Alcohol

The thing that I really hate (well, one of them) about this coalition government is that we seem to have something very much like Labour.

It’s like you just need to pick & choose the most unpalatable parts of both parties platforms and merge them together.

With the Tories, you may get sound economics, but you get authoritarian social policies.

With the Lib Dems, you may get (sometimes crazily) liberal social policies, but you also get the economics of Keynes.

With the coalition, we seem to have Keynesian Authoritarianism.

I mean… graduate tax student loans with higher interest rates for the most successful? And redemption penalties for those that pay off early?

And in terms of authoritarianism, it’s hard to imagine even the puritans of New Labour coming up with this latest wheeze.

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The ”24/7 sobriety” programme involves people paying to be tested for alcohol twice a day after being convicted of drink-related crime, and appearing in court to face the prospect of a jail sentence if they fail.

Oh aye? Can you say AlcoBO?

It has already been implemented in the US, with the state of South Dakota reporting a 14 per cent drop in the prison population as a result, according to Deputy Mayor of London Kit Malthouse.

He said he would like to pilot the scheme in the capital in 2011, subject to government approval.

He described London as having a "disproportionate problem" with alcohol where almost twice as much alcohol-related crime is committed compared with the rest of England.

Sooo.. you’re going to try this out in London are you? Based on a scheme hailing from the country with the most twisted attitude to alcohol of any Western nation? And from a state that no-one ever goes to, and is riddled with po-faced religionists.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, I’ve been thinking about this and the list is pretty long. Because while you can bet this ruse has been conjured up to tackle a hard core few persistent drunken troublemakers, it never turns out that way, does it?

"The advantage of this is it is not just punitive but corrective," he told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4.

Corrective? Do go on…

"It may be that it is used as an alternative to prison or conjunctive to prison."

Mr Malthouse said that current methods such as counselling did not work to discourage persistent offenders and that some needed a "more rigorous approach".

He added: "If you ask the police there are some people who cause trouble every Saturday night."

Ah yes, as I said.. it’s aimed at a hardcore minority.

Mr Malthouse said the American version of the scheme had a 99 per cent compliance rate and that it was "of no cost to the tax payer", because the people taking part paid a dollar per alcohol test. He described it as a ”cheaper and more cost-effective” alternative to prison.

Yes yes.. and for those who have committed serious enough crimes to warrant prison, perhaps this sanction has a place.

Sure, it’ll start that way, with such good intentions as pave the way to hell. But, sooner or later…

End up in front of the beak for a spot of drunk & disorderly? £100 fine, £40 costs and an AlcoBO. You’re ordered to be dry for 12 months.

Wanna bet it couldn’t happen? Wanna bet innocent and legitimate photographers could never possibly be harassed by the police under abusive invocations of our Anti-terrorism laws? No.. that already happens, of course.

Back to booze laws then. Ask drinkers in Crawley who have experienced the zero-tolerance approach, by the police and their plastic pals, to even genial and mild drunkenness of a Friday night.

This is the next logical step for the zealots, and you can bet the swelling ranks of hypocrites and puritans infesting this country will rub their hands together with glee, egging on the police and courts to take ever more radical action, against ever more trivial infractions.

Now to the reasons why this scheme is just as likely to be both unjust and unworkable, as it is to be implemented with relish by the drones and collaborators of the state.

It has the potential to be unjust in at least a couple of ways.

The first is that this will be implemented under the guise of preventing or punishing behaviour for which criminal sanctions already exist– Public Order Act , Offences Against The Person Act etc etc, and if these offences were properly dealt with, the need for this sweeping new power would cease to exist. So what exactly is this proposed law for? Probably to make life easier for the police, who are, obviously, never known to overstep the bounds of their authority, or to use their powers injudiciously.

The second is that, similar to the ASBO, it would criminalise an act which is, in itself, perfectly legal. I.e. drinking alcohol. To completely ban a person from consuming alcohol is a serious infringement of the rights of the individual.

Consider the eventuality I describe above, of these orders being handed out rather more freely than Kit Malthouse would care to admit.

Now, hand one of these orders to an alcoholic, say. One who holds down a job and lives a relatively untroubled life in terms of brushes with the law. What have you just done? Oh yes, you’ve said to someone addicted to a legal substance, ‘I will put you in prison each time you have a fix’. And will the alcoholic get the help and support he would need for this undertaking of sobriety? Not likely.

