back to article Man, 19, cuffed after burning Remembrance poppy pic is Facebooked

A 19-year-old man from Aylesham, near Canterbury in Kent, was arrested last night after a picture of a burning poppy was reportedly posted on Facebook. The county's cops collared the teenager on suspicion of a committing an offence under the Malicious Communications Act. "Officers were contacted at around 4pm yesterday, …

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Free speech? @h4rm0ny

Go and read the Daily Mail online then look at the comments on a particular story and view what usually comes top voted. Bring back hanging quite often features in top spot.

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Silver badge

Re: Free speech?

"What;s your view about peeing on a cenotaph - guess that's acceptable?"

My view on it is that it is different to making a political statement on a website. And if it's a political gesture, then it should be punished only to the degree that urinating in some other public place is punishable, not extra punisment heaped upon it because it causes offense to a segment of society.

Causing offense can be punishable when it's harrassment. If you send offensive messages to the widow of a soldier, that's punishable. Making broad political statements, even if some don't like it, is not harrassment.

This whole veneration of the dead, reminds me of who upset people were by Chaser's War on Everything where they made a very well put point (to music), but upset quite a few people. Sometimes it is okay to speak ill of the dead. I fully expect people to do it about me!

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Mushroom

Re: Free speech? @AC

And the ignorance and paranoia of some on the right never ceases to amaze me.

You were called a "red-neck, witch burning, tar and feathering ignorant lynch mob", but you weren't told you didn't have a right to be heard. It was descriptive, not proscriptive.,

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Re: Free speech?

"express there free speech in burning this chap alive"

OK, concentrate, because I'm going to try and explain a concept that you seems to have overlooked:

setting people on fire isn't "speech"

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Silver badge

Re: Free speech?

"Free speech, I'd imagine there would be a fair few people who know or knew people being honoured by the poppy who would love to express there free speech in burning this chap alive"

And were they alive, and did they try to do so, I hope you would join me in condemning such people as psychopaths.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Free speech?

"right to free speech"

anything not prohibited is permitted generally. and a lack of consitutional declaration does not preclude rights being defined elsewhere in common law and case law.

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FAIL

Re: Free speech?

@AC - Do learn to read. There's a good fellow.

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Re: Free speech?

@AC - Straw man,but nice to know you read the Daily Mail.

"What;s your view about peeing on a cenotaph - guess that's acceptable?"

Wrong question. Is peeing in public acceptable?

Tell me, how is this the fault of the immigrants again?

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Re: Free speech? @AC

@AC - "You have a right to an opinion but only if it is the same as mine."

You have the right to an opinion, however you only have a valid argument when you can back it up with facts. The Daily Fail (or Daily Hate, if you prefer) is rather "facts light" and "vitriol heavy".

Amusing how irate you are getting about this.

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Facepalm

Re: Free speech?

@AC - "I'd imagine there would be a fair few people who know or knew people being honoured by the poppy who would love to express there free speech in burning this chap alive"

See, this is Daily Fail logic at its finest. So destroying a small paper flower = capital punishment. FFS. Here's a question....do you have all you poppies from previous years? No? You threw them in the bin! MY GOD MAN! The mob will be round to throw you in next!

"I'd probably break laws excercing my free speech rights on there ass's"

You want to impregnate their donkeys? Eh?

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FAIL

Re: Free speech?

I have to agree here, this "act" was no doubt offensive to many.

But even I don't think that those fallen would have somehow supported this.

Wasn't against this kind of tyranny, and oppression of freedom that those Soldiers wore fighting against?

Best thing One could do in a situation like this is to unfriend them, and shun them in polite society.

But, this is clearly in-line with Free Speech and no matter how tasteless it may be to the masses.

There can be no justification found here to have, had him carted off like that.

Fail - ON YOU UK!!

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Mat

Re: Free speech?

No - That'd be a public order offence of which there is already a law to cover....

You are a troll!

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Facepalm

Re: Free speech?

Well I have only one thing to say about all this:

Free speech does not involve match's, really is that simple and sorry if I killed an entire thread of emotions.

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Silver badge

Logical progression:

Senior politicians and senior police officers have often made public comments that offend me. Can have them arrested and charged from now on?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Logical progression:

Alas, that doesn't work

As the police themselves say, they have - or at least, claim that they have - the power to use discretion as to whether to proceed with a case.

In the case of someone without powerful connections or lots of money, they'll proceed.

In the case of someone with powerful connections, or lots of money, they won't proceed.

AC <shame>

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Re: Logical progression:

Sorry, first thing they do when elected is grant themselves immunity.

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I find Cameron wearing a poppy while selling arms far more offensive.

The MC Act simply isn't designed to handle social media. It was to protect telephone operators, then users, then covered email. All one-to-one communications. It really cannot handle a virtual soapbox without stepping on free speech.

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Anonymous Coward

You call this freedom?

You call this freedom? Many of those people who we remember dying to protect this country did so to protect free speech. This is free speech. Yes, it may be stupid and offensive to many, but it is free speech nonetheless. It isn't libel or defamation, but an attack on an institution or concept. It can be viewed as a form of protest.

