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Peter Tatchell blasts the jailing of Barry Thew as ‘excessive’

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  1. “Kill a cop for fun…” – yeah, that’s not incitement, at all!

    Tatchell’s personal involvement is tarnished by his obvious bias – it’s now becoming a bane to us all. Where is the line to be drawn, indeed…

    1. Do you understand the concept of incitement?

      That t-shirt was offensive, however it was not incitement.

  2. Dave North 11 Oct 2012, 9:01pm

    Oh just shut it Peter.

    The man clearly crossed a line and rightly got banged up for it.

    How would you feel if somebody killed someone you loved and some idiot walks the streets with a T-Shirt condoning it.

    What F’in planet are you on.

    1. Patrick Lyster-Todd 11 Oct 2012, 11:32pm

      Obviously a more level-headed one than yourself? Of course the T-shirt is grossly offensive but 4 months? No, that too is wrong.

      1. I am glad it wasn’t just me that thought so. Ridiculous, and just pandering to tabloid hysteria.
        The shirt was grossly offensive to me when I saw the picture, but if he wants to shame himself publicly, let him do it.
        This is a free country. People need to start being less offended by such di**heads, and grow up.
        I can think of far more cases that warranted locking people up who ended up with a tag. Vandalism of public property is far more anti-social, and the long term damage done by letting people get away with it is huge.

      2. I agree.

    2. No, you shut up for a change, Mr North.

      1. Dave North 12 Oct 2012, 9:45pm

        My sister was killed by some a man like this.

        He advertised it on facebook and twitter as a great big Ha Ha.

        So you SHUT UP.

        1. Dave North 12 Oct 2012, 9:46pm

          Or do you think it is acceptable?

          Clearly you do,

        2. That is truly dreadful what happened to your sister, Dave, but you are making a very contentious link from a very emotively-driven viewpoint.

  3. It’s offensive and deeply upsetting but it is not criminal and he shouldn’t have been sent to prison. That idiot Justin Lee Collins was violent and abusive to his girlfriend and only got a community service sentence. We cannot allow this country to be turned into a state where the ‘thought police’ rule.

    1. Hear hear Jane, sanity prevails not here forums after all!!

      1. Blasted iPhone spellchecker!! For “not here” read “on these”…

    2. You’d be OK with a guy walking passed you with a t-shirt saying:

      KillAGay.com

      I know I certainly wouldn’t. You can’t demand one thing and expect another…

      1. No I wouldn’t be okay with it. I would be very offended. However, I wouldn’t expect them to be sent to prison and I most certainly wouldn’t demand it. Since when was it okay to imprison someone for being offensive?

        1. When it’s inciting hatred/ condoning and promoting violence against a section of society. Isn’t that pretty much equivalent to promotion of terrorism?

          1. ...Paddyswurds 12 Oct 2012, 11:31am

            ..and you think the policeman who murdered Ian Tomlinson, a harmless paper seller is OK and should get off scot free?? I think not A vindictive sentence if ever I saw one and let me tell you we seen plenty of those here in the north of Ireland so I know what i am talking about….

        2. I think we need to take into consideration that the man in question had also breached the conditions of a previous suspended jail term. I somehow suspect it was for that reason that he is now behind bars but the press are only reporting on the fact of his choice of clothes.

          1. That’s not the point, he was STILL imprisoned for wearing a frigging t-shirt!

            How many cops have ever been imprisoned for murdering members of the public whilst on duty?

            Answer:- NONE!

    3. I agree. I’m sorry but wearing a T-shirt regardless of what’s on it should not mean you get sent to jail.

    4. Paul from Brighton 12 Oct 2012, 10:02pm

      Jane,

      It is criminal. The man even admitted to himself in court with a lawyer. Accept that this behaviour is criminal and has no place in our society, or, be prepared to be abused in the street by every and any homophobic person/group and when you phone the police be ready for their response –

      Sorry, it’s deeply upsetting for you, but not criminal.

      The man committed a crime, a nasty one at that. As I said below, the debate should be about his punishment, not his crime.

      Paul

  4. Mr Tatchell added: “There is no evidence that his t-shirt was directed at the officers who were murdered.”

    Hmmm I think it’s pretty obvious that it was. What other police were killed that day?

    1. He claims to have already been wearing the shirt that day before the shooting happened, relating to a previous issue he had with the police. Still a di**head though.

    2. John Jones 12 Oct 2012, 8:06am

      That’s an assumption, not a provable fact.