Next, a reason why the scheme is impractical and unworkable. They want to test people for alcohol twice a day? How?

Consider the pilot of this scheme, in London, with its highly transient population, as well as a million or more commuters who come from all over the country on a daily basis, not to mention the tourists.

Would they effectively want people to report to a police station for a breathalyser test twice a day? in London? For a year? Or perhaps they could be more sly than that and enforce blood tests and other invasive medical tests weekly or monthly, so that they could detect alcohol consumption?

Oh wait – there’s the massively expensive technology solution! Someone, somewhere must be building a breathalyser, that includes a GPS tag and cellular technology, so the recipient of the order has to self report, in real time. But how would those monitoring know who was blowing into the thing? No.. thats obviously gonna need more thought. Perhaps build DNA testing of saliva into the unit? Sounds cheap.

Sadly, the outcome of London’s pilot will be that the scheme failed because it was too localised. A projection would show how very successful the scheme would have been, if there was a national database and cross-county co-operation.

So even though the scheme will prove to be calamitously expensive, unjust and unworkable, it will be rolled out nationally on the basis of these finding.

If you look back at the last quote from Malthouse, above, it bears repeating:

it was "of no cost to the tax payer", because the people taking part paid a dollar per alcohol test.

Of no cost… no way. Not here, with the multi-million pound IT system, the gold-plated legislation, the enforcement teams, the medics, the courts, the prison places, the lawyers, the cases being defended in the the European Courts of Human Rights.

Spare us.

AJ

Anonymity for suspects

Compare and contrast the attitudes.

Men who have been accused of the heinous crime of rape, but have not (yet, if ever) been found guilty, are named and shamed, facing opprobrium and lynch-mob revenge whether they have actually done anything or not.

A woman who is caught on camera, in broad daylight, putting someone’s cat in a wheelie bin gets anonymity and police protection.*

Still, at least the old bitch is known now to the RSPCA. Just this one time, I’ll not complain if they proceed with their usual fascist bully-boy tactics.

AJ

* Yes, I know the ‘facts’ are dodgy, and she’ll be unmasked at some point, if not as soon as she’s charged. Never let these inconveniences get in the way of a mid-morning bile-spit, eh?

And here’s another one.

H/T To Bucko in the comments of the last post:

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A WOMAN who told police she had been ‘violently raped’ has admitted she was lying.

Elizabeth Wilkinson, 20, of Skipton Old Road, Foulridge, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice after claiming she had been sexually attacked by man at his house in Colne last September.

As a result of her allegation a 22-year-old man was arrested and interviewed at Burnley station as police detectives launched an investigation into what they described as a ‘horrific attack’.

“This is a life-changing offence and is treated as such. In making this false allegation Elizabeth Wilkinson has undermined the genuine victims of this horrific crime.

“An innocent man lost his liberty and has suffered considerable emotional distress as a result of her lies.”

Wilkinson will appear at Burnley Crown Court for sentencing on Friday July 30.

I hope you hear Big Susan calling you from H block, Elizabeth.

AJ

Anonymity for those accused of rape: One good reason right here.

Re this, you might well expect feminist harridans to be up in arms. You’d not be disappointed.

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No sooner have I left a left a comment under her blogpost, than a perfect illustration presents itself:

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A 21-year-old woman drove a man to suicide by crying rape and forced a second innocent man to consider taking his own life after falsely accusing him of a similar sex attack.

Despite being exposed in court as a serial liar, the law means the woman cannot be identified and can hide behind the cloak of anonymity.

A jury took just 45 minutes to clear medical student Olumide Fadayomi, 27, of rape and several jurors at Sheffield Crown Court broke down in tears when the judge then revealed the ‘victim’s’ history of crying rape.

And in an emerging theme, the CPS are also left looking like pig-ignorant vindictive functionaires.

Judge Patrick Robertshaw launched an astonishing attack on Crown Prosecution Service lawyers for making Fadayomi stand trial, simply to abide by the woman’s wishes.

He said:’The evidence did not, and was never going to, prove rape. The prime overriding consideration in the CPS’s decision had been merely that the complainant wished the case to go ahead.

‘It was little short of a craven abdication of responsibility for making an independent and fair minded assessment of the case.

