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That Twitter crime wave. Who is to blame?

Twitter anger over airport conviction - Crime, UK - The Independent

There is much anger about the ludicrous conviction (recently upheld on appeal) of Twitter user Paul Chambers. Frustrated at the prospect of not being able to fly to meet a girlfriend, he tweeted (with clear comedic intent):-

Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!

Much cyber-ire has been directed at the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the judge about this case. It is all misdirected. This "offence" was not created by them. The Common Law is incapable of such imbecility. Craziness of this kind requires Parliament. Frankly, I doubt anyone involved believes this was an appropriate use of the hammer of criminal justice. They are simply enforcing the ludicrous, play-to-the-Daily-Mail-gallery, Terrorism Act.
Bully Nor should you blame the policemen who arrested a Tory Councillor for suggesting in jest that the infuriating Yasmin Alibhai-Brown be stoned to death. No sane person believes this was an appropriate, still less a just, response to a bad joke about a bad joke. The officers of the law were enforcing the ludicrous "hate crime" (as opposed to "I really really like you crime") legislation of - you've guessed it - the idiots lately ejected from office.

Blame those who complained, by all means. Blame those who should know better who fall for the student union-grade idiocy of criminalising speech, not actions. Blame above all the Party that devised these laws. Blame increasingly, with every day they remain un-repealed, the coalition government that allows them to remain in force. But don't blame the foot-soldiers of the law who are - I am confident - embarrassed and humiliated by their roles in these farces.

These laws are wrong. They are unjust. They disrespect the tradition of free speech that so much defines who we English are - or should be. I can understand why people are angry. But let's direct our anger accurately.  Pity the policemen and judges. Hate the politicians. And please don't forget to despise vigorously the un-English cowards who cry for "protection" from the "offence" harsh words may bring.


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No, blame SHOULD be directed at the CPS.

They went out of their way to find and use an obscure law which had hardly any use beforehand in order to get a case. If they really were bothered about terrorism (the judge in the case used the "current situation" arguement) they would have done him for a bomb hoax or other more terrorism related crime. To choose a law which is more about protecting telephone operators than anti-terrorism is perverting the course of just and fair law.

The lawyer(s) at the CPS who decided to use this law and pushed it all the way are the one who should be asked to justify their actions.

The police were just doing their job. The judge was just doing her job.

The duty manager and station manager are just victims of the current climate of centralising authority and not letting anyone take responsibility. So they had no choice but to pass on the message up the chain to the police.



Play to the Guardian, you mean?

Peter Whale

Tom two years ago you wrote a post on the same theme. I blamed your profession and you took me to task on it. Now I know that your profession has the most to blame. They have input in creating the law ,they have input in implementing the law, but I see no stand from your profession against stupid ill conceived laws, or laws against our liberties they have acquiesced on all occasions. They could give derisory sentences but they toady the government line. I am ashamed of our legislature and ashamed of our lawyers.
I see you as separate from my comment, for you run this blog with style, honesty and panache which sets you apart from the other departments of law. Until your professional bodies make a stand against these ridiculous ill-conceived laws we will have no passive resolution. It will end up violent and lawyers will have to bear a great proportion of blame.

Trooper Thompson

I agree that we should blame the people you single out, but the 'foot soldiers' must also be blamed, and unfortunately the older generation of coppers who realise such legislation is wrong are being replaced by youngsters who've never known anything else, and the appeal court judge bears a great deal of responsibility. She could have thrown it out with withering contempt, and it would have been dead on the books.

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