back to article Man prosecuted for posting a picture of his hobby on Facebook

A man was prosecuted for posting a picture of himself on Facebook posing with airsoft equipment. Christopher Turnbull, of Grangemouth, Scotland, was charged with a criminal offence for posting the picture, which was seen by a Stuart Brodie of Police Scotland. The 45-year-old was eventually cleared at Falkirk Sheriff Court ( …

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

To be fair to Police Scotland, if there's a competition for making arses of yourselves, they shouldn't rule out the Sassenachs.

Apologies for the DM link, but I doubt that the Telegraph and Guardian will be covering that.

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m-k

Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

to which she would reply (off the record): Do I care? And please, don't tell me SHE SHOULD. My point is, this blatant attempt at inflicting injustice goes unpunished. Hence "Do I care".

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

Tantamount to perjury!

Will he do some "porridge", unlikely.

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

@AC

I don't think the police having a break and a bit of fun is them "making arses of themselves" -- I think it's good to see them as humans.

I'd also like to point out that the Mail highlights the low arrest rate in an effort to make it sound like dereliction of duty, when in fact it proves that the event was pretty low risk and a break was very reasonable.

I mean seriously... come on...

Surely we should be applauding a Chief Super who jumps on for a quick dodgems ride with a bunch of his PCs...? Isn't that, like, creating a good atmosphere for everybody? (Or at least everybody except Mail readers.)

Nowhere near in the same league as chasing people for posting Airsoft pictures.

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

Context is surely key? Any solicitor (or judge?) worth the title would surely want to see the image in the context of the page it was found on, so all the comments etc. should be apparent, and can be checked independently.

Haven't seen the pictures or the page they were taken from so don't know quite what was cropped / modified and is it that modification that counts as 'breaking the chain of custody'?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

According to what he said, he doesnt seem to be concerned about justice or upholding the law.

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Headmaster

Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

You mean we don't even get the usual, pathetic 'lessons will be learned'?

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Re: the Sassenachs

The Daily Bigot is run by and for a bunch of PPPs* so the idea of someone having fun is by definition abhorrent.

PPP = Prig, Prude, Puritan.

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

Indeed - it appears that the Sherrif (a mid-ranking judge!) needs an urgent appointment with some retraining and a common sense injection.

Although to be fair this wont be the first time a poorly worded law is used to persecute people who were never intended to be within its scope.

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WTF?

Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

Can anyone tell me why the Judge was prepared to find this man guilty?

If the only thing stopping him doing so was the chain of evidence then there is something more seriously wrong than the Police force being shown to be a bunch of clueless dingbats.

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The whole Jock justice system ...

Not just the police, Jock "justice" in general has form. Look at how long they've kept Stephen Gough behind bars.

Which is not to say us Sassenachs have anything to be proud of, though the rottenness south of the border is strongest in our Heart of Institutional Corruption civil justice system. And of course its criminal justice manifestation in Innocent until Proven Broke.

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

"I don't think the police having a break and a bit of fun is them "making arses of themselves""

I wouldn't think that police having fun while on their break is 'making arses of themselves' either, but the point is that (according to the story at least), they were on duty. That's not 'making arses of themselves' , that's gross unprofessionalism / misconduct.

Of course it could be the case that they weren't really on duty at all, maybe there was a large contingent of officers at the fair and they had just switched shifts or something. And since it's the Mail I'm more inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to the officers.

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

What do you expect from a police force that can't even get its name grammatically correct.

"Police Scotland"?

Err, I think should either be Police of Scotland or Scotland Police or Scottish Police.

The only reason it even exists as a force is because of moronic cost saving measures by the SNP who lost a load of local heirarchy and knowledge when they amalgamated all the scottish police forces.

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

Problem is to own or buy an air rifle in Scotland you now need a license, not as onerous as a firearms license but necessary nevertheless.

I strongly suspect you need to know this to get why a confused polis might have gone too far here, doubtless in ignorance about airsoft.

The question is rather why when the realised it was all a bit of fun neither they nor the Fiscal service called a halt. I doubt the defendant will get his legal costs refunded. Though at least here in Scotland having been acquitted he can request his dna to be removed from the record. In Sassenach country that will stay on the Police database in perpetuity.

