government. They intended to seek election as Delegate and then use the powers afforded to them by that office to do so. This plan was discussed on the Regional Message Board of another region, in those discussions the Defendant indicated a desire to raid The North Pacific and to provoke interregional conflict.

The Defendant's plan, it appears, was at a very early stage. While there was plainly discussion with other nations, there does not appear to be evidence to suggest other active participants in the plan. No harm has resulted from the Defendant's plan and, given its open discussion on a Regional Message Board, it seems unlikely the Defendant would have been capable of enacting the plan effectively.

The Court has considered the recommendations made by the parties, including their references to the cases of The North Pacific v Slatos and The North Pacific v Ikea Rike. The Court agrees with the parties that those cases are of assistance and that the parties are right that the Court's duty to pass a strictly lesser sentence for Conspiracy than for an original crime does require a lesser sentence than either of those cases. Further, the harm and possibility of harm in this case were both lower and this Defendant's culpability seems far lesser than that of the Defendant in Ikea Rike, who had similarly been involved in a plot to overthrow the region, but had been involved in a more substantial plot for far longer.

The Court agrees that a case of Conspiracy to commit Treason, unlike that of Treason, does not require punishment by ejection and ban and that such a punishment in this case would not be appropriate. A sentence removing the Defendant's right to citizenship would be appropriate. Without considering the mitigating factors, a longer sentence than that proposed by the parties would be required. However, having regard to the Defendant's lack of prior criminal conviction and, particularly, their prompt guilty plea, the Court does consider that the length sought is adequate to do justice.

The factors identified as potentially being aggravating do not require any further adjustment. The question of the Defendant's current bar from citizenship is a security and political matter for the Vice Delegate and the Regional Assembly to which this Court cannot have regard. Lack of remorse, it appears to the Court, is more the absence of a mitigating factor than it is aggravation.

The Court considered whether a further element of punishment may be required, such as restricting the Defendant's right to stand and hold for office after gaining citizenship. While such an element could be an appropriate part of the sentence in this case, particularly having regard to the nature of the Defendant's plan, the Court does not think it is required. There is no need to disturb the bargain that the parties have reached, which, though arguably lenient, is not unduly so.

The Speaker of the Regional Assembly will be informed of this verdict and instructed to carry it out.

This decision will stand unless overturned by an appeal. The Court hereby closes the case of The North Pacific v New Francois.
 
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