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A Tory councillor has been arrested and questioned following a comment on Twitter "calling" for the stoning of newspaper columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. Gareth Compton, 38, a conservative councillor from Erdington, Birmingham, was questioned by police for "sending an offensive or indecent message" contrary to the Communications …

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Anonymous Coward

nice

Gotta say, this law is about as oppresive as you can get and still live in a free society.

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Why no mention of Yasmin's reply

Why does the article, complete with TORY TORY TORY in large letters, not mention that the charmless Yasmin Alibhai has shrieked hate and demanded the heaviest possible punishment for the "offender"?

Your bias is showing...

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Why no mention of Yasmin's reply

Bias? I thought we *were* a Tory site.

We hate everyone. I thought you knew that by now.

I believe the story was written before she responded, and it wasn't about her, in any case... but I don't think anyone's got any particular love for her. The guy said an appalling thing. I'm not sure at all that it was correct to arrest him for it but it was disgusting. But that's irrelevant - we just reported what happened.

I don't think you have a point. Please sit down.

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FAIL

Guilty, no?

Paul Chambers has just been found guilty and handed another £2,600 in court costs. Presumably our fair, balanced and perfectly sane judicial system will now relentlessly fuck up Gareth Compton's life the way it continues to fuck up Paul Chambers'?

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Grenade

What's good for the goose ........

"Paul Chambers has just been found guilty and handed another £2,600 in court costs. Presumably our fair, balanced and perfectly sane judicial system will now relentlessly fuck up Gareth Compton's life the way it continues to fuck up Paul Chambers'?" ..... Ian Davies Posted Thursday 11th November 2010 16:34 GMT

Sounds perfectly fair and reasonable, Ian, for otherwise is the law and justice system proven to be biased/subjective/corrupt/a complete ass. Or is a multi-tiered system, with some immune from prosecution and punishment for similar offences which have resulted in conviction for others, what modern democracy is all about.

Although surely that is perverted and subversive and a travesty of justice and far too much like something fascist to be anything else?

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WTF?

He's doing a good enough job himself...

He was given a £1,000 fine originally. It's his insistence on flogging a very, very dead horse that is increasing his legal bill relentlessly and dragging his name further through the mud.

He made a complete and utter tit of himself, and didn't have the humility to face the consequences.

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RJ

Or just maybe

He is standing by his principles? You know, that the whole thing was a total miscarriage of justice based on the utter utter stupidity of a a broken system.

He got a CRIMINAL RECORD for gods sake! Not a fine, or a slap on the wrist, a CRIMINAL SODDING RECORD!

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FAIL

title, letters etc etc

he got a criminal record cos he broke the law...

thats how it works.

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Grenade

Yes, he did get a criminal record

Because he was found guilty of committing a criminal act. That's been upheld on several appeals.

Why?

Because it bloody well _WAS_ a criminal act. You might not like the law, but there's really not a lot of doubt that what he twatted was in breach of the law.

Reminder - actual law...

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/21/section/127

(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 ... of ...(a) menacing character

The judge found the tweet to be of a menacing character. Appeal judges have agreed. Bomb threats against airports tend to be taken reasonably seriously. I can't think why. This shouldn't have come as a surprise to him.

(Actually - correction to the previous post - he was actually only fined £385, with £600 costs.)

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Anonymous Coward

@title, letters etc etc

No, he got convicted.

As this law is open to interpretation and the events are also open to interpretation it's not a clear-cut case of breaking it.

ISTM there is supposed to be "beyond reasonable doubt" proof to allow someone to be convicted.

As neither he or the airport thought this was a threat and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise, then this is a massive fail from our (so-called) justice system. And a worrying one at that.

N.B. If you think you automatically get a criminal record for breaking the law, you might want to look at the figures for unsolved burglaries or statistics on how many people exceed the speed limit and compare them with the number of people with a criminal record.

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Anonymous Coward

Tit

"He made a complete and utter tit of himself, and didn't have the humility to face the consequences."