In New Zealand a periodic stushie is brewing. A database of sorts for everyone born in NZ exists. At birth a heel prick of blood is blotted onto filter paper, tested for a genetic disease, labelled and stored for posterity. With sufficient reason and needing permission from a judge police can access that and genetically test it. So, if you missing in the bush, fall over a bluff or get lost and succumb to exposure and are not found for quite some time, it happens. Then the police can, if you have no kin, apply to test your baby heel prick to see if the body is yours. It has been used to see if blood spots at a supposed crime scene matched missing people (they didn't).

Not quite an online searchable database but an accessible data store nevertheless.

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

"The judge should be livid, if he cares about upholding justice,"

Justice and following the law are two entirely different things.

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

"To be fair to Police Scotland, if there's a competition for making arses of yourselves, they shouldn't rule out the Sassenachs."

Just looking at them sums the sort of people who are getting jobs as cops in britain today thanks to endless lowered of standards. Dicking about not taking the job seriously, a number unshaven and/or fat and out of condition with standard issue chav tats on their arms. I'm sure they're fine at nicking drunks and speeding drivers, but I wouldn't want to rely on that lot in a serious emergency.

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

BTW thanks for noting that crime is at an all time low in Scotland. It was on an upward trajectory but then we get rid of the New Labour/FibDem govt and elected the SNP instead and ever since the trend has been downwards. The graph is quite remarkable.

So, yes, Polis Scotland to have time on their hands and that is a certifiable, gold plated, absofuckinglutely GOOD THING.

Got that?

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands @jmch

I am not defending the judge or the police, but merely adding some context.

Before the regulations for airsofting were changed to require brightly coloured components to be fitted (typically dayglo orange, yellow or pink) to new guns, the guns were extremely realistic, even down to the magazines being swappable, and almost identical to the real thing (obviously with BB pellets in rather than bullets). I could be wrong here, but I don't think that airsoft guns purchased before the change have to be retro-fitted with coloured components.

I bought my son an airsoft weapon that from more than a few metres was almost indistinguishable from a real M4 assault rifle. It was the same size, coloured the same, and was made with a high metal content rather than plastic.

I had a friend who was a keen airsofter at the time, and he warned me not to let my son walk around with the gun unless it was in a carrying bag or box, and to only use it either on private land, or a registered venue (again, this was before the regulations changed). He told me of times when people he knew had been arrested for having the airsoft weapons visible in when being carried or in cars, because even to someone knowledgeable, at first sight, the weapons looked real.

But this is true of any replica weapon, nothing special about airsoft here. Anything that could be mistaken as a real firearm is likely to be treated as one in the name of protection of the public.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

> Yes I have a grudge to bear after the NZ pigs tried to screw over a younger family member. Does it show?

A younger relative of mine - admittedly a bit wayward - was charged with burglary along with a group of his mates. The c*nts kept him on bail throughout his GCSEs, demanding he make twice weekly appearances at the station to sign in, and only dropped the charges 3 days before the court hearing was due. Why did they eventually drop the charges, despite months of protests? Because they had no choice: his alibi was that he was in police custody at the time of the offence.

An utter, utter waste of tax payers' money, police admin time, court admin time, crown prosecution service time and all because the chief constable is incapable of weeding out the racists and petty sadists in his force.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

> Can anyone tell me why the Judge was prepared to find this man guilty?

According to the article "Turnbull was charged with posting pictures and videos that were "grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing manner"

Presumably the Judge thought that the picture(s) (stripped of its context) was 'menacing' and therefore came within the scope of the law.

The one lesson everyone can take from this is that it is pointless appealing to anyone to apply common sense in such situations. If you ever find yourself in such a situation simply say nothing until the court case and start a case with the police complaints authority immediately.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands @jmch

But this is true of any replica weapon, nothing special about airsoft here. Anything that could be mistaken as a real firearm table leg is likely to be treated as one in the name of protection of the public.

FTFY

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Harry_Stanley

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands @jmch

But this is true of any replica weapon, nothing special about airsoft here. Anything that could be mistaken as a real firearm is likely to be treated as one in the name of protection of the public.

Very true as demonstrated at Colgate University only a few months ago. Of course I have no doubt that skin tone also played a part even if it was to only escalate it from calling the police to bringing in SWAT and a tank1.