‘It is quite astonishing these decisions are made by those who simply do not have experience of what happens in Crown Court because they never come into Crown Court. They sit behind desks and make decisions that result in this sort of trial taking place.’

You do surprise me. Not.

Meantime, Ms Williams, untwist your knickers, wake up and smell the coffee. Or pipe down.

AJ

Your Country

A song written by exiled Ukrainians seems appropriate, somehow:

Your country raised you
your country fed you
And just like any other country
It will break you
On front line send you
Tax the hell out of you
And just like any other country
It will lock you up you!

But unfortunately there’ll be no judgement day
It would be kind of fun to see
What they would have to say
When the god they preached
Would actually be there
And all who didn’t like The Stooges
Would go to fucking hell!

What are all these countries
How did they appear?
Who cut up the cake?
Who brought up all this gear?
Did it have to do anything
With its people’s will?
I don’t know, I don’t know
I don’t know my dear…

But even all the garbage
they pour over our eyes
Does not prevent us from living
Most magical of lifes

Now it’s six in the morning
I’m down in New Orleans
Sister paintings on the wall
They will speak to me
And up later on we resume salutations
to the rest of local Tribal Connections

Quite.

AJ

In these troubled times

… is a catch all excuse for jackbooted authoritarianism. Whether it’s harassing photographers, or criminalising hyperbole.

The judge who found Paul Chambers guilty today said this:

A district judge at Doncaster Magistrates Court ruled today the Tweet was "of a menacing nature in the context of the times in which we live".

Which basically means that, because of a rag-bag of bearded lunatics, everything we ALL say is subject to strict controls.

Ergo, this judge (District Judge Bennett apparently) is doing the bidding of Islamic extremists who seek to disrupt our society and our justice system.

Paul Chambers is a victim of the appallingly misconceived attitude that characterises the UK’s official response to domestic terrorism.

It’s truly frightening.

Calling Thomas Jefferson:

When the government fears the people, there is liberty.  When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.

I don’t think we can be in any doubt that right now, there is tyranny.

AJ

Paul Chambers GUILTY! WTF!??

He was prosecuted under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 for sending an “indecent, obscene or menacing” message.

The more I dwell upon this, the more I feel sick to my stomach. This country is ruined and there truly is tyranny.

My commiserations to Paul Chambers, and here’s hoping the sentence will be lenient, and not even a sniff of custodial.

More anon.

AJ

(Background here)

UPDATE: £1000 fine.

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UPDATE: With pledges of help with Paul’s fine mounting up on Twitter, Old Holborn is on the case of (i) finding out if Paul wants this help and (ii) getting it done.

Paul Chambers Trial: Verdict Due

Written about previously here, here, here, here and here, Paul Chambers is up before the beak for sending a joke tweet, containing a hyperbolic threat to ‘blow up’ his local airport.

The implications of the coming verdict may be far reaching for all users of social networking tools and blogs. More on this from excellent Law bloggist Jack of Kent.

Watching…

His other half is tweeting from court.

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AJ

Here’s why I don’t live near people

Via Ambush Predator:

A former Royal Navy seaman has been given an Asbo – to stop him swearing at politicians when they appear on his TV or on the radio.

They made this illegal? Yikes! Raedwald has a similar reaction.

But no, it seems this is more a ‘disturbing the peace’ sort of thing, but no-one in the CPS thought they’d win with that (who could argue that a man shouldn’t swear at politicians in his own home?) so they fell back on the ‘it’s not a crime, so we’ll make it a sort-of-crime’ of the ASBO and sent him to prison for two wee…
Wait! What?

I thought we had a shortage of spaces?

Martin Solomon, 64, has already spent the past two weeks in prison waiting to be sentenced after admitting he had breached a previous Asbo by shouting and swearing loudly in his home in Stroud, Gloucestershire, and disturbing his neighbours last month.

Oh, FFS!

Appearing at Gloucester Crown Court, Solomon said he was sorry for his outbursts, which he said were prompted by politicians speaking on TV programmes. He also promised to avoid General Election coverage.

Probably just as well.

Prison for shouting at the lying bastards when they come on the telly?

Fuck. Me.

AJ

Another stroke of the pen, another gross violation of privacy.

There’s been a fair amount of shit emerging from this ‘nothing budget’.

