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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        1. Anonymous Coward
          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.

          1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

            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.

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
              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.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                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.

              2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

                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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              1. flayman

                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.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              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.

        2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
          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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          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            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.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              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

            2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

              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.

            3. 8-{>

              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.

            4. Teknogrot

              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.

            5. rh587 Bronze badge

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

              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.

              The regulations did not require them to be day-glo yellow. The VCR Act required that they be day-glo unless you were a registered skirmisher.

              So whip out your Airsoft card and you can still buy a realistic all-black one. Without being a registered skirmisher you can only buy the day-glo "non-realistic" versions (which you can then fix with some matt black spray paint if you're so inclined).

        4. boltar

          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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      2. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. The Indomitable Gall

          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.

          1. jmch Silver badge

            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.

            1. The Indomitable Gall

              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.

        2. Halcin

          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.

          1. Agamemnon

            Re: the Sassenachs

            Ooooo. I like that, I'm stealing it. Well call it P3 ("P Cubed"... oddly don't have superscript on this keyboard).

            They're a touchy bunch. Very much into other folk's business.

        3. boltar

          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.

        4. Andrew Taylor 1

          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

        5. veti Silver badge

          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.

        6. Pedigree-Pete
          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

      3. SwizzleStick

        Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

        Tantamount to perjury!

        Will he do some "porridge", unlikely.

    2. 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".

    3. A K Stiles

      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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      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          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?

      2. Kernel Silver badge

        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.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          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)

    5. Nick Kew Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      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.

    6. boltar

      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.

      1. rctempire
        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.

    7. Muscleguy Silver badge

      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.

      1. Dan White

        Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

        "At birth a heel prick of blood is blotted onto filter paper, tested for a genetic disease, labelled and stored for posterity."

        Ante-Natal Blood spot cards degrade extremely rapidly, which is why they need to be in a lab and tested within a maximum of 2-3 weeks. If they want to keep them for posterity, good luck to them, it'll be useless.

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    9. Muscleguy Silver badge

      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?

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        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.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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

    10. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      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.

    11. bombastic bob Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

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

    12. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

      Police = Morons with time on their hands

      FTFY

    13. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      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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    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Context is everything!

      If I was a judge who gave a shit about justice , unlike this one apparently , I'd have said to the police "Never mind charging him with threatening pictures - how come you didnt have the SWAT team round to kick his door in and relieve him of this terrifying arsenal of weapons which he could have used at any minute to go on a killing spree? Whats that? they are toys? and you knew that all along because the description accompanying the pic stated that? oh right , well what the hell are we doing here then?"

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      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        There's no suggestion of evidence tampering. Merely that the photo was presented without the comments.

        The article is also inconsistent and a broken evidence chain, or at least reckless about what conclusions might be drawn from it, almost as if the author is intentionally trying to mislead to reader.

        I suspect there is more to this than we're being told, and I think we're being told the facts selectively in order to present one version.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge

          I suspect there is more to this than we're being told, and I think we're being told the facts selectively in order to present one version.

          Y'mean like pigs do during a trial?

          Oh wait, sorry. No. They hate telling facts.

          1. Adam 52 Silver badge

            In the UK we have adversarial justice. The prosecution presents evidence advantageous to their case. The defense presents evidence to introduce doubt into that case.

            The Police collect as much evidence as they can and disclose to both sides, who can then pick and choose what to bring up in court.

            Given the above, your post - and many of the posts here, are clearly wrong. But then your language suggests that you are not really open to being educated.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Pint

              Given the above, your post - and many of the posts here, are clearly wrong. But then your language suggests that you are not really open to being educated.

              Quite clear on how these things work thanks mate. And know full well that the police will do their best to not disclose anything to the defence - they are after all part of the prosecution.

              From your posts it is you who is clearly lacking in education, and not willing to listen to anything contrary to your views.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A break in the chain of custody of the evidence is a long way from doctoring the evidence.

        The chain of evidence is absolutely key to a prosecution. Proceeding with a prosecution knowing that the chain is broken is 1) a waste of public resources 2) trying one on with the judge, court and jury, 3) highly dubious at best, and frankly stinks.

        If they genuinely didn't realise the chain was broken then they're idiots; can't they read their own evidence bags? I wonder what the prosecution barrister (or whatever they have north of the border) was doing in preparing for the case. Not paying any attention by the looks of it...

