Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.

Comments are usually moderated. However, I do not accept any legal responsibility for the content of any comment. If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Thursday, 30 January 2014


Although hardly as world changing as Halley’s prediction that the comet subsequently named after him would return at a pre determined year (although he did not live to see it) last year I posted twice {previous site host}  that s.5 of the Public Order Act would be amended.

1st April 2013
In common with many within and without the legal fraternity I have principled reservations with s.5 of the Public Order Act. The punishment for being convicted is in the scheme of things relatively modest; a maximum fine of £1,000. Convictions can be based on proving words were insulting and likely to cause distress and it is within those boundaries than the controversy lies.

A essay by Philip Johnston for CIVITAS has a lot to offer for a dank and cold Easter Monday to those who feel that this country`s reputation for free speech is gradually being eroded. Leveson has really changed the rules of the game. Abolition of s.5 might just indicate that there are still some who believe in free speech.

4th May 2013
Disregard the admitted drunkenness of the offender and consider the words “a bunch of sheep - shaggers”. Do they constitute an offence under s.5 of the Public Order Act? An English visitor to Wales admitted not to the simple charge of s.5 but the racially aggravated version of such. It is not unlikely that s.5 will soon be abolished. If this case is quoted as an argument for its retention by Welsh people of a delicate nature it will be because they have forgotten the British tradition of the lampoon ....” publicly criticise (someone or something) by using ridicule, irony, or sarcasm”.

This Sunday February 1st “insults” will be removed from the sanction of s.5. Not before time the change means the offence now applies only to “threatening or abusive words or behaviour…likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress”. S. 4A, which relates to the intent to cause harassment will still include ‘insulting’ in its wording.

So readers, keep shtoom on all these sheep shagger comments until Sunday.

1 comment:

  1. But why stop at the removal of the word 'insulting'? Why not also remove the word 'abusive' too? If defining insulting is difficult on the basis that it means different things to different people then so does the word abusive. My idea of abusive is not necessarily the same as someone else's idea of abusive.

    This is really just a matter of ignoring the spirit of the law as parliament intended it to be. A common sense approach was all that was ever needed.

    Where does it end?