This stinks the most of all:

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Officers will be allowed to intercept any suspicious mail anywhere in the country and open it before it is delivered, under plans being drawn up by the Government to amend the Postal Services Act.

The measure is billed as a bid to crack down on tobacco smuggling. However, a HM Revenue and Customs spokesman said the powers could be applied much more widely.

Gee, ya think?

Civil liberties campaigners were appalled about the increased powers. Alex Deane, a spokesman for Big Brother Watch, said: “This is a dreadful development. The post has always been regarded as near-sacrosanct in law.

“The last time our mail was opened by the authorities without notice, our country was fighting a World War. I hardly think that the situation produced by the government’s tobacco tax compares.

“Once the principle of opening our mail has been accepted, what else will the Government use as an excuse to pry into our post?”

You just know it’ll happen.

AJ

UPDATE: More from the Liberty Central blog here.

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And people wonder why I fucking swear?

UPDATE 2: I commend bloggist Tom Paine’s fine work here.

Ever been emailed 6 seconds of bondage? Go straight to jail.

This seems rather mental.

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A man has been warned he faces a custodial sentence after pleading guilty to possession of what prosecutors described as "extreme porn" at Mold Crown Court last week.

Campaigners against the extreme porn law are now waiting with some concern to see what the court decides when the accused, Andrew Robert Holland, of Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Clwyd returns for sentencing in April.

The case started out as high farce. Following a raid by North Wales police last summer, Holland was charged with two offences under ss.63-68 of the Criminal Justice Act 2008.

The first charge centred on an allegation that he had in his possession a clip featuring human-animal sex. This was dropped after the prosecution discovered that the animal in question – a tiger – was actually a CGI-generated spoof, modelled loosely on Tony the Tiger of Frosties fame, and that the tiger finished off his sex act by turning to camera and saying "That beats doing adverts for a living".

The second and more serious charge alleged that Holland had downloaded and viewed a six-second clip of human-on-human extreme porn.

According to Holland, this was sent to him as a joke – he viewed it just once, but made the mistake of not getting round to deleting it.

At the Crown Court in Mold, last week, before Mr Justice Medland, Holland pleaded guilty to a charge of possession, in the expectation that this would count as mitigation and lead to a lighter sentence.

Holland told the Register last week that he was therefore shocked in the extreme to be told to return home pending reports – and that a custodial sentence was "likely".

?!

If this does indeed occur, then the worst fears of campaigners against this law seem set to be realised. This is a stand-alone charge – almost the first of its kind.

For Consenting Adult Action Network (CAAN), National Convenor Clair Lewis said: "Assuming this involves an image of consenting adults – which we believe it to do – we find the idea of sending someone to prison at all for the mere act of possessing an image to be disgraceful and most likely a breach of Human Rights.

"We will be investigating further and if the authorities are as unreasonable as they appear, we will take further action." ®

Seems like another perfectly perverse consequence of Labours bad laws.

AJ

#twitterarrest #helppaulchambers Update

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Thursday it is then.

I guess (iAnal) it can go three ways now.

  1. The judge can reject the motion to change the plea to not-guilty and go on to sentencing.
  2. The judge can accept the motion and declare that there is no case to answer.
  3. The judge can accept the motion and set a trial date in front of twelve men good and true.

Probably the best result all round is option (2) and I expect that’s what Paul Chambers is hoping for (I would be), but option (3) would (one would hope) make South Yorks Police, the CPS and the government look very stupid indeed. Sadly, it would be unlikely to get underway until after the election.

So fingers crossed for Mr Chambers and cheers to the above iconised twatterist for keeping us updated.

AJ

Why is rape ‘special’?

Of women or men.

I mean, why is it that, with victims of all sorts of crime being let down by the police and the justice system, special justice-distorting arrangements are forever being made for victims of one specific crime?

Yes, yes. It’s a violation. The French for rape is ‘le viol’.

Being burgled is a violation. Being watched by a stalker or a CCTV voyeur is a violation. Having your computer records viewed by unauthorised parties for prurient or criminal purposes is a violation. Airport body scanners are, to many, a violation. Having your fizzog all over the papers after a false accusation of rape by a bird who cannot ever be named is a violation.

And it’s terrifying. As is being kidnapped, or stalked, or robbed at gunpoint. Or jumped by a gang. Or arrested on a false accusation of a crime where the word of the victim is sacrosanct and the burden of criminal proof is stacked against you.