        This is such a fundamental aspect of a prosecution that for it to get that far is indicative of a serious problem in the system. The judge should have thrown the book at them. For a start, how many other cases have there been where the evidence chain has been broken but gone un-noticed?

      3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        So the plod wasn't willfully fixing the evidence, but was just totally and utterly incompetent?

        Either way, not so good -would you agree?

        1. bitten

          Good news for guys in black clothes posing with a (realistic toy) AK and a green flag in the background. Just mention it as a hobby.

  3. Marcel
    Big Brother

    Laws

    Also, having laws that prosecute people because something is "grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing" is asking for trouble. It is very subjective and easily abused to prosecute basically anyone at any time.

    The sad thing is that these laws are often the result of citizens calling on the government to "do something" about something they don't like or don't understand (and can't be bothered to). For politicians it's a cheap way to please voters and get elected next time. Too bad such laws are often the basis for totalitarian regimes.

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: Laws

      In this case, I suspect it all arises from the glorification of paramilitary violence in Northern Ireland by a subset of residents of the greater Glasgow area -- it's an issue that hasn't always been tackled as strongly as it should have, but there is always a danger of overcompensating as we can see here.

      The description of the picture as "black combat gear" brings it into the realms of possibility that this did look a lot like a republican or unionist paramilitary. But then again, Grangemouth isn't in greater Glasgow.

      All in all, while the plods in question can be excused for flagging up the image for further investigation, the fact that their superiors saw fit to push for charges rather than dropping it is just ludicrous.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Laws

        > But then again, Grangemouth isn't in greater Glasgow.

        Don't underestimate Glasgow's greatness.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Proper weapons

      In the Czech Republic it is not rare to see people on Facebook flashing their own arsenal of real firearms, including assault rifles and the like. Over there nobody bats an eye but I guess it would give the labdicks a heart attack.

      1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

        Re: Proper weapons

        Open carry in many parts of the USA. It's not rare to see someone with a holstered pistol* on their belt or the occasional M-16 slung walking into the local supermarket.

        *Personally, I think it's kind of stupid. If someone is up to no good, they will take out the obvious threats (armed citizens) first. Me? I'm just a harmless looking dweeb with a stupid looking oversized fanny pack.

        1. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

          Re: Proper weapons

          It won't be an M16 (which is a fully automatic Machine Gun!) unless from earlier than 1983.

          All states fully automatic weapons such as the M16 or M4 are illegal ...BUT....the Semi-automatic

          AR-15 which LOOKS VERY MUCH LIKE an M16 IS fully legal to carry around on your back in

          many states!

          And in the USA, it is perfectly alright to carry your typical Glock 9mm, Colt 45

          and Smith & Wesson .357 handgun wherever you like (open carry of course!)

          You need a CCP (Concealed Carry Permit) in many states to have your gun

          hidden in your jacket BUT open carry strapped to your hip in a VISIBLE holster

          like an 1880's gunslinger is PERFECTLY ALRIGHT in many parts of the USA!

          Thank You 2nd Amendment!

          The 2nd Amendment (The right to Bear Arms) ENSURES the sanctity

          of the 1st Amendment (The Right to Free Speech and Freedom of Assembly)

          and all others, so I can ASSURE YOU that ANY attempt to remove or hinder the

          2nd Amendment ABSOLUTELY WILL RESULT in REMOVAL BY FORCE

          IF NECESSARY of those responsible from holding ANY County, State or

          Federal political office within the United States...AND I ABSOLUTELY

          SUPPORT AND STAUNCHLY DEFEND the tenets the 2nd Amendment

          of The United States Constitution !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Proper weapons

            No, FFS No!

            The 2nd amendment in no way protects the 1st amendment.

            The 2nd amendment allows for the formation of a 'A well regulated Militia' to protect the US from the time before a significant US Army, it has zero relevance to today and anyone who believes their "right to bear Arms" will in any shape or form protect them from the US government is by definition delusional enough that they should be prevented from owning a gun.

            As another poster already said, "open carry is the ultimate form of douchbaggery", grow up, you missed the Wild West, get over it.

            1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

              Re: Proper weapons

              "The 2nd amendment in no way protects the 1st amendment."

              I never said it did.

              "The 2nd amendment allows for the formation of a 'A well regulated Militia' to protect the US from the time before a significant US Army"

              The USA formed a standing army before the 2nd Amendment was written. However, states are prohibited from arming 'militias' by our constitution. That is reserved to the US Congress (and implemented only in the form of National Guards). So the states were effectively banned from arming any sorts of police forces* until the second amendment fixed this by ensuring that they are free to employ armed members of the general population. The right to bear arms is attached to the people, not membership in any local government entity.