Worse still he initially entered a guilty plea and then changed his mind. While he has every right to do this, the court has every right to take this into account.

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Anonymous Coward

You're confusing this bloke with the other bloke.

... and also missing the point about whether the law is:

a) Being enforced over-enthusiastically;

b) A good idea in the first place.

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FAIL

Yes, there is a test of BRD

And he twattered that tweet beyond reasonable doubt. He admits to having done it.

The only matter of opinion is whether it was "menacing" - and that is not a "beyond reasonable doubt" test.

And, no, you don't "automatically" get a criminal record for breaking the law - you get a criminal record for being caught. Which he was.

Oh, and btw - speeding is a non-recordable offence, so does not give rise to a criminal record.

Honestly, there seems to be a singularity of denial around here today.

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Manners

At least he said "please"

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Anonymous Coward

I'd let him off

On the grounds that he seems to be able to use twitter and spell, all at the same time.

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Are you sure he can spell?

Aren't there traditionally two apostrophes in "sha'n't"? </pedantmode>

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Big Brother

Police State Mind Control

But its ok for the USA & UK to constantly threaten Iran & north Korea with annihilation publicity?

remember ppl its only terrorism when they do it, our governments have the justification of bringing democracy (death & destruction) to anyone who doesn't play ball....

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Must have missed that

... David Cameron on his latest visit to China happened to mention the fact that he was "gonna nuke Iran and North Korea if they didn't get their shit together..."

.. and now, the sport.

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america

remember, america is a republic, not a democracy.

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WTF?

Crikey

--""I made an ill-conceived attempt at humour in response to Yasmin Alibhai-Brown saying on Radio 5 Live this morning, that no politician had the right to comment on human rights abuses, even the stoning of women in Iran..""--

I think that's actually worse than his tweet. Bloody hell.

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Agreed

For what right does anyone have to comment on anything. Why do reporters have the right to report anything?

Should we all sit back in silence and accept that human rights are non-existent under Sharia law, and that the stoning of women is perfectly acceptable?

Quote from one of her articles: "Most of my good gay friends truly like femininity." Perhaps she would be stoned in a country where Sharia law prevails because of her tolerance of homosexuality. Would she then be so critical of the right of any person, not just politicians to comment on human rights issues.

Silly woman.

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The reality machine

So all I have to do is tweet "I have a huge cock, ladies come and get it" and I'll be crawling in snatch as everything in print is true? Or should I just do the David Koresh and say I'm the messiah. Does this work with grafitti?

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I'm sympathetic

..because she is an annoying and frequently stupid person. He went too far, arguably, but an apology is all that was needed. Arresting him is completely OTT - Labour's thought-laws again in operation.

I hope he hasn't any encrypted files that he can''t remember the key for...

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Anonymous Coward

I'm not

I have no sympathy for three reasons.

Firstly because his apology was totally half arsed. He didn't really apologise, he simply said he never called for anybody to be stoned and was sorry if anybody had got upset. He clearly did call for a stoning, "will somebody please stone...?" is a pretty clear request.

Secondly becuase an apology, no matter how sincere does not make everything alright in the first place. Can you think of any criminal offence where an apology will get the charges dropped?

And finally because he's an idiot if he thinks that twitter postings are a private matter. There are two standard excuses when anybody is caught up to no good on twitter; The first is that the miscreant thought twitter was private; And the second is that the idiot had their twitter account hijacked. At least this particular twat didn't try the frankly unbelievable second option, but that doesn't stop him being an idiot.

The problem with idiots and twitter is that they use it to post the sort of thing they would say in a private conversation. They need to learn that twitter is not a private conversation and that you have no expectation of privacy thereon.

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Headmaster

"Arguably"?

He did completely the wrong thing. He had choices enough, but most prominent seem (a) joke or (b) indignant shouting.

(a) He's a conservative, they know that whenever they try to joke it's a failure or a disaster, so that's a stupid option. (b) This is a rhetorical goldmine, as her statement goes against the general feeling of the vast majority of the population.