So why is rape special?

Sure – it terribly damages its victims.

As does being disfigured for life by a bottle-wielding Glaswegian. Or suffering a broken back thanks to a drunk driver and spending life in a wheel-chair, unable to walk or fuck ever again.

Its victims are especially vulnerable, too. Unlike octogenarians who are having flaming dogturds pushed through their letter box by the local ABOSists. And unlike children abused by priests. And, apparently, unlike Steven Hawking at the top of a staircase.

The rates of successful detection and prosecution are very low. Well, yes. As they are with practically everything that can’t be detected by a speed camera.

The rules around rape trials have already been badly distorted by New Labour and legal minds (which I am not) on the intermong will tell you more about that.

I’m just sick to the back teeth with this obsessive feminist tinkering when the whole criminal justice system is, in large part due to Labour (and feminists), a cluster-fuck of Hindenberg proportions.

AJ

UPDATE: Harriet Slapped. Ooops.

Hatchet Wars:

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Bits & bobs

Just a few things I’ve happened upon today, that I can’t be bothered to construct full posts about.

Someone called Matt Flaherty has written a letter to the CPS expressing concern about the Paul Chambers #twitterarrest case. It  very nicely articulates the concerned raised by the choice of path the CPS has taken in this instance. Sadly, since Mr Chambers has already pleaded guilty, it’s too little too late. As an expression of all that’s wrong with this case, though, it’s a fine piece of writing & I commend it to you.

Many years ago, I used to frequent a web forum, where a chap once boasted how he’d secretly videoed himself shagging various women, by using a hidden camera. A free-for-all ensued and debate was split along the lines of “get in there, good lad – hope you caught the money shots” and “err – that’s certainly immoral and probably illegal – you’re a fucking sleezebag, mate”. This, would have been somewhere between 2002-2004, I guess (I couldn’t find the thread in 2 hours of searching last night), but I was reminded of it when I read this item, about a bloke who has just been jailed, having been rumbled for precisely this activity.

Mad Mel nails The Tories’ hopey-changey-wishy-washy bullshitfest with aplomb.

In spite of Tory optimism that their marginal seats strategy is mitigating the nationwide narrowing of the polls, YouGov have a poll of 60 key marginals, showing that the gap in the marginals is 2% too.

The Jon Venables thing continues to rumble. The beying of the general pubelick continues to grow in pitch and amplitude. #bbcqt last night was awash with it (Will Self here). It is, though, annoying to think that, if the papers are right, Venables has been habitually flouting various of the conditions of his licensed release. Robert Thompson is still at liberty. Do you have a dysfunctional Scouse loner with a sketchy background in your workplace? Renting a flat from you? In your bed? Have you checked under your bed for monsters and trolls? Meanwhile, Venable is getting another new identity after his ID was rumbled at the prison he’s in.

Bit of a contradiction here:

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Which one is it? I think we all know. I’ve suffered these bi-weekly collections for a couple of years now and they are a fucking joke in half a dozen different ways.

Incidentally, they’re installing RFID chips in bins again. Look for a circular black plastic thing, recently inserted in the underside of the front lip of your wheelie bin. Remove. Microwave for 2 minutes. Reinsert.

Brown’s in front of the Chilcot inquiry today. Outcome likely to be, “meh – he got away with it again.”

I’ve added the Big Brother Watch site to my blogroll, because, if I’ve nothing to say on any particular day, it’s usually because they’ve already said it with aplomb.

The Met office are to stop issuing seasonal forecasts, because they’re shit at it. Presumably, this will give them more time to spend cooking their global warming datasets.

This took a while to float back to the surface.

[Airline Bomb Plotter] Ali’s wife has also been charged under anti-terror laws for allegedly failing to inform authorities of the plot. However, she strongly asserts her innocence.

She’s just been cleared after a 3 week trial. Good.

More crap anon.

AJ

#twitterarrest takes a very nasty turn

You may remember the case of Paul Chambers, who I wrote about here  in 18th January.

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It was reported at the time that Paul had been bailed until 11th February. When that date came and went, having shit to do, I assumed he’d had a ‘no further action’ letter. Not so.

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This is important:

He was arrested on suspicion of communicating a bomb hoax after a post on the website about blowing up the airport was reported to police.