              *Some states used to refer to their highway patrols as 'state militia'.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Proper weapons

                My reply was to StargateSg7 who stated:

                "The 2nd Amendment (The right to Bear Arms) ENSURES the sanctity

                of the 1st Amendment (The Right to Free Speech and Freedom of Assembly)"

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Proper weapons

          > *Personally, I think it's kind of stupid.

          To put it mildly, open carry is douchebaggery at the greatest level.

          Although Czech gun laws are actually more permissive than in many parts of North America (provided you can pass a strict exam), the gun culture is radically different and bears no comparison. Also, although most licence-holders have category E (self-defence) in their permits, it is actually very uncommon for people to regularly carry firearms, and socially it is frowned upon to do so without a plausible excuse, apart from being a faff.

          1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

            Re: Proper weapons

            "To put it mildly, open carry is douchebaggery at the greatest level."

            Maybe. But I understand the point that is trying to be made. The anti-gun crowd's tactics include triggering terror in the general population in the presence of a gun. Carrying in plain sight is simply an attempt to counter this by acclimating the population to their presence.

            Concealed carry is pretty common in my town. But most people don't know how to spot it (there are at least two persons other then myself carrying in the coffee shop this morning). So the thought that a weapon is present can still be depended upon to trigger emotional responses and garner political support for more restrictions.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Proper weapons

              If Las Vegas didn't make you realize how stupid open carry and the "the only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun (excluding police & army etc.)" mentality then nothing will, imagine if all those "good guys" at the concert had pulled out their (concealed carry or not) weapons and tried to return fire, how many more would have died and how many of them would have been shot by the police?

              You don't live in the old West, stop trying to pretend you're a cowboy.

            2. Kiwi Silver badge
              Paris Hilton

              Re: Proper weapons

              Concealed carry is pretty common in my town. But most people don't know how to spot it (there are at least two persons other then myself carrying in the coffee shop this morning).

              Why?

              I'm gay. I grew up in a small conservative NZ town. I was beaten (and sometimes worse) often at school, and received abuse from others at times of my life.

              I live in one of the worst parts of Lower Hutt in New Zealand - while not NZ's worst neighbourhood it does have more than it's fair share of gangs and violence.

              Speaking of gangs - my car is the wrong colour for some of them, and my usual clothing colours are wrong for another group of them.

              The most I've come to doing anything defensive is following a mate into Tae Kwon Do when we were in our teens, then carrying it on for about 5 years. I haven't felt the need to practice for a good 20 years, though I have found myself taking on a fighting stance when threatened a while back (old habits and training...).

              Oh, and I love to ride, and I often go for walks late at night, alone. I wouldn't even consider taking a walking stick with me.

              I have to ask what is so fearful about your life that makes you think it is worth carrying a gun? Why not move to a safer location? I'm sure, despite the orange roughy, you have some places in the US that are still safe to live? If not, can you sell up and move elsewhere? I hear the citizens of Syria, as a general rule, don't feel a need to carry weapons on their person.

              Just trying to come to grips on why people feel the need for these things.

              Oh, and yes, I have fired guns and growing up in a small conservative town meant I was shooting before I started school. I can remember firing a .22 from a prone position because I was too small to hold the thing otherwise. Target was an ice-cream container tacked on a wooden backstop that was then sitting against a dirt bank. Last time I fired was on a hunting trip. Haven't yet fired a pistol; may do so on a range at some stage, but they're not so great for hunting with so have little attraction for me, same for large calibre weapons (that don't so much kill as make mince-meat (unusable unfortunately) out of the target).

              Paris because she probably likes cute guys with big guns as well, and is probably as confused as I am!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Proper weapons

            "To put it mildly, open carry is douchebaggery at the greatest level."

            I'll call bullshit on this: Police and Army do that all the time, so they are douchebags? All of them?

            Concealed weapons are much more dangerous to everyone. How often have you seen criminals having guns in side holster á la police? Never?

            Basic fear mongering tactics 'gunmans kills everyone if guns are allowed'.

            Same stupidity here in North banned knives but in practise only open carry knives were banned as one fits in pocket nicely. Absolute stupidity.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Proper weapons

              Riiiiiiight because you don't understand the clear difference in context, so try this, if you want to 'open carry' because you feel inadequate then join the Police or Army and actually make a difference in the real world rather than just in your head.