      Subjective, not objective.

      Sadly, the more we call ourselves rationalists here in the UK, the less objective (and rational) we’ve become.

      People being put in prison because they may have hurt someone’s feelings is just mad.

      Freedom of speech is too important to be lost – the alternative is called a ‘police state’.

    3. Paul Halsall 12 Oct 2012, 11:01am

      Apparently he had a son who died in police custody.

      The t-shirt was appalling but would lie very much within what I would consider the range of protected free speech.

  5. Mr. Tatchell, as ever a voice of reason in a world long gone insane.

    Ignorant, disgusting, vile man but his punishment is vastly disproportionate to his horrible indiscretion.

    At this rate we’ll be locked up for burping, but that’s what happens when we begin to criminalise thought itself:- from there a short, slippery slope into a fully-fledged police state ala US of A.

    1. Midnighter 12 Oct 2012, 1:54pm

      Quite agree Sam. I see this as another example of closing ranks in the face of a threat to the police force, much like Hillsborough.

      1. Police equipped with too many laws and powers against the public invariably gravitate to abusing and corrupting said powers.

        Just look at America today where innocent bystanders are being tasered like sitting ducks or beaten to death on a near daily basis for saying the wrong thing or even for making eye contact.

        We know from Hillsborough and many other cases that while there are many exemplary officers, some of our police forces are far from perfect and almost always unaccountable and untouchable for their wrong doings.

        The murder of a newspaper vendor and young Brazilian would be just the tip of the iceberg if police were given greater powers to arrest on the basis of what people wear or say because such laws would be stretched to include the most innocent of actions.

        It is a slippery slope.

  6. Peter is right. The law cannot get involved in protecting feelings. It is the route to blasphemy laws, sharia law and the kind of mob rule we see in places like Pakistan. There is no doubt that Thew’s comments are revolting and hurtful beyond belief. But expression of delight at such a vile act is not incitement. A civilised society must tolerate the hurtful, intolerable expressions and rely on society to show its disgust at, and exclude the perpetrator. Today’s judgement denies us that right to do so.

  7. Man who never laid a finger on anybody gets four months in jail for offending the police.

    Man who makes vile anti-semitic gas chamber references to Tottenham Hotspur gets a caution and a mere three match ban.

    PC Simon Harwood murders Ian Tomlinson and just gets the sack.

    Officers shoot dead unarmed Mark Duggan and lie about it to the IPCC and get off scot free.

    British “justice”

    1. This grotesque individual and his monstrous message of hate did not just offend the police, he offended every decent human being and completely deserved his prison sentence. If the cold blooded murder of two police women, one who happened to be lesbian, did not offend you El Gobble, then you should be ashamed of yourself.

      1. Well said, Jason.

  8. Charlie chaplin w14 11 Oct 2012, 9:38pm

    At least gays get paid to insult the disabled in the london aids charity sector ! Then try and hush it up

    1. Not dead yet 11 Oct 2012, 9:43pm

      Its ok to email people living with hiv abuse the gay tories just pay em of wiv charity money to keep quiet insult a cripple today pay em of wiv charity money tomorow

  9. chap who insulted the memory of tom daley’s dad in front of anyone and everyone on twitter just got a warning. do the social-media guidelines that were drawn up in the wake of that not have a bearing on the street? obviously not, which is on danger of making this latest case sound as if it was brought by an aggrieved lynch mob rather than those charged with upholding the fairness and consistency of the law.

  10. Not dead yet 11 Oct 2012, 9:54pm

    At least they punch the police in the face after the ‘fk of ya trouble email in london aids sector ! The officer suffered a split lip

  11. Would you guys mind if a guy passed you by with a t-shirt saying: killagay.com haha?

    The sentence is ridiculous, but something had to happen. Free speech is fine, but not if it allows certain individuals to incite hatred and then claim it wasn’t aimed at anyone.

    1. Free speech has no limits. You do however face the consequences of what you say. At this point someone usually says, so it’s OK to shout fire in a theatre?
      Well it is yes, that is what free speech is. But you face the consequences if you do it, and if people get killed you end up in court facing manslaughter charges.
      Wearing a shirt never killed anyone, the man that shot those police hadn’t just seen the shirt and thought, “that’s a good idea”. If you could prove in court someone saw his shirt and it inspired them to “kill a cop” you might have a case for putting him in prison. Even then I cannot see that happening as the killer is solely responsible for his actions.
      This guy deserves to be a social outcast, nothing more. I am guessing he already was.

