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Monday, 19 March 2012

Instead of fighting crime police censor Facebook and Twitter

http://news.sky.com/home/uk-news/article/16191419


The police don't seem to realise that tweeting and reading offensive tweets has nothing to do with public order

For an offence to be a public order offence the offence has to be committed in a public place with people who can see and hear you in a context of public order.

Getting angry reading something offensive you read on your PC, laptop or phone in your home or place of work has NOTHING to do with public order.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Order_Act_1986  makes it quite clear that all the offences listed in the Act have to take the place in the context of a PUBLIC PLACE.

Imagine, if you will, a crowd all sitting in the park (a public place) with their laptops and phones reading the same offensive racist/sexist/disablist/homophobic tweet/blog/Facebook status update.  They all get very angry and want to commit horrible acts of violence against the person from whom the offensive comment originated.

BUT HE IS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND.

For the crime to be complete the person who caused the offence has to be PRESENT in the same public place too.

Otherwise, the person is only guilty of expressing an offensive opinion which in a supposedly free society he should be allowed to without being harassed by the police, who apparently have nothing better to do.

Are we a free society or not, PC Plod?   Or don't you care because you have to make a certain number of arrests and convictions in order to get your promotion?

Perhaps this question should be more appropriately addressed to Keir Starmer, the Labour-supporting and proud Director of Public Persecutions.  

I advise anyone whom the police persecutes for this "offence" to opt for Crown Court trial and get a decent lawyer.

I wonder if you can have a policeman convicted for wasting police time.   I know you can certainly get him convicted for malicious prosecution if he maliciously prosecutes you and the court does not convict you because it is so obviously trumped up, trivial and de minimis.  

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