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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    1. David Hicks
      Thumb Down

      Re: Some people are just dicks.

      Or we could just ignore it, because what some idiot in a bedroom in Kent posts to his facebook page isn't exactly of national security importance, you know?

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Starmer said free speech must be preserved..."

    I wonder how far down his todo list that is. Some way after "clearing out the cupboard under the stairs" I'd guess.

  2. Pete the not so great

    Shirley our granddads fought in theses wars

    just so that someone has the freedom to do this sort of thing?

  3. Velv Silver badge

    Proportionate Response

    In the good old days the cops would have given him a good stern talking to and a cuff around the ear (no matter how old he was).

    Sadly our society is now so obsessed with the freedoms and rights of the guilty that the Police can no longer work with the spirit of the law and must follow it to the letter - get a complaint, arrest, paperwork, report to CPS or PF.

    I don't want to condone Police as Judge, Jury and Executioner, but we need to appreciate our liberal society has brought the overreaction problem highlighted here on ourselves.

    1. Alex King

      Re: Proportionate Response

      Only a special kind of intelligence would blame needless, thought-crime arrests on a lax and liberal society.

  4. Alex King


    Usually I don't like to quote others, but I think Mr Fry was onto something when he said:

    'It's now very common to hear people say, "I'm rather offended by that", as if that gives them certain rights. It's no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I'm offended by that." Well, so fucking what?'

    Nobody has the right to be protected from offence. We make progress against things that most people find unacceptable by opening them up to the oxygen of publicity, not via supression and enforcement.

    Of course, the reason that Kent Police have done this is that someone has taken offence, reported a crime, so they have to clear it up for the sake of their stats. What a massive clusterfuck of idiocy.

  5. Efros

    Evelyn Beatrice Hall

    In summarizing Voltaire's views came up with

    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

    Seems times have changed.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Free Speech?

    There is no right to free speech in any country. Free speech is the balancing point at which an oppressive government tolerates the expressions of those who are willing to fight for their voice and at what cost those who want free speech are determined to pay for it. How many of us are willing to shut up at the injustices on our jobs alone for fear of losing it and are only willing to speak what we feel we are free to speak on public media because of a false sense of 'free speech' granted to us by our constitution, (which was signed by a small group of men but not voted on by the country as a whole). These few men themselves were the established government then. They had determined the avenues of the war that then existed and men followed them, but the idea of 'free speech,' though a lofty goal even now has been diminished by courts, the law, and government on international, national and local levels, and how many of us got to actually vote for those laws. Free speech was lost with eminent domain because if the government can take away a man's property then he can take away any other freedoms he has because it then believes all that a man has belongs to them and that all property ultimately belongs to the government. It just means if we want any freedoms then it is the people and their continued veracity and defense that will offer any hope of freedom of speech. The worse part is the legal system has become an arm of government to torment those who believe in freedom only to tie them up in battles that will in the end most likely work for the cause of government, not the people. No wonder Shakesphere cinically said, 'shoot all the lawyers.' Government has become the biggest business of all businesses, making money off it's serfdom and that doesn't permit speech which doesn't further it's cause, in this case, the propagation of heroism in dying for the causes of the state. Yes. I posted anonymously because I am a coward.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Free Speech?

      "Free speech was lost with eminent domain because if the government can take away a man's property then he can take away any other freedoms he has because it then believes all that a man has belongs to them and that all property ultimately belongs to the government."

      You're insane.

  7. The Axe

    Not a Muslim

    The reason the guy was arrested was because he was not a Muslim. Only Muslim's are allowed to shout during remembrance services, to burn poppies, and to demonstrate during marches.

  8. cortland

    The best defence is a good offence

    All right then. How many consider the *Kent Police page* offencive?

    1. Vic

      Re: The best defence is a good offence

      > How many consider the *Kent Police page* offencive?

      I consider them offensive. Words derived from the "civ" root seem somehow inappropriate...


  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "They fought for freedom."

    On the local 'Memorial Highway', the government installed a big sign emblazoned with the phrase "They fought for freedom." Half the people didn't notice, and the other half were asking "WTF?". Eventually they had to take it down as it was an obvious bald-faced lie.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Remind me,

    Who won the war?

    1. Citizen Kaned

      Re: Remind me,

      i think Eton won...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will someone please arrest this man too!

  12. David 45

    Waste of police resources

    Tasteless I don't doubt but hardly warranting heavy-handed police action. Not what they're there for. They seem to always be taking the easy way out these days. I speak from experience.

  13. Antoine Dubuc

    Free Speech is only allowed when its nice.

    What a great society we have become. We have 'free speech'. And we don't like what you're saying, we'll put you in the slammer. So stay free, and well behaved.

    Cue the marching timpany of Huxley and Orwell.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And in 2012 when the economy was really bad, they started arresting people over jokes and silly images.

    I'm sure a real vet would have just said a few choice words, these police today should basically be crawling through the sewers to catch all the gang activity.. Instead we have nerd cops who were bullied at school holding the stick now.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think that burning a poppy is a valid political protest - I can't see what the crime is. If he's brought the poppy, it's his property to do what he wishes with. Who exactly has been harmed? How can an idea or concept be 'offended' or harmed by such an act. In the same vein it also should be a valid exercise of free speech to burn a bible, koran, torah, copy of Dianetics etc - as long as it's your property :-) If we can do all of the above without fear of state repercussions then we can truely claim to have free speech. Sure, you will quite probably look like a moron, but that's how it goes.

    On the other hand I do have issue with people causing personal offence that is directed to an individual (and not an idea or institution), such as trolling memorial pages on Facebook as an example. This is most definately harrassment and I don't think that there is any valid reason to do such a thing.

    However, I have no idea how this can tie in with having free speech, how it should be enforced or the extent of punishment (if any).

  16. EddieD

  17. Trustme


    "We must protect free speech" - as long as it agrees with everything we say and is government approved speech. Attacking someone personally on a page or directly to them is abuse and should quite rightly be punished. Posting whatever you want on your own page regardles of how offensive it might be to some people is nobody's business whatsoever. If someone friends you or otherwise makes a conscious decision to read your posts on Facebook then they should have no recourse for complaint about whatever is posted because they have subscribed to view it and can simply unsubscribe if they don't like the content, and what is considered offensive is purely a personal thing. If you find a picture of a burning poppy offensive then don't look at it and don't be friends with people who are likely to post it. The idea that you could be arrested for posting it is utterly disgraceful and makes a total mockery of the idea of free speech.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    for those who are outraged about the outrage...

    just assume the symbol was for your own sacred cow. then let the screaming commence.

    create what might tangentally be considered an insult to some self defined "minority" and it's a lot less civil than an arrest.

    Just consider veterans a minority-there's lot less of them than certain ethnic and gender-preference individuals these days.


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