      1. I wouldn’t be worried about any adults reading this… It’s impressionable children.

        Why are so many calling this a free country? It isn’t, so please refrain from stating this ridiculous claim.

        Free speech would imply that it’s without cost… Pretty sure a consequence would be classed as a cost.

        I’m surprised at my fellow gays – one rule for one and another rule for another… Whatever suits best. A certain preacher comes to mind – I’m sure the readers would be fine if he just wrote it all down on t-shirts and handed them out.

  12. Not dead yet 11 Oct 2012, 9:58pm

    Tatchel wants to be everyones hero but wont out the aids charity trustees who sent abuse to thr disabld staf – wot u scared of tatch ?

    1. Patrick Lyster-Todd 11 Oct 2012, 11:36pm

      Sorry but none of your postings make any sense … are you referring to some other issue?

    2. And you’re clearly nobody’s hero, Not Dead Yet.

  13. Sounds like he may be a born again Westboro Baptist. Tatchell that is.

    1. Yes, didn’t you know Peter’s got that emblazoned across a t-shirt, jerk!!

  14. It seems that there may be more to it than most reports have indicated: apparently Thew had a long-standing dispute with Greater Manchester police over the death of his son three years ago and repeated stop-and-search procedures.

    Either way ,the jail sentence does seem somewhat excessive, especially when compared to the case of the policeman who attacked Ian Tomlinson who died a few minutes later.

  15. As someone who works in the justice system I am ashamed to see this, Someone’s T shirt gets a sentence more severve than (say) physical domestic violence….thats crazy.
    Of corse it will be overturned on appeal.

    1. John Jones 12 Oct 2012, 8:10am

      Will it? In modern ‘liberal’ Britain, I doubt that very much.

  16. Bengt Hheld 11 Oct 2012, 10:36pm

    I am surprised that many of british gaypeople are so ignorant about history. Thatchel worked for your rights before most of you dared to admit to yourself that you are gay. He has paved the way for some of your rights. And now you insult him just becuase he is not agree with you in every detail.

    Tatcell take free speech as a right, not like something you are granted but only if your are political correct. It was of course indecent to wear that t-shirt. But 4 months in prison? Cant you see that is a proper debate to discuss if thats a too hard sentence?

    1. Doesn’t give him a gold pass to do and say what he pleases… Gadaffi comes to mind. Because of what he achieved in his prime, should his crimes be condoned? A FAR more extreme version, but it’s late haha.

      1. Patrick Lyster-Todd 11 Oct 2012, 11:40pm

        Well, actually, Peter does have a right to say and do what he wants, so long as this is within the law. And even then I’d support his right to civil disobedience etc. But what on earth has a dead dictator got to do with this?

      2. de Villiers 12 Oct 2012, 12:47am

        How can you compare Peter Tatchell to the terrorist dictator Gaddafi?

  17. Well, judging by the comments and arrows so far it would appear that the PC thought place lynch mob that normally tread these boards are away on their annual conference.

    Very reassuring to see so much common sense being espoused:- we are all in this together, and acquiescing to the criminalisation of thought and freedom of expression is the road to tyranny and totalitarianism.

    Thought police today, drones tomorrow hovering above our every utterance.

    And lest you think I am kidding, drones are the latest weapon in big government’s artillery that are being built and paid for out of our taxes in order to suppress and control us:-

    http://www.itv.com/news/update/2012-10-01/big-brother-watch-clear-rules-needed-before-skies-littered-with-flying-cameras/

    1. When even The Guardian is on the all, we have every reason to be ever more vigilant to authority’s abuse of power over us:-

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/07/drones-uk-civil-liberty-fears

  18. Spanner1960 12 Oct 2012, 12:59am

    The guy breached his jail term, so he deserves to go back in the slammer where scumbags like him belong.

    It, and he, are a no-brainer.

    1. Ben Foster 12 Oct 2012, 1:06am

      that’s the significant thing of course. He committed a public order offence – the t-shirt – while on a suspended sentence for some other crime. hence the courts had a right to deal more harshly with him than we might have expected.

      1. no – he got 4 months for the shirt and a further 4 months for the breach

      2. But he was STILL imprisoned for wearing a frigging t-shirt!

        Question:- how many cops have ever been imprisoned for murdering members of the public whilst on duty?