    3. Nick Kew Silver badge
      Alert

      Traditional

      Also, having laws that prosecute people because something is "grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing" is asking for trouble. It is very subjective and easily abused to prosecute basically anyone at any time.

      That's traditional.

      One generation ago: The Romans in Britain.

      Two generations ago: Lady Chatterley.

      etc.

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    4. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Laws

      Also, having laws that prosecute people because something is "grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing" is asking for trouble. It is very subjective and easily abused to prosecute basically anyone at any time.

      So you've not heard of the Scottish Extreme Smut Law

      A spokesman told us: "We do not publicly disclose our prosecution policy in relation to specific offences as to do so may allow offenders to adapt or restrict their behaviour to conduct which falls short of our prosecution threshold."

      So that clears that up then.

      The sad thing is that these laws are often the result of citizens calling on the government to "do something" about something they don't like or don't understand (and can't be bothered to). For politicians it's a cheap way to please voters and get elected next time. Too bad such laws are often the basis for totalitarian regimes.

      That's Daily Mail Politics in a nutshell. Pick a topic the Daily Mail have got their knickers in a twist over and pass a law banning, restricting, deporting etc. it/them etc. Instant votes.

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        1. JimboSmith Silver badge

          Re: Laws

          Not in Scotland apparently but I don't think it's been tested in a court yet! It will be interesting if it does ever get tested because the defence could argue that the defendant couldn't know what was illegal. I suppose we should be grateful it doesn't apply to all offences.

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    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: How do these idiots hold down a job

      Presumably this was a full grown man posting pictures of himself on Faecebook? Is so, then it's not prosecution he needs, but maybe referral to the right kind of support.

      How he was dressed and what he was pictured with are irrelevant though.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How do these idiots hold down a job

      and yet, they do, as this nonsense wasn't stop at all those numerous stages leading to court case. Through the system it went, tick, tick, tick, signature here, there, due process completed, check here, JOB DONE! So many people along the way happy to not give a flying monkey...

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    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm....

      Possibly. The whole thing is a three course meal of stupid.

      If McKnacker believed this guy was in possession of illegal firearms and explosives then why didn't they kick his door in and search his house?

      They know where he lives because they nicked him. Any search would have revealed the fact that the guns were not actual firearms.

      So either they knew going in that he was an airsofter, or they didn't bother raiding a house they suspected to be full of weapons...

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  6. LDS Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Cosplay banned in Scotland?

    Beware of your Star War weapons, or LOTR armours! I'd like to see the first Stormtrooper in front of judge, though...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cosplay banned in Scotland?

      You're fine, so long a Leia doesn't have the chain around her and chewbacca isn't wearing handcuffs, in which case you're on the sex offenders register sunshine.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cosplay banned in Scotland?

        Interesting, would a cosplay of Wee Jimmy Krankie get you on the sex offenders register?

        1. d3vy

          Re: Cosplay banned in Scotland?

          "Interesting, would a cosplay of Wee Jimmy Krankie get you on the sex offenders register?"

          Never mind a register, that annoying turd and anyone pretending to be them should be shot.

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Cosplay banned in Scotland?

      That would call for the Chewbacca defense.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: Cosplay banned in Scotland?

        Can you can forget all about Halloween in Scotland now then? A Jason mask and accessories would surely count as going equipped for mass-murder (but only a crime if a picture of it is posted on facebook?)

  7. SkippyBing Silver badge

    If they're going after people posting pictures of themselves with firearms that's about half the armed forces they'll be wanting to question.

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    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: What else

      I suspect that what happened was that the image was published with global permissions, and it popped up in his feed randomly. It probably looked to him like someone playing dress-up as a Northern Irish paramilitary.

      My guess is that he took a screenshot but not a link, buggering up the opportunity for further investigation and realising what a ninny he was making of himself.

      But once they started questioning the guy, they really should have dropped it, because it's clearly all very silly.

      Nightmare for the guy in the pics, though; poor sod.

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: What else

        Unlikely, unless Police Scotland are very overresourced.

        What's more likely is that someone made a complaint, it was recorded as a crime (something which is determined by the call taker on the basis of the evidence presented to them by the complainant) and then investigated. Once a crime is reported Police have to resolve - by caution, restorative justice or referral to CPS. There is almost no option for the officer to go "don't be silly". This is because people like Reg commentards moan about police selectively enforcing the law, so successive Home Secretaries remove officer discretion. So a report was made to CPS and they ran with it.

