Conrad Black’s sense of occasion, if not context

Conrad Black’s sense of occasion, if not context

Yesterday, when F. David Radler—inmate number 18189-424—surrendered himself at 11:30 a.m. to the Bureau of Prisons at the Moshannon Valley prison, the wheels of justice continued to grind for Conrad Black, Peter Atkinson and Jack Boultbee. The following quote appears in the 47-page government response to the Hollinger three’s joint application to continue bail pending appeal:

Throughout their motion appellants engage in Herculean efforts to make what is essentially a sufficiency of the evidence appeal—and a weak one at that—appear to be something else…

In the process, they omit important facts, misdescribe others, attribute arguments to the government it never made, and assume this court will view the evidence in the light most favourable to their defence. Appellants attempt, for example, to portray a straightforward honest services fraud charge—which the district court described as “not at the periphery but near the core of prohibited” schemes…to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services—as a novel or even “dangerous” theory presenting substantial legal questions.

Appellants realise the nearly insurmountable task ahead in convincing the court that their sufficiency arguments present substantial questions likely to result in reversal or a new trial.

The appeals court decision is expected before the end of the week. Meantime, Black is rumoured to have sent the following line of poetry in response to a missive of support and condolence: “It’s a long lane that knows no turnings.”

It’s a line taken from Browning’s long poem “The Flight of the Duchess,” which, in context, reads:

And then, when red doth the sword of our Duke rust,_And its leathern sheath lie o’ergrown with a blue crust,_Then I shall scrape together my earnings;_For, you see, in the churchyard Jacynth reposes,_And our children all went the way of the roses:_It’s a long lane that knows no turnings.One needs but little tackle to travel in;_So, just one stout cloak shall I indue:_And for a staff, what beats the javelin_With which his boars my father pinned you?_And then, for a purpose you shall hear presently,Taking some Cotnar, a tight plump skinful,_I shall go journeying, who but I, pleasantly!_Sorrow is vain and despondency sinful.

Say what you like about Black, the man has a sense of occasion.

• David Radler begins serving 29-month sentence for fraud at Pennsylvania jail [CP]• Conrad Black in bid to delay start of sentence [icWales]