        Answer:- ZILCH!

    2. I believe he was given 4 months for the shirt and a further 4 months for the breach…thats HARSH compared to almost any other sentense.

      1. Ben Foster 14 Oct 2012, 4:52am

        Yes, I know. But courts generally ARE harsher with repeat offenders and those who break terms so that, I suppose, is WHY he got such a harsh sentence for a relatively trivial offence. Please note the ‘relatively’ bit there. He is clearly a twisted individual with a grudge against the police and what he did was abhorent, but the fact that he is already under suspended sentence seems to explain the severity of punishment to me. I could be wrong. I’m just trying to find some logic to this in a world that seems increasingly unhinged day by day.

  19. Quite right Peter. Internationally we’re being increasingly constricted and restricted with speech and the interpretation of words.

  20. robert pirie-warsop 12 Oct 2012, 7:06am

    what if his tshirt had written on it killagayforfun.com and one less “fag” in the world would you still be blasting his sentence ???

    1. You just don’t get it, do you?

      Freedom of thought and speech is for all.

      Let ignorant, vile people hang themselves by their own words:- they dig their own hole one way or another.

      We rise above it by laughing in their face or looking the other way knowing that the only victim here is the one who chooses to devote their life to hate and loathing.

      We should be bigger than that and certainly do not need police and judges to throw them into prison on our behalf.

      The problem with many of us is that we let issues and shame around our sexuality to disempower us as people and that prompts many of us to play the victim card whenever we can.

      It really is time we accepted ourselves for who we are:- how can we accept mainstream society to do likewise if we constantly see ourselves as the underdog?

      Let’s just do it people!!

      1. Midnighter 12 Oct 2012, 3:09pm

        Quite right. Case in point: I strongly disagree with Sam’s views about some things but I vigorously defend his right to say them.

        If you look at how police in the USA have been taking a ridiculously hard line against citizens filming the cop’s often illegal actions, you may begin to see the danger that censorship presents even in a country fanatical about freedom of expression.

        1. Appreciated, Midnighter.

          Disagreeing with other peoples’ views while defending their right to express them is what living, or in this instance debating, in a free and open society is all about, folks!

          And long may we fight to think freely!

  21. faeces on the penis causes HPV-- and HIV,..., 12 Oct 2012, 9:28am

    Let’s hope those that hold a belief in a creator are afforded the same level of protection when they are insulted for their beliefs by the homosexual brigade!

    1. You are right – but don’t expect the right wing gay fundamentalists in the pink news com boxes to show any logical consistency in any of their responses.

    2. ...Paddyswurds 13 Oct 2012, 10:57pm

      Belief in a creator is fantasy. Homosexuality is fact ….

      1. faeces on the penis causes HPV-- and HIV,..., 14 Oct 2012, 8:48pm

        AIDS is a reality, caused by flouting of the creator’s laws. It is a fantasy to believe there are not consequences to deviant actions.

  22. people get alot less time for doing way worse things than wearing a awful t shirt

  23. Paul Hewett 12 Oct 2012, 10:10am

    Peter, your observation that it’s OK to insult Police Officers with T-shirt logos is crass. A T-shirt bearing the logo Killagayforfun.com.haha? isn’t a criticism, it can be read as a promotion to carry out a murderous assault on another human. I doubt if you would say the logo is criticism if the word “cop” was swopped for “gay”.

    1. Thanks to the readers on this forum and Peter we’ll be seeing many t shirts with this written on them…

      Give them a loaded gun :)

      1. Oh stop being a victim, Sean.

        Words are harmful only if you believe them to be true on a deeper level and therefore allow them to get to you, in which case you give the oppressor power.

        I see or hear such words and I feel sorry for the perpetrator because his hatred is a mirror of how he is feeling on the inside, and he will probably never experience true happiness.

        I certainly don’t perpetuate his behaviour by playing into his game:- if you don’t react he has nothing to bounce off, but when you do react all you do is feed his behaviour.

        So tell me, Sean, do you give these people your power and feed their hatred?

        In doing so you do our cause no favours.