But charged with something quite different:

South Yorkshire Police said: “A 26-year-old Doncaster man has been charged with sending by public communications network a message that was grossly offensive, or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character contrary to section 127 of the Communications Act 2003.”

Enter lawyer (spit!) Jack of Kent, who gives this case a bit of scrutiny and senses an injustice in the offing that could have broad and potentially devastating implications for all internet users in the UK – everyone from swear-bloggers and twitter-trolls to green-ink emailers.

I’ve abridged this, but I urge you to read the whole thing.

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And so, if there has to be an offence of making bomb hoaxes – a legitimate incursion into the right of free expression – it seems that the 1977 Act strikes the right balance with its onerous requirement on the prosecution before any defendant can incur criminal liability.

Paul Chambers was duly arrested in January by South Yorkshire police on suspicion of communicating a bomb hoax under the 1977 Act; the police confirmed: “[t]he arrest relates to alleged threats about Robin Hood Airport discovered on a social networking website”.

Do note that word “threats” here as it indicates – at this point – the seriousness of the apparent offence, at least in the eyes of the police.  The police then added: “[t]he Force take such misuse of these sites seriously and will take robust action to deal with those who choose to use them in such a way as to cause unnecessary alarm and distress to members of the public.”

Of course, no alarm or distress – let alone “unnecessary alarm of distress” – had been caused whatsoever.  The silly joke had been reported to the police and the airport by a third party; it would appear that no one who saw the tweet regarded it as serious.  The airport later confirmed no inconvenience had been caused, other than in respect of the investigation.  Notwithstanding their worthy press statements, South Yorkshire Police were beginning to look very foolish indeed.

Nonetheless, Paul Chambers was placed on bail.  A further police statement said:

“There was huge public and media interest in this case. Whilst the investigation and collation of evidence was straightforward, due to the wide-spread interest in the use of Twitter in this way, the case was referred to CPS to make the decision on disposal. Based on this “public interest test” it was not appropriate for police to make this decision.
“The CPS themselves could have decided on a caution, but based on the evidence and the public interest they decided to charge in this case, a decision that the police feel is appropriate.”

The CPS did not decide on a caution; they decided to charge.

Errr … What? Hold on – it’s about to get a whole lot worse – for you, me and all.

And, curiously and importantly, this statement did not mention what Paul Chambers was to be charged with.

The CPS had decided to charge him, but not with the offence which Parliament actually legislated for in the 1977 Act, which would require them showing evidence of Paul Chambers intending others to believe there was a bomb hoax.

Instead the CPS decided to charge him under the little-known – and in many ways worrying – offence under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003.  The 1977 Act, with its protection for defendants, was effectively side-stepped.

Okay, so… no problem – we know not to make daft bomb jokes – we have to treat the whole world like the security area of an airport. Ho fucking hum.

But no – it’s much worse than that.

The next police statement said: “[a] 26-year-old Balby man has been charged with sending, by a public communications network, a message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character, contrary to section 127 of the Communications Act 2003.”

The relevant portions of section 127 of the Communications Act 2003.

(1)            A person is guilty of an offence if he—

(a)           sends by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character; or

(b)           causes any such message or matter to be so sent.

 

(2)           A person is guilty of an offence if, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, he—

(a)           sends by means of a public electronic communications network, a message that he knows to be false,

(b)           causes such a message to be sent; or

(c)           persistently makes use of a public electronic communications network.

(3)           A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both.

Go on – read that again.

You can be charged for sending a message that is ‘grossly offensive’, ‘obscene or menacing character’ – or critically – “for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, he ‘sends … a message that he knows to be false’.”

And you can be sent down for six months or get a hefty fine. And we already know it doesn’t take much to be sent down for 6 months, these days.

Back to the eminent Mr Jack.

It can be inferred that Paul Chambers was prosecuted under section 127(1) – for sending a “menacing” message – not section 127(2), in respect of, say, causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another.

Now this is a different offence than for which Paul Chambers was arrested.

This 2003 provision is based on an earlier provision in the 1984 Telecommunications Act, which (in those pre-internet days) was intended to deal with nuisance telephone callers.

However, the broad definition of “public communications network” now means the offence covers the internet as much as a telephone call: and so it covers emails and internet postings of any kind.

Do read the rest of Jack’s treatment of the case. Including case law and an exchange with the CPS. He concludes:

It may well be that there should be legislation criminalising all internet-based messages of grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene, or menacing character, or sent for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to others, even if those messages are never received.