The stupid actions of the police are a serious cause for concern. You can be arrested for making a joke, making a protest or for generally being an arsehole. Yes, there are some people who do things online who SHOULD be arrested. They're the ones behind seven proxies, who are probably watching with amusement as the plods cuff some other easy-to-find sod.

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Re: You call this freedom?

cant arrest all arseholes. our government would collapse!

i too think the guy is a cock, but is that an arrestable offence? as people say, our relatives died to give us freedom, that has now been removed.

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Re: You call this freedom?

Whilst I find the act of burning poppies and making derogatory comments about soldiers (on both sides) who fought and in many cases gave their life utterly reprehensible, it is not an arrestable offense to be a c**t.

I believe in letting people make absolute twats of themselves should they desire to. Yes it can be grossly offensive, but better to know who they are for sure. All the comments about ww1 being a family spat etc and blackadder related jokes, it's all well and good and mostly accurate. However, millions of normal people died on both sides in both world wars and many smaller conflicts because they were told to fight. Some were lied to, many were forced to fight, it's easy to make light of it but war is not nice. I believe in taking the time each year to remember their sacrifice and appreciate how lucky I am not to have faced that. However, if somebody wishes to disrespect their memory they are entitled to, just as I am entitled to believe they are a c**t for it.

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Anonymous Coward

And yet when I call the police..

to tell them that I've found some gypos selling stuff at a boot sale that was all stolen from my house, they tell me that it's not an emergency and that I should just note the details of the vehicle and go into the station to report it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And yet when I call the police..

You were lucky. A colleague had a similar experience (IIRC it was a bike) and when he reported it, the PC warned him he would "be reported for using racist language."

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be reported for using racist language

And I thought that the Police Log Column in Private Eye was made up.

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Offensive to some? Yes. Insensitive, stupid, ignorant, tasteless & disrespectful: absolutely. Illegal - No. He just makes himself look like a moron.

Offending people isn't a criminal offence. If you own it, then burning a Koran, Bible, poppy or any other symbolic object is your choice to make. Society will judge you, no need for police action.

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Big Brother

Sadly, it is a criminal offence under section 5 of the Public Order Act. Check out reformsection5.org.uk for more on that piece of government idiocy.

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He wasn't arrested under the public order act but the offensive communications act. Burning a poppy isn't a criminal offence in the UK, so causing offence by doing so isn't possible.

A pointless arrest the CPS - assuming they go anywhere near this - simply will not win.

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Anonymous Coward

Check out reformsection5.org.uk

Surprise, surprise. It's a 'guilty until proven innocent' law.

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FAIL

Oh the irony of the police actions

Soldiers died in the wars protecting our right to a free society that respects free speech no matter how unpalatable. Obviously this simple fact is lost on the buffoons at kent police.

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Justice

Own a newspaper or five, and order your staff to indulge in a bit of highly illegal hacking, perverting the course of justice and being smarmy beyond UN mandated limits in a public place? - Nothing.

Be a teenager, perform what is in the grand scale of things, a very, VERY minor misdemeanor? - expect some years behind bars.

What's next? Arrests due to bad taste? Wearing too much fluoro without a council jobsworth-permit?

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Anonymous Coward

This is very wrong

Just because someone makes a complete tit of themselves by opening their mouth and looking ignorant, insensitive and just plain unfunny there are worrying issues here. In a free society they should be able to speak then challenged and shown up for what they are.

A lot of comedy often relies on individuals or groups of people being the butt of the joke with the comedians intent to maybe bring attention to the plight, stupidity, differences, similarities etc of those commented on. It makes you wonder if the thought police will be after those next.

Whenever Governments curtail the right to speak and think, despotism often isn't very far behind.

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g e
FAIL

Re: This is very wrong

Perhaps if the kid were a soldier it'd be OK...

Just like it's OK for Omid Djalili to make jokes about Iranians but not for me.

Hopefully his lawyer will tell him to claim it was an act of protest against war and the CPS will have to sod off and find some real criminals to prosecute.

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WTF?

Meanwhile...

... Nick Griffin of the BNP makes a homophobic post about the gay couple who were discriminated against by a B&B owner and posts their address, seemingly calling on his supporters to stage a demo outside their house, yet all he gets is a brief ban from Twitter and the comment removed

#levelplayingfield???

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meanwhile...

What? We have to like gays now as well!?

Only joking, any normal person loves gays, as do I. Some of my friends are gay and I am thinking of becoming a poof because I respect them so much.

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WTF?

s'all bollocks innit

I couldn't disagree more with the actions of this idiot, although I can see cause for burning a poppy as a protest against Earl Haig and his fuckups in WW1, bit late for that now though, but he surely should be free to do this sort of thing and not be subject to criminal law for doing it, a heap of disparagement and abuse would suffice, and I'm sure he'll be getting that. Isn't this what the men who fought in those wars were fighting about, the freedom of speech and action, well that and the criminal expansionism of the empires involved. The police need to get their priorities right.

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FAIL

God dammit

This country needs a first amendment.

There's a lot wrong with the US and the way it goes about, but protecting people's right to be an insensitive arsehole (and to be judged by the rest of us for it) should go without saying.