  24. Newsflash pinkileaks 12 Oct 2012, 10:17am

    The trustees of crusaid used charity money to pay of a police panel member after some filth in a email ! Then gagged thm with a huge compromise agreement insisting they dont contact the press destroy documents ! Gay tory boys naughty naughty gag a gay today

  25. PINKILEAKS * * 12 Oct 2012, 10:27am

    PINKILEAKS The trustees of crusaid threatened a police panel member wiv a High COURT INjunctiion without hesitation then quickly bactraked ‘its long closed’ all hushed up by gay n hiv media disabled denied a voice

  26. PINKILEAKS * * 12 Oct 2012, 10:41am

    Staff at london aids charity ukc refused gays a voice as evidence now disclosed reveals GAGAGAY TODAY

  27. Craig Nelson 12 Oct 2012, 10:45am

    I’m not sure about the legalities of the case but the words on the t-shirt were a lot more than ‘insults’ and definitey come under the remit of the criminal law, in my view.

    1. ...Paddyswurds 12 Oct 2012, 11:19am

      Words, no matter what they say are, in a free society, just that, words, and should never warrant a spell in prison . This is not Putins Russia although the Tories are looking more and more like a Soviet Government every day….

  28. GAGAGAY TODAY 12 Oct 2012, 10:49am

    The police panel member who helped crusaid staff regain thr benefits in 2005 was gagged frm having a voice

  29. GAGAGAY TODAY 12 Oct 2012, 10:53am

    The police panel member emailed a aids charitys client database of gay men wiv aids in london was gagged so the gay men would never find out

  30. ...Paddyswurds 12 Oct 2012, 11:15am

    I agree with the majority of commentators on this thread. The sentence was way way too extreme. Vindictive even. This is NOT Putins Russia where the cops can invade the sanctity of a church and arrest people for exercising their right to free speech.
    Robbers and serial abusers can get away with a slap on the wrist but don’t dare insult the Police or you will get thrown in the pokey for it. i am aware that there was a breach of bail conditions also involved but the sentence was extreme and does nothing for th advancement or respect for the Law in the UK. The judge needs a wake up call and to be honest is bordering on the demented in this case…..

  31. It is important to consider that he had also breached the terms of a suspended jail term.

    It would appear to me that the judge in this case wanted to make a point here. I suspect that had Mr Threw not worn the t-shirt so soon after those police officers were killed then it may not have been an issue. But as he had broken conditions of the other terms, the judge had to act.

    Yes, it is harsh for simply wearing a t-shirt but perhaps it will make others think twice?

    1. His previous suspended was a 12 month stretch for posession of cannabis, hardly connected to to this offence. Yes he should have been resentenced for the breach and maybe 4 months was outstanding but to give him a further 4 months for an offensive t – shirt. Excessive and political – precicely what the law should avoid.

      1. Spanner1960 16 Oct 2012, 11:30am

        The fact the two offences are unconnected is completely irrelevant.
        A suspended jail sentence is precisely that: It has been held off on the proviso that you are a good boy and don’t get into any more trouble.

        You break that agreement and you forfeit your rights and you go inside for the previously prescribed sentence.

        If idiots like that want to take their chances instead of keeping their noes clean, then more fool them.

  32. Freedom of thought and speech is for all.

    Let ignorant, vile people hang themselves by their own words:- they dig their own hole one way or another.

    We rise above it by laughing in their face or looking the other way knowing that the only victim here is the one who chooses to devote their life to hate and loathing.

    We should be bigger than that and certainly do not need police and judges to throw them into prison on our behalf.

    The problem with many of us is that we let issues and shame around our sexuality to disempower us as people and that prompts many of us to play the victim card whenever we can.

    It really is time we accepted ourselves for who we are:- how can we accept mainstream society to do likewise if we constantly see ourselves as the underdog?

    Let’s just do it people!!

  33. Peter Tatchell 12 Oct 2012, 12:50pm

    I don’t defend Mr Thews vile words. But he claimed that his t-shirt had nothing to do with the two slain police officers; saying it concerned other personal grievances that he has with the police, who he partly blames for the death of his young son.

    There is no evidence that his t-shirt was directed at the officers who were murdered. It referred to “one less pig”, not “two less pigs”. Moreover, he claims he was already wearing the t-shirt before the officers’ deaths became publicly known.

    A possible mitigating factor is his mental health issues and anti-psychotic medication, which may have affected his judgement about the wording and wearing of the t-shirt.

    I don’t think a jail term is justified in these circumstances

    1. Perhaps not!

      However,we do not know what the conditions of his previous suspended sentence was either.

      I know if I was on a suspended prison sentence then I would be doing my hardest not to give the police reason to take me in giving me cause to go before a judge.