        This is the system, like it or not. If you don't like it, write to your MP (but you won't, you'll just pointlessly hit the downvote button here).

        1. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: What else

          Once a crime is reported Police have to resolve - by caution, restorative justice or referral to CPS. There is almost no option for the officer to go "don't be silly".

          I suspect your statement is somewhat incorrect. The police are there to investigate reported crimes, and determine if there is any grounds for prosecution. They do have the ability to decide that no crime was committed (eg find someone breaking into a car, turns out to be the car's owner who'd locked keys inside). Even if the officers themselves cannot decide not to proceed, those above them have that discretion and if they're presented with enough evidence of innocence or a lack of evidence of guilt (such that a trial is very likely to be lost) they don't proceed with a prosecution. The only time a prosecution goes ahead is when there is a personal vendetta involved, or utter stupidity on the part of those who decide to prosecute (sometimes both).

          Besides, the article reads like it was said copper who "discovered" the picture (strangely just one out of hundreds) and took it upon himself to prosecute further.

          And as your so-called "Reg commentards" have pointed out, if the police really did have concerns that there was a threat or gun offence here, why did they not search the guys house? The answer is probably quite obvious - they didn't search because they already knew he was innocent.

          1. Adam 52 Silver badge

            Re: What else

            "I suspect your statement is somewhat incorrect. The police are there to investigate reported crimes, and determine if there is any grounds for prosecution. They do have the ability to decide that no crime was committed"

            This is true, my previous post was not an exhaustive description of the process. But getting a crime "no crimed" is hard. For the PC it involves getting their sergeant to sign off on it. For both of them it involves a civilian case review to also sign off. And the civilian is incentivised by Home Office targets not to sign off. So is the PC - having too high a ratio of "no crime" affects their promotion prospects and they have a PDR objective to keep their "sanctioned detection" rate high.

            So the reality is that it is much, much easier to refer to CPS, even taking into account the huge amount of paperwork involved.

            "why did they not search the guys house"

            The charge was a Communications Act one, not anything under offences against the person.

            "Besides, the article reads like it was said copper who "discovered" the picture (strangely just one out of hundreds) and took it upon himself to prosecute further."

            Like I've said earlier, I suspect that the article is wrong. There are just so many inconsistencies in it. Not least that the judge agreed with the Police and CPS decision. For the article to be correct there would have to be a mass conspiracy between a sheriff, a CPS phone adviser, a CPS lawyer, a CPS advocate, a Police officer, a custody sergeant, a shift sergeant, a charging standards reviewer and a case review officer. It's just implausible.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: What else

              This is true, my previous post was not an exhaustive description of the process. But getting a crime "no crimed" is hard. For the PC it involves getting their sergeant to sign off on it.

              Thanks for the correction. I had been of the belief that things were a bit more straight-forward for officers over that side.

              I don't fully agree with the rest of your post, but I already have some in the moderation queue and it's just past midnight for me here, so I shall head for the sack and leave things here. And again, my apols for nutting off at you earlier - unfortunately this topic is one that gets a little sore at times.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What else

          ". This is because people like Reg commentards moan about police selectively enforcing the law, so successive Home Secretaries remove officer discretion."

          Semitrue. Police can always "lose" the whole report and from that on it never existed. So yes, they really have a lot of options if they want.

  9. alain williams Silver badge

    Ian Rankin is dangerous!

    Beware discussing an Inspector Rebus novel on a public forum. If you do so then you risk McCopper deciding that you are researching how to carry out some heinous crime.

    1. defiler Silver badge

      Re: Ian Rankin is dangerous!

      You're probably easier catching Rankin in the pub around these parts :)

  10. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Because when I was a teenager in the nineties UK BB pistols were ubiquitous, I didn't feel that threatened when a teenager in a Bolivian side street pointed a pistol at me ten years ago, after failing to grab my shoulder bag. My drunken brain was slowly trying to work if it was a real firearm or not, perhaps prompted by the lad's posture. Then he hit me over the head with it. Thankfully I was wearing an Argentinian leather cowboy hat with a stiff crown, so I wasn't hurt. My Spanish is poor, so I shouted Fuck Off! loudly and repeatedly and he ran off.

    Local staff at the hostel seemed genuinely shocked, as Bolivians often said that sort of incident is more of a Peruvian thing.