The kid in question needs a clip round the ear from an older relative, not police involvement.

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g e

Re: God dammit

Agreed. Remember though, a clip round the ear is assault and that'll get you thrown in chokey.

Which is why we have Chavs...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: God dammit

So let's get this absolutely straight...

In the US, the First Amendment would protect me if I set fire to the Stars & Stripes?

I think not.

I'd be dead before the first can of lighter fuel was empty.

The US talks a good game when it comes to freedom of speech and freedom of expression but the reality is much much harsher.

Posting as Anonymous for obvious reasons.

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FAIL

Re: God dammit

@AC -

Err, yes, flag burning is protected speech, meaning the government (local, state or federal) can't do anything to you if you do that. Fellow citizens may then, illegally, beat the tar out of you. They should be arrested and prosecuted for that. If they aren't then that's a failure of the police and court system. Violence is never an appropriate reaction to speech.

That situation is far, far different to the authorities themselves coming to whisk you away because you posted a picture to the internet that some people found offensive.

What is it you don't understand here?

I'll also remind you I said that there's a lot wrong with the US and I don't hold them up as a model. I just think that guaranteed freedom of speech is a wonderful thing. For god's sake look at our ludicrous double-secret-super-injunctions and people from foreign counties coming here to sue each other over things never even published in the UK. These things should not happen.

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Boffin

Re: God dammit

Also, US flags get burned all the time. You are not allowed to just chuck them in the garbage bin and incineration is considered the most appropriately respectful method of disposal by those who's job is to consider how to respectfully dispose of old flags.

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FAIL

Re: God dammit

"In the US, the First Amendment would protect me if I set fire to the Stars & Stripes?

I think not."

As was posted above - uhh, yes, it would indeed. In fact, that particular case is regarded as a prime example of offensive political speech which is *explicitly protect* under the first amendment. It's precisely the kind of thing that the amendment is intended to protect.

The reaction of passers-by is neither here nor there vis legal protections for freedom of speech. And for that matter, plenty of protesters have burned plenty of flags, and I've never heard of one being burned alive or even beaten to a frothy pulp by outraged locals.

If you want an even better example of protected speech in the US, consider the "church" run by the Fred Phelps guy (really it's pretty much his extended family of dimwits, not actually a church). Here's a guy who goes around to funerals of military personnel carrying signs saying "GOD HATES FAGS" because he thinks that God kills soldiers as punishment for the US' tolerance for homosexuality.

He not only is allowed to protest, but is protected from harm by the cops.

That doesn't stop OTHER people protesting THEM - blocking them from view or drowning out their voices - but it does stop the government from prosecuting them for their (wildly misguided) religious and political beliefs.

The US talks a good game when it comes to freedom of speech and freedom of expression, and the reality, while imperfect, is a hell of a lot better than being hauled off to the slammer for what is by its very nature political commentary - however crassly-executed.

Not posted as Anonymous for obvious reasons.

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Anonymous Coward

You are all.....

Fooking W4nker5

Now waiting for her majesty's constabulary to come and give me a free nights B&B and self defence training.

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WTF?

just a dumb kid doing dumb kid things, hardly a danger to the public worthy of the costs of a bloody police investigation.

Plod really likes a nice soft target though, they'll probably CS gas him while they're "investigating" just to make it worth the visit.

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Silver badge

Its obvious why the police go after these offenses, its easy to do so, the person usually has posted under their own name with photos of themselves tagged along side it so they can simply lookup the persons details and send a van round to their home, so they can make the crime stats look good.

When they have to do some actual police work they are not so keen, had been scammed out of several hunderd pounds of computer equipment when someone bought it from me then claimed they hadn't authorised the transaction. Gave the police the address, phone number and IP of the person involved as was told. 'nothing they could do'

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yup. just like when my old car got stuffed by a white van in a parking space (scraped all down the side).

this was right infront of a CCTV camera. it would have been easy to just look back at the tape and give me the reg number. reported it and they didnt even bother to contact me back. lost 4 years no claims to get it repaired costing me hundreds.

wankers!

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I reported my stolen bike to the police.

I got a call a few days later to tell me they had got the CCTV tapes and were going to see what they could find, and another call a few days after that to say that the camera didn't pick it up.

They must have wodnered why I sounded so confused.

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Devil

How long

until possession of cartoons depicting a certain holy man become an arrestable offense in the UK?

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Re: How long

IMO they should have to prove he existed and so does god... good luck with that! :)

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Re: How long

I think it will be a while before possession is outlawed, but if you had them displayed so that they could be seen outside then potentially you could be done for a religiously-aggravated public order offence, in that you intentionally caused harassment, alarm or distress. That's worth up to 6 months and/or £2500 fine.

I suspect there are two reasons we hear about these sort of arrests - first they're daft enough to be news, secondly the police like them as they have a 100% clear up rate and count towards their targets (see inspector gadget for details).

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Bronze badge

Re: How long

It's illegal to show cartoons of children sucking adult cock but the PTB get away with the 2012 Olympic logo.

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Anonymous Coward

Send him off to Iraq to do 6 months then see if he still wants to burn poppies.

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