      It is so easy to criticise the police these days.They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. My partner and I were recently the victim of a homophobic attack and I cannot fault the police for the service I received after I reported it.

      1. Police are not being criticised – Crown Prosecution Service and theJudge are involved here. I believe that Peter’s comments have been reasonable and sane throughout. Yes, the shirt and its sentiment are vile, yes the guy was on a suspended sentence but surely a sensible punishment is to re-activate the suspended sentence not to layer on another 4 months custody.

      2. Mister Fister 12 Oct 2012, 8:06pm

        Slogans on T-shirts can have a devastating impact on one’s life. A friend of mine, who is an extreme right-wing racist scumbag but loveable nonetheless, was arrested for inciting racial hatred for wearing a T-shirt with the slogan ‘White Pride World Wide’ and locked up for four days in a police station.

        It is also interesting to note from some of the comments here that there still exists some antipathy towards the police. This has surprised me after the overwhelming display of sympathy for the slain Police Officers whose deaths, as of any living creature, diminishes us all. I guess there are still some of us older gays around who still remember the constant harassment and violence we faced from the police in the not so distant past. Many of my contemporaries still find it incomprehensible that gays should join the police force – their wounds still fester, but times change and the police may no longer be our worst enemy. The religious fundamentalists seem to have filled the void.

        1. I guess, in the wake of the truth coming out about Hillsborough and the appalling mass indifference and refusal of West Yorkshire police to arrest Muslim pedophiles openly preying on girls as young as ten, public trust and faith in the police are at an all time low right now.

          It is a tragedy because among the institutionalised and endemic corruption that has been exposed there are still some brilliant, sincere coppers on the beat who treat everyone they come into contact with with dignity and respect, and testimonies given of the murdered women pay witness to the fact that two of the force’s better officers were cruelly taken.

  34. Billy barnes 12 Oct 2012, 1:35pm

    Why dont u out the trustees of the london aids charity that sent vile abuse to their disabled staff n used charity money to pay em of peter ? Why r gays being gagged by hiv media ? And ditched by gay press ?

  35. Yes practise what u preach peter r u scared of the rich gay tory boys ?

  36. Why did crusaid staff have to complain to the police for 2 months before the charity would remove someone elses aids diagnosis from their staff appraisal ?

  37. Why has the charity crusaid tried to destroy the two formal complaints against thr staff peter makiing them live in poverty to make them sign the compromise agreement to get the thousands to bring them out of poverty its a scandal

  38. Why are gays turned away from the london aids charity sector when they ask for help ?

  39. Peter Tatchell 12 Oct 2012, 3:51pm

    Barry Thew should have received some non-custodial punishment (and medical treatment?); not because his words were offensive but because they were tantamount to incitement to murder – albeit at the less direct and serious end of the scale, given his mental health issues.

  40. Answer the questions from your community above peter did you know all along and keep quiet ? Be HONEST PETER WITH YOUR OWN COMMUNITY WHY ARE GAYS REPEATEDLY TURNED AWAY by london aids charity sector

  41. OUTRAGE ! SCANDAL ! 12 Oct 2012, 4:37pm

    Why did the rich gay tory boys running crusaid suddenly close their HIGH COURT INjUNCTION EMAIL AGAINST A POLICE PANEL MEMBER ? Why did the gay press hush it all up ? ? Its a scandal gay tory boys threatenin the gay community then running away !

    1. Has this anything to do with the Barry Thew case under discussion? Or is it derrranged ranting about a different topic?

      Looks like the latter to me.

    2. Ben Foster 14 Oct 2012, 4:55am

      What ARE you on about?

  42. Paul from Brighton 12 Oct 2012, 8:27pm

    What’s overlooked here by many is that Barry Threw pleaded guilty to S4 of the Public Order Act 1984.

    S4 is on the higher end of the scale with S5 on the lower end of the scale. S4 essentially means admitting to threatening/menacing behaviour that would result in any ordinary person fearing for their safety.

    S4 can be committed in a number of ways, either by words or actions or by something in writing or something visual such as the slogan he had on his t-shirt.

    While it can be argued that his sentence was duly harsh, this shouldn’t take away from the fact that Mr Thew admitted to a serious criminal offence.

    In my view, in this situation, this isn’t about a freedom of speech issue as claimed by Mr Thatchell, but the argument is more about how appropriate was his sentence.

    On this issue of his sentence, I believe it was inappropriate and it shouldn’t have resulted in a custodial sentence.