If so, this has clear importance beyond the Twitter “bomb hoax” of Paul Chambers.  It raises a fundamental question as to the relationship between the criminal law and the users of the internet.  And this question becomes urgent if, as in this case, a fairly broad attitude is taken by the CPS to what constitutes “menace” or one of the other elements of the section 127 offence.

But in the meantime, Paul Chambers has been convicted for an offence for which he was not arrested and for a “menace” he plainly did not intend to make, and nor was taken as such.  All this because there is a “public interest” in prosecuting him, even if the relevant offence does not apply.

It seems to me that an injustice is occurring; and, with the CPS’s new attitude to section 127, such injustices are likely to occur again.

Right. Tin-foil hat time.

Consider the possibility that, either before or because of this case, Harriet Harman, having arriving on Twitter, doubtless to howls of loathing, or Jack Straw, has had a word in the ear of Kier Starmer QC. He is head of the CPS and clearly left leaning. Now the likes of KerryMP have a nuclear option, which they’re perfectly vindictive enough to activate.

It’s pretty clear that we’re heading for a dirty election campaign, so I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two of the most effective and/or successfully antagonistic right wing bloggers, commenters and tweeters had a knock on the door one morning, with all that follows – in particular, confiscation of all your computer gear and phones, an arrest under s.127(2) and a bail date just after the election.

Jahomstradamus has spoken.

Chambers was granted unconditional bail until the sentencing hearing at Doncaster Magistrates’ Court on 12 March.

A date for my diary.

AJ

A future fail for all

It’s only a few days ago that I pointed this out:

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A security company based in Essex is to be given some police powers to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Regency provides security staff at shopping centres

And today, via @PoliceStateUK on Twitter, we see precisely the sort of total fucking bell-end these powers are to be dished out to.

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And just so we’re sure that real plod are much more sensible and tactful:

Geraghty-Shewan said: “He said there was no way of proving what I was doing was innocent.

“I told him Ben was my own son and that he was blowing everything out of proportion.

“Five or 10 minutes later a police officer approached and asked for my name and address.

“I raised my voice, as I was getting a little annoyed by this stage, and he threatened to arrest me for breach of the peace.

Fuck’s sake.

In a statement The Bridges said safety was taken “very seriously” at all its shopping centres.

The statement said: “We do ask our security guards across the estate to be diligent in implementing our security measures, which includes monitoring photography in our centres.

“Unfortunately on this occasion what should have been a simple polite conversation led to a misunderstanding and we apologise for any offence caused.

Too little. Too late. You total and utter retards. Have you sacked this little Paedofinder General fuckbasket? I’ll bet not.

AJ

Another Briton betrayed by Labour extradition treaty with USA

No-one in their right mind could now possibly want to do business with the USA.

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Ian Norris, the 67-year-old retired chief executive of Morgan Crucible, is fighting a request by America who want to charge him with obstructing justice. Britain’s top court dismissed an appeal on Wednesday.

His lawyers said the extradition arrangements between the two countries stripped citizens of "fundamental protections" and now hope to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Mr Norris won a ruling in 2008 from the then House of Lords that blocked his removal to the US on price-fixing charges.

But the US government pursued him over related charges of obstructing justice and was successful in the lower UK courts.

In November last year Mr Norris appealed against those rulings to the new Supreme Court, arguing that extradition would cause such damage to his and his wife’s mental and physical health that it would be incompatible with his right to private and family life under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed his appeal on the grounds that any interference to his family life did not outweigh public interest.

Jonathan Sumption QC, for Mr Norris, had argued that it would not serve the interests of preventing crime to extradite "a sick, retired man of 66 whose wife suffers from a severe depressive episode, so that he may face a subsidiary charge of obstructing a United States investigation of price-fixing".

He said the "main stuffing" of the case against Mr Norris had been knocked out by the previous decision of the House of Lords in his case.

The effect of extradition would be a "disproportionate interference" with the right to a private and family life for Mr Norris and his wife under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mr Norris and his wife, Sheila, 65, have been together for 50 years and are both in poor health.

The court heard that Mr Norris was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000 and although it was now in remission he suffers from many health problems and was reliant upon his wife for his daily nursing needs.

Nice.

AJ