  11. CraPo

    Same guy?

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/566365/Police-officers-rescue-toddler-Noah-unconscious

  12. scrubber
    Big Brother

    No-one could ever have seen this coming

    The Scottish nanny state government have been expanding thought crimes for years.

    You will conform dear citizen. Resistance is futile.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    skirmish site

    I went out in Grangemouth on a weekend night a few years ago - IIRC, the whole place was a skirmish site

    1. Sweep

      Re: skirmish site

      yon's a dump

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's a bit of a logic fail here.

    If I had a weapon and wanted to commit a crime the last thing I would do is post a picture of said weapon and myself on Fartbook.

    Can we rename common sense to something else as it's not exactly common anymore if it ever was?

    1. teebie

      If you wanted to commit a crime there's a decent chance you wouldn't have the wit/impulse control to not post a picture of yourself with a weapon on facebook.

    2. kain preacher Silver badge

      "If I had a weapon and wanted to commit a crime the last thing I would do is post a picture of said weapon and myself on Fartbook."

      We have had idiots video them self committing crimes and live streaming on face book.

      People have posted pics of crimes on face book too.

      "There's a bit of a logic fail here.

      I agree.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yeah, on second thought I hadn't included the "idiot" syndrome.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I once heard of a group going to an airsoft event in N. Ireland (late nineties or early noughties I think). There was trouble in some estate they were passing and the army had thrown up a checkpoint. When asked is there anything in the car we should know about there was an 'ummm, in the boot but none of it's real,' squeaked out of one of the nervous passengers and the squaddie had a look. Then they were swarmed with all the soldiers coming over to look enviously at their kit as they had more guns, grenades and body armour. After admiring their arsenal and checked it was all airsoft stuff, they were let on their way.

    BTW some of the airsoft rifles are powerful enough that if you modded them to be automatic they would require a firearms license but that’s a different kettle of fish.

    Anon as I don’t want to waste months of my life on a nonsense charge.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      I'm a former airsofter. You've been misinformed on the last bit and there's no need to give the "ban airsoft" crowd ammunition. :)

      Airsoft rifles can't legally be over 328fps muzzle velocity with a .2g bb as this is 1 joule of imparted energy when something is hit, and at <1joule then the home office consider it a toy on the basis that it takes 1.3 joules to break the skin.

      Anything over 1 joule makes it an air rifle, not a s1 firearm. Semi or auto makes no difference. This explains it usefully:-

      http://www.mileoakshootingclub.co.uk/8.html

      So by the formula on his site to get a airsoft rifle firing a .2gram plastic BB to >12 foot pounds you'd have to take the muzzle velocity from about 300 FPS to something like 1500FPS, which is something like mach 1.3. That's not even remotely acheivable from an airsoft rifle with a spring; the maximum acheivable is less than half that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Paintball markers are proper weapons

        None of your air-softy bullshit.

        Legal restrictions on air rifles limit the maximum fps of a standard paintball to 300, and to be honest if you tried to fire one at a higher velocity they would mostly just explode in the barrel.

        There are also electronic triggers out there that allow certain combinations of trigger-press to put them into full-auto mode (usually at a rate of around 15 balls per second).

        All of which is limited by the fact that a paintball is very *soft*. They have the ability to fire other types of projectile, ones that wouldn't explode at higher than 300fps. Doing that would make them firearms, and since they wouldn't be recognised as such there is no chance of adding one to your licence, so very illegal whichever way you want to cut it.

        However, the limits of the paintball markers themselves go way above 300fps.

        I don't know what kind of energy a 0.68" nylon bearing fired at 500 fps would have*, but with 15 of them coming at you every second (and a hopper that holds 250 them) you can see that they have a lot more potential than air-soft.

        *Turns out to be roughly 188 ft-lb/255 Joule

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Paintball markers are proper weapons

          the simplest (accidental) change to a paintball marker (gun) is to undo the gas tank by 1/4 to 1/2 a turn.

          this puts the dip tube of the tank in liquid CO2 rather than gaseous which in turn give a bigger punch when firing

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Paintball markers are proper weapons

          I hear frozen paintballs aren't nearly as soft, and can be explained away more easily than a nylon ball bearing or other sort of projectile.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If I ever run in him again I'll let him know. At my first event he was the only one with his own kit and boasted about how much better his single shot rifle was and that if he modded it to auto fire, it would need a firearms license. It fairness it was far more accurate and could shot much, much further and hurt more than anything the event provided. Plenty of skin broken though and lots of swelling and bruising.