1 Probably a not a real tank, just a Bearcat urban assault vehicle.

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

In Chicago and New York, the flatfeet would have used him for target practice and chalked it up as justifiable homicide. At least is only out money, time, and aggravation and is still alive.

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WTF?

Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

Is someone going to reimburse the VICTIM (read; falsely accused) for HIS LEGAL COSTS?

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

Of course the Daily Mail would pick it up but it was taken out of context and no-one local was complaining about it. The one thing you can always say about the DM is they never let the truth come in the way of a good story. Try here for the real story http://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/news/sorry-sun-think-police-officers-637835

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

"Yes I have a grudge to bear after the NZ pigs tried to screw over a younger family member. Does it show?"

Many, many years ago, long before computers were small enough to be put on a desk, I was involved in a trial in NZ as an expert witness - on that occasion , while waiting to be called into court, the plod appearing for the prosecution suggested that my colleague and I might like to make a few minor changes to our (hand written) shift log records, as such changes would make their case just that much better.

The request was refused and I have had a deep distrust of NZ plod ever since.

Strangely enough, after that episode we didn't actually get called to testify.

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Big Brother

Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

BTW thanks for noting that crime is at an all time low in Scotland.

Actual crime, "reported crime", "estimates of unreported crime" (eg the old "90% of rape cases are unreported" that is said from time to time - if they're unreported where do they get the numbers from?) or what?

Under the wonderful national government, it has become a waste of time to report car thefts, burglaries, some assaults (if you're poor, "of colour" or "of ethnic descent" (or whatever terms they use today), suspected of not being entirely straight). I know a gay guy who was assaulted in his home, the police basically told him to get stuffed, refused to take his report as he "had it coming", though that was under a previous national government.

Anyway, point is as the crime rates rise and the coppers get less "dedicated, effective police" and more "worthless pigs" (especially as recruitment standards drop), the "lesser" crimes no longer get investigated. Especially if, as in NZ there's big bonuses for certain types of convictions and little or nothing for others, then the cops want their bonuses so drop the importance of other stuff. Or lose the paperwork so said crimes go in the "was never reported" bins.

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Pint

Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

An utter, utter waste of tax payers' money, police admin time, court admin time, crown prosecution service time and all because the chief constable is incapable of weeding out the racists and petty sadists in his force.

Yup, we get that over here as well - although it's more a case of them wanting to weed out the non-racists and as for the "petty sadists" they're not interested in the "petty", they want full-blown sadists.

They love to find weaker targets and make their lives a misery. Imagine how much real crime they could've dealt with if they hadn't been trying to mess up the life of your relative?

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Pint

Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

Strangely enough, after that episode we didn't actually get called to testify.

I'm aware of many things like that as well - witness testimony being changed, statements gathered by police presented as "x witnesses described the accused" when every witness described a white person and the accused is clearly Maori. I've known of cases where witnesses/plaintiffs retracted statements but that information has not been presented to the court (prosecution says "Mr Y does not wish to testify at this hearing" rather than "Mr Y has retracted his statement, now says he was drunk and upset at the accused and made it all up". They like to suppress evidence of innocence, and I suspect sometimes some of the arrests of people over some trumped up charges that are later dropped is so they're "out of circulation" while another case they could be a defence witness in proceeds.

Like in much of the world, our coppers are a filthy lot of lying criminals. The only reason we don't have more young fathers shot "accidentally" is that few of our police are armed, at present.

(BTW, I am of mixed European descent, in case anyone is wondering, quite white in appearance)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

Police = Morons with time on their hands

FTFY

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands @jmch

To clarify the legal position in the UK (although Scotland and NI are different)

The sale and purchase of our airsoft guns is controlled by some legislation called the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 or VCRA. Specifically “Sections 36 to 38: Realistic imitation firearms”. The intention of the Act was to stop realistic looking weapons getting into the hands of people who want to use them for illegitimate reasons. When the VCRA was introduced it made it an offence to supply a “Realistic Imitation Firearm.” A Realistic Imitation Firearm, or RIF, is a model of a real firearm which, to all intents and purposes, is indistinguishable from the real weapon. An Airsoft “Imitation Firearm,” or IF, is a model of a real firearm which, to all intents and purposes, is indistinguishable from the real weapon except it is not realistically coloured. IF bodies are painted more than 50% in a bright colour or have a transparent body. They are often called “Two-Tone” guns. You can legally still buy an IF as long as you are over 18.