There's many rights and issues involved and she goes for a ridiculous blanket protection of states (rights of other countries and religions to differ from the UK and anglicanism) against individuals (equality rights and personal protections and justice), where the bulk will easily side with him over a well-phrased argument. He could have even got away with comparing it to Nazi or Communist suppression of freedom of speech.

I'd also kick him out of the party, for being a hopeless orator. It's the one skill you ask of a local politician (that, and not breaking the law, e.g. through corruption, drunken driving, proposing stoning individuals, putting cats in bins; you know, laws in general).

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Big Brother

Humour

has now been outlawed

all attempts to induce mirth or mockery will hence forth result in the perpetrator being ...[censored]...

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Anonymous Coward

Really?

So you're saying that tweet was funny? Go on then explaint the joke.

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Anonymous Coward

Sticks & stones may break my bones...

But words will only hurt me ........ when the come from he mouths or fingers of thoughtless or ignorant people. They may not directly hurt me; they can't after all. However, when taken up by morons, motivated by the malevolent, they can be used to insite in the most foul and evil way.

I didn't here J A-B but I do hold tight to the belief that in this country we respect freedom of speech - with all its problems. Perhaps, like education, we don't respect it enough until we lose it or we observe the cost of its poor usage.

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Good Grief

I'm beginning to think george Orwell was quite accurate with his predictions, he just buggered up on the date.

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Thumb Up

Orwell indeed

1.) Stoning is ungood

2.) Using humour to highlight this is ungood

Classic doublethink.

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Stop

Orwell didn't realise but

He was not making predictions, he was in fact authoring the implementation manual of the 21st century British police state. The politicians and police farce never realised that Orwell meant his work as a warning, they just thought "excellent, somebody has written a manual for us describing how to oppress the population and maintain our stranglehold on power".

I am waiting for the OGC to republish 1984 as an approved government document, perhaps they can get BSI to turn it into a standard that they could use to audit departments with?

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Thumb Up

Nearly there...

Close but 2) should read

"Using humour to highlight this is double plus ungood"

*note* why does the spell checker throw up a problem with humour having a 'u'? i thought this was a UK site, have we lost this to the yanks as well?

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FAIL

doh

The spell checker is part of your browser, not the site. Presumably you have the US dictionary installed!

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Anonymous Coward

@Nearly there

It's your browser/OS that's doing the spell-checking, not the site; you need to change it to a UK English dictionary.

(It's an add-on on Firefox if that's what you're using.)

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Megaphone

Using humour is OK for this.

But his sad attempt worsened things (by point (1), now against a named individual).

If a politician says something outrageous/wrong/... and meaning it all, then just pointing out they said it (through this "humour") doesn't do anything at all, it just summarizes.

Twittering is just a hopelessly dangerous thing for politicians --- you can only refer to known stuff, maybe make a connection between two or three well-known things at most, so only possible reactions are "he says A and I think A/not-A so he's great/stupid", or "he says A and I think he's great/stupid so I now think A/not-A". This means people whose gut feeling about an issue differs from your opinion will think less of you --- while they may actually think more of you and/or change their feeling if you had had space to say why you think something on balance of all pros and cons.

Hitler hated communism but that shouldn't make you like/dislike either of them.

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Anonymous Coward

Of course, the Bible will have been in place in the court

Which mentions stoning once or twice:

For touching Mount Sinai

Whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death. Exodus 19:13

For taking "accursed things"

Achan ... took of the accursed thing. ... And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. ... So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Joshua 7:1-26

For cursing or blaspheming

And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him. Leviticus 24:16

For adultery (including urban rape victims who fail to scream loud enough)

If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city. Deuteronomy 22:23-24

For animals (like an ox that gores a human)

If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall be surely stoned. Exodus 21:28

For a woman who is not a virgin on her wedding night

If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her ... and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: And the damsel's father shall say ... these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. ... But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die. Deuteronomy 22:13-21

For worshipping other gods

If there be found among you ... that ... hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them ... Then shalt thou ... tone them with stones, till they die. Deuteronomy 17:2-5

If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers ... thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die. Deuteronomy 13:5-10

For disobeying parents

If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother ... Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city ... And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die. Deuteronomy 21:18-21

For witches and wizards

A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:27

For giving your children to Molech

Whosoever ... giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones. Leviticus 20:2

For breaking the Sabbath

They found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. ... And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones.... And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses. Numbers 15:32-56

For cursing the king

Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die. 1 Kings 21:10

In contrast (and I stand to be corrected) i belive the stoning count in the Quran is zero.