      3. _HeliX

        As of 2011, the rule is 1.3 joules for anything capable of full-auto (approx 370fps on 0.2g bbs), or 2.5joules on anything semi-auto. The 1j limit almost came in, by way of removing specific mention of Airsoft from the Policing and Crime act, but this was fought hard against, and airsoft is still in there specifically now, and recognised as a pastime.

      4. 8-{>

        The new Policing and Crime Act 2017 (PCA 2017) which came in to force in May 2017 changed that. Fully automatic Airsoft weapons now have a legal limit of 1.3 Joules and Single action/semi automatic airsoft weapons have a legal limit of 2.5 Joule. Above 2.5 J a single action / semi-auto legally becomes a an Air Weapon. Above 1.3J and capable of full auto an airsoft weapon becomes a Section 5 firearm. (Air weapons cannot be fully automatic without becoming a Section 5 firearm.) NI and Scotland have different rules.

        1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

          "Above 1.3J and capable of full auto an airsoft weapon becomes a Section 5 firearm."

          The law has recently (Since the VCRA) become a bit of an ass in this respect. I have a some air rifles, and a couple of air pistols. The latter are modelled on real world pistols (one S&W 686, and one Beretta 92), try and buy an airsoft version that's not a funny colour though, and it's a different kettle of fish, and you need UKARA membership. I find it odd that lower powered plinkers have more restrictions.

          I'd also love to know if the VCRA has done the 'R' bit, I suspect not, and would think criminals would now be pointing air pistols at people, instead of airsofts, but hey.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anarcho-Tyranny

    Going after little problems with full force and arbitrary laws while studiously ignoring growing societal problems and the continuing decay of the body politic.

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: Anarcho-Tyranny

      As I've just commented elsewhere in this thread, it's more complicated than that.

      In the past, Scotland hasn't always done enough to counter the glorification of paramilitary violence in Northern Ireland (and a disproportionate amount of what was traditionally done was against pro-republicans, while Rangers fans were still happily waving UVF banners at matches with impunity).

      There's good reason to worry about people posing for pictures in "black combat gear", and I don't have a problem with them investigating when an image like that is presented to them. The problem here is that they didn't drop it as soon as they discovered it was someone playing a game of tig.

      But the glorification of the Norn Irn situation has been a major societal problem for decades, even if mostly concentrated in Glasgow, and while the law is clearly overbroad, there is still a need to be able to stop genuine glorification of terrorist violence.

      Oh, and politics comes into it to, because sectarianism has historically influenced all sorts of things, through HR hiring policies to party candidate nominations.

      Don't get me wrong, I do think the law here is a mistake, and that the police officers involved acted like total muppets, but I do recognise that we have to look beyond that and look at the whole thing in context.

  17. Ian 45

    Nazi

    They'll be prosecuting people for teaching their dogs to do a nazi salute next....... just best avoid the UK.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nazi

      Only if it's a German Shepherd.

    2. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Nazi

      Didn't someone nearly get done in Oxford a few years ago for insulting a Police horse? I can't seem to find a link though.

      1. Mike Ozanne

        Re: Nazi

        "Didn't someone nearly get done in Oxford a few years ago for insulting a Police horse? I can't seem to find a link though."

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/oxfordshire/4606022.stm

        1. Korev Silver badge

          Re: Nazi

          Ta.

        2. Kiwi Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: Nazi

          "Didn't someone nearly get done in Oxford a few years ago for insulting a Police horse? I can't seem to find a link though."

          http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/oxfordshire/4606022.stm

          Bloody hell. Talk about a worthless pig taking a personal vendetta! Back then the term "gay" was often used by teens (and those not very far past their teens) to express a mild dislike/disappointment ("No internet till I've done my homework? Gay!"), at least around here. Only the super-sensitive or those who make Daily Mail readers look like laid-back types would get offended at someone using it.

          The cop involved there clearly had an issue, and was clutching at the best straw he had to inflict some misery on a relatively innocent kid who upset the poor wee lassie.

          No wonder those of us who've seen their true nature call them "pigs" - when we're being nice.

          1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            Re: Nazi

            This reminds me of Plebgate!

            The UK plod seem a lot more interested in protecting their touchy egos than actually fighting crime and antisocial behaviour.

      2. Kiwi Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Nazi

        Didn't someone nearly get done in Oxford a few years ago for insulting a Police horse?

