Friday, 23 May 2008

Common Sense 2 v City of London Police 0

Bystander and Geeklawyer have already covered the story of the City of London Police issuing a teenager with a summons under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 for displaying a sign calling Scientology a "dangerous cult" during the Anonymous Project Chanology demonstrations. The teenager relied on Latey J's judgment in Re: B & G (Minors) (Custody). I can't find an authoritative copy, only this one, but the LexisNexis summary of the appeal ([1985] FLR 493) suggests that it is accurate as would appear to be this copy of the appeal judgment. The Guardian is now reporting that the CPS has rightly decided not to take this any further, hopefully putting the cops firmly back in their box, on the basis that his sign was criticism, rather than abusive, insulting or offensive. There isn't a statement from the CPS, at least not their website, but interestingly one of their most recent news items is the text of a lecture given at Birmingham University on 'Free Expression and the Rule of Law'.

Vaguely interesting fact: Mark Thomas holds the world record for the most protests by one person in one day (link 1, link 2).

Making it a doubly bad day for the City of London Police, Latham LJ and Underhill J have ruled that the warrant that they obtained to raid Harry Redknapp's home was unlawful. Bit of a bungle by the cops on this one too, as this was a really high profile raid as part of investigations into corruption in transfers of footballers. Harry Redknapp is manager of Portsmouth and his house was searched while he was out of the country by police accompanied by media coverage that Redknapp's lawyers have claimed was encouraged by them. The Police have issued a short statement in response.

Update: the Redknapp judgment is now on BAILII: [2008] EWHC 1177 (Admin)

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