As it was now illegal for someone to supply a RIF Airsoft could have been stopped in it’s tracks. However an exemption was negotiated which allows a RIF to be sold by a retailer if any of the following criteria can be met by the purchaser:

You are a ‘Regular Skirmisher’ with membership of an insured skirmish site.

You are a member of a properly insured historical re-enactment group or society.

You are a film, television or theatre production company.

You are (or are acting on behalf of) a museum.

You are a Crown Servant in pursuance of your Crown duties.

These criteria are “valid defences” against the Violent Crime Reduction Act.

If you want to buy a RIF you have to be able demonstrate that you have a valid defence against the VCRA and are a “Regular Skirmisher”. To qualify as a Regular Skirmisher you must play at least 3 games in a period of no less than 2 months. The easiest, but not the only, way to demonstrate you are a Regular Skirmisher is to register with the United Kingdom Airsoft Retailers Association(UKARA) Player Database once you have met the qualifying requirements. There are other ways of getting a valid defence.

The Antisocial Behaviour Act 2003 brought in the requirement for any firearm to be covered in a public place and for the trigger. to be inaccessible. Also you cannot have a firearm in a public place without a reasonable purpose. For example to be on the way back from a shop after a purchase, taking something to a shop for repair, going to or from a range or airsoft site. So you can't just carry a bagged/cased airsoft RIF/IF or air weapon in your car all the time.

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

Around here you'd never see a policeperson outside a car. Too busy eating cake, is my guess. The local hooligans always have a field day.

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

'Can anyone tell me why the Judge was prepared to find this man guilty?"

i guess he/she is thick as a plank, and/or demented.

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

Apologies for the DM link, but I doubt that the Telegraph and Guardian will be covering that.

A quick MacGoogle could have told you, that story has been covered not only by the Telegraph, but also by the BBC and The Times.

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands @jmch

While your friend is entirely correct, there is a world of difference between walking around with a replica firearm and posting a picture on facebook.

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Facepalm

Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

Not to mention when the SNP amalgamated all the forces into Police Scotland and Scottish Fire which then caused them to loose VAT exception.

Cost at the moment is £35 million per year.

Generally stupid idea when the MSPs where told about the issues it would create.

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Facepalm

Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

@AC Ref: Sassenachs. I think you'll find the residents of parts north of Perth and beyond would classify the residents of Grangemouth and Falkirk as Sassenachs too.

If it was a poke at the Engish then it's an own goal. PP

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

" "I don't think the police having a break and a bit of fun is them "making arses of themselves""

I wouldn't think that police having fun while on their break is 'making arses of themselves' either, but the point is that (according to the story at least), they were on duty. That's not 'making arses of themselves' , that's gross unprofessionalism / misconduct. "

A) They do say they were on a short break.

B) People in all professions go on team-building trips regular during their paid working hours. That the chief super was in there with his plods means it could very easily be justified as a team-building exercise and/or public relations.

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

The statute itself invites (indeed demands) interpretation. First of all, you need to prove that the message content is of an indecent, grossly offensive, or menacing character. That is not a plain fact or legal certainty simply because a police officer or prosecutor decides it was. Second to the alleged criminal act, there is also a need to prove a criminal intent, which was forced onto the statue by the HoL case DPP v Collins way back in 2006 on a reading down by way of the Human Rights Act. This is the same statute that was charged against Paul Chambers in the famous Twitter Joke Trial that was concluded in 2012, which is already 5 years ago. In that case the prosecutors, as in this case, failed to note the requirement to prove intent and tried to claim that the offence is one of strict liability. Even if that were true (which it has been shown false), there would still always be a need to prove the character of the message to some standard, usually the "man on the Clapham omnibus". Ridiculous and infuriating that after all the trouble we went through with Chambers there are still appallingly misconceived prosecutions like this happening.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

Gordon 10 - "poorly worded" and "never intended" are quite subjective opinions.

The Holy Grail of policing is to have a law that allows police to arrest whoever they want whenever they want.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

OK, I don't necessarily believe everything thing I read, but this sentiment is pretty common: http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/snp-manipulating-crime-figures-police-say-1-2233590

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