    But I don’t believe this is an issue of Freedom of Speech, more of appropriate sentencing.

    1. Paul from Brighton 12 Oct 2012, 8:48pm

      I would also point out that Mr Thatchell is somewhat misleading in his views in this instance.

      Specifically – Mr Thatchell is currently trying to get S5 of the Public Order Act, 1984 scrapped. I would agree with him here. Writing as someone who has been convicted of this offence, I wholeheartedly agree that S5 of the Public Order Act is most probably the most abused catch-all offence using by the police and CPS in the Britain today.

      However, Mr Thew admitted to S4 of the Public Order Act, 1984.

      Something entirely different.

      Let me ask, Peter Thatchell – are you in favour of scrapping S4 of the Public Order Act, 1984 as well as S5 of the Public Order Act.

      I don’t believe you are.

      Let’s be clear here, Barry Thew pleaded guilty to S4 of the Public Order Act, which is an indictable offence, meaning he could have pleaded not guilty and opted for either trial in the Magistrates Court or Crown Court.

      He choose neither, but pleaded guilty.

      1. essexgirlbecky 14 Oct 2012, 5:01pm

        I understand he actually pleaded guilty to section 4A, not to section 4, which is another animal entirely, but I agree with the sentiment to a point. I’m very much in favour of leaving section 5 as it is.

  43. My God how dispiriting to read the collection of nuts ( with a few honourable exceptions} who replied to this. Of course the nasty sod should go down for this.

    1. Dave North 12 Oct 2012, 9:52pm

      I got castigated for it. ( Top of Forum )

      Free speech and all that is their excuse.

      Sorry. Their are limits. These “DEAD” officers families should NOT have to put up with this, and clearly the CPS agreed.

      What this man did was wrong, selfish, thoughtless and had zero empathy with the families of those DEAD, MURDERED police officers.

      1. Midnighter 13 Oct 2012, 6:02pm

        You might be interested in this, Dave. The Director of Public Prosecutions is quoted as saying

        “We live in a democracy, and if free speech is to be protected there has to be a high threshold.

        “People have the right to be offensive, they have the right to be insulting, and that has to be protected.”

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19910865

  44. What’s next? Imprisonment for thought crimes? Orwell was right, he was just 30 years out in his guessing.

  45. Thank God that we live in the United Kingdom where those who choose to commit hate speech abuse are considered criminals. People who support Tatchell’s point of view are also nothing but criminals themselves because by encouraging hate speech abuse to prevail, they are inciting the offending hate speech crimimals to possibly commit even greater criminal offences in future. Incitement is also fortunately a crime here in the United Kingdom and all those who support hate speech abuse are inciting public outrage and hatred…therefore they are by definition…criminals! Hatred in any form has no place in a civilised society. Arrest the offenders and those who incite the offenders!

    1. I agree hatred in any form has no place in a civilised society. But surely it’s up to that civilised society to make their own judgement. I’m sure anyone who saw what that idiot wore on his Tshirt would have seen him as a bigot forever. He still has to live where he is so I’m sure he’ll see the reaction as people in his community choose to have nothing at all to do with him. It just bothers me that the government imprisons people for wearing Tshirts. How would the punk movement have survived in today’s world with what all the anti-establishment slogans they wrote on theirs? Look up the FAST system being used by Homeland Security in the US. It’s a device that measures the public’s heart rate, breathing rate, facial temperature, eye movement and body movement. It’s designed to spot potential ‘criminals’ to spot those likely to ‘commit a terrorist act’, even though we’d all probably alert it innocently for many reasons. Is that not looking for thought crime?

  46. essexgirlbecky 14 Oct 2012, 4:56pm

    A lot of people are missing the point here and some are misrepresenting what has happened here. This isn’t about insulting behaviour; Barry Thew was charged with harassment under section 4A of the Public Order Act. Moreover, because he had previously been convicted of a criminal offence and given a suspended sentence, the judge had little option but to activate the suspended sentence. While people obviously want to put their own slant on it, a little objectivity would not go amiss.

  47. There is a creeping censorship going on – witness all the fuss over twitter comments, even off cuff things said in the heat of the moment and ppl find themselves fined or worse the police show up – aside from the waste of police resource, its getting ridiculous. Its leading to greater self-censorship i.e. people are terrified of saying certain things for fear of legal action or someone calling the police..I am not in favour of ppl being offensive but as Peter T says, we have to draw the line. This is not a police state. Or is it?

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