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Big Brother

Orwellian

This reads like George Orwells "0084"

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Pint

Well...

I read that with some amusement, you can imagine a Simpsons episode set in biblical times where Homer is constantly being stoned for more and more trivial 'offences'.

Then I remembered that a good proportion of the world's population actually take this crap seriously.

And regarding the counsellor, it appears should a politician actually express a point of view that they give a toss about something they get arrested.

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Badgers

Re: Stoning with stones

Can't help but chuckle at our oldy worldy language sometimes. Surely the word stoning implies the projectile well enough.

Still, I guess it's good to be specific rather than, say, stoning them with badgers...

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Joke

don't forget

Being stoned for saying "This halibut is good enough for Jehovah"

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Silver badge

Sorry, the dog ate my title

"For giving your children to Molech"

Well, if that Molech is the same as Moloch, the Semitic god to whom children were sacrificed in furnaces, a little stoning would be a reasonable measure to promote responsible parenting. As for the rest... Why, oh why are we still using a fantasy book created by tribes of bronze age shepherds as a moral guide?

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Anonymous Coward

Arrested?!

What the hell did they need to arrest him for? Did they seriously think he might intimidate witnesses or escape to South America or something?

I'm giving the government a year to get rid of this stupid police state that New Labour created otherwise I'm ...

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Anonymous Coward

"John, what are you doing just pissing about on twitter?"

"Err, Umm, Err, Yeah, looking for crime, boss!"

"Found any?"

"Well... Umm... This one here could be umm, offensive?"

"You print it out, I'll start the car!"

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Anonymous Coward

Idiot

Don't you know how policing works? They won't have been sitting about on twitter looking for offensive posts. Somebody (lets all try to guess who) will have made a complaint.

You sound like one of those eejits who does spouts the usual "why aren't the police out there trying to catch real criminals" crap that you always hear from people who get arrested for "minor" crimes. Why because somebody comitted a minor crime and somebody else called the police.

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Coat

Time To Panic, Mr Gareth Compton

Since they've just rejected Paul Chambers' appeal, does this mean Gareth Compton should be visiting his tailor for a suit with vertical arrows on it?

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FAIL

When did Freedom of speech and expression get repealed

Did I miss that law?

So, she can say that a politician is wrong to comment and criticise stoning of women and human rrights abuses in Iran, thus implying (or even stating) that such acts have her approval. That almost sounds like incitement to me. But if a politician makes a humerous comment about how it might impact her, he is arrested.

Right - Justice is having a real good week.

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Bronze badge

We never had it.

There have never been any laws protecting free speech or free expression in the UK. We only got rid of the crime of blasphemy a year and a bit ago.

Now, we could certainly do with free speech legislation but it's not likely to happen.

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Stop

not true either literally or in substance

Assuming he is in England or Wales, I refer the Right Honourable Gentleman to s.2 of the Human Rights Act (1998), which incorporated a number of articles of the European Convention on Human Rights into E&W law, particularly Article 10:

"Article 10 – Freedom of expression

Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers...

"The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others..."

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/42/section/1

http://conventions.coe.int/treaty/en/Treaties/Html/005.htm

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The EHCR? Really?

The "freedom of expression" it grants is so caveated that it boils down to "You can't criminalise free expression, unless it's to stop criminals from expressing themselves."

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@Throatwobbler

Just the text you quoted says "Free speech unless it contains something someone else thinks it is wrong to say" - that is not free speech in any universe governed by logic.

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