        I think it was a case of insulting a horse's arse, in saying the copper in question was acting like one.

        ICBW.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nazi

      They'll be prosecuting people for teaching their dogs to do a nazi salute next

      Woof justice

      1. d3vy

        Re: Nazi

        @Annon

        "Woof justice"

        I think you mean ruff justice.

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      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > It's not like he was a celeb that some one wanted to take down

        True. If he was a celeb, they'd have found a 'problem' with his rear brake light, requiring him to be stopped. 'Cos we all know that the cops diligently stop all cars with broken lights, so much so that you almost never see a car with a blown bulb on the road any more.

        <extreme sarcasm icon missing>

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  20. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Holmes

    Fail

    A couple of years ago I was involved in a search for a missing fisherman. When his body was found a couple of plods were flown by helicopter from Glasgow to "investigate". Having only been issued with the "Junior Detective Kit" they asked to borrow our camera! We never did get the SD card back :(

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    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Depends on who you trust more, an independent Scottish judge or a Reg reporter writing a sensational story looking for click bait.

  22. Commswonk Silver badge

    Forthcoming Attraction...

    From the article: Turnbull was charged with posting pictures and videos that were "grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing manner, in that they depicted [Turnbull] in possession of a cache of firearms and explosives".

    How long before we see the following: [redacted] was charged with posting pictures and videos that were "grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing manner, in that they depicted [redacted] in possession of a pie containing a meat product.

    At this rate not long, I suspect. Those living in Wigan had better watch out.

  23. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: Legally Worthless?

        Go on then, what's the sob story?

        I've been in court. I testified that Man A entered the pub before Man B because that's what I remember. Another witness testified that Man B entered first. Should we both be convicted of perjury?

        Evidence almost always conflicts, memory in stressful situations is notoriously bad.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. Andromeda451

        Re: Legally Worthless?

        The criminal "justice" system is neither just nor a system. On Both sides of the pond.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: Legally Worthless?

          The criminal "justice" system is neither just nor a system. On Both sides of the pond.

          It is, however, criminal.

  24. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Your second to last paragraph is often true. There is a mindset that goes:

      1. Is this person being naughty?

      2. If yes, what powers do we have to deal with it.

      It's not normally a bad thing, but quite often it doesn't work well when morals and the law clash.

      FWIW there's a "naturist" near me who likes to stand in the window rubbing his cock when the school kids are walking to and from school... should the local Police leave him be or try to "get him"?

      If they do nothing you'll blame them if he does let his fantasies get the better of him (Police were warned many times...), if they do you'll moan about Police threatening innocent naturists. So it's a no-win situation.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. Florida1920 Silver badge

    Comment from an American

    It's cases like this that keep the NRA alive in the U.S. Their mantra has long been, "No matter how 'reasonable' the anti-gun movement proclaims their intentions, they will never stop. First it's firearm magazines, the next thing you know, you're being done for an Airsoft." Cases like this one go a long way toward proving their point, regardless of where you stand on gun ownership.

  26. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    I see a personal grudge, or a serious dick *somewhere* in this mess.

    Hmm.

    I dunno about Scotland so much, however the AirSoft devices my eldest have are like hell made out of plastic, nor do they use springs as firing mechanisms. The name makes it pretty clear what they use to fire those balls with.

    And he *has* mucked with it and gotten the pistol muzzle velocity up over 328fps. Mind you after it popped two sandbags and I made him clean that up he choked it back. And despite more than a few months of practice I'm still 45% more accurate than him on a stationary target. (75 ft range)

    Still and all, the groups over here are pretty damned harsh on modders that overramp and to get in any playfield they get to test your device before you go out.

    This cop and the Sheriff/judge both need a swat, it is after all a (slightly weird) "sport", not a "terrorist" organization.

  27. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wow,. now i know to avoid scotlund like the plague

    is it because scots are short that makes them this daft?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: wow,. now i know to avoid scotlund like the plague

        Was it the Grey Horse in Edinburgh?

  29. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  30. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Holmes

    Wimoweh

    I sleep safe in my bed knowing rough men stand ready in the night to protect us from those who would not harm us.

    I can understand the police having concern that people are dressing up like terrorists and mass killers, totting 'firearms and other weaponry', but it should end at that once it becomes obvious that it is misplaced concern. This is simply prosecution and persecution for a non-crime.

    It doesn't help that the police often seem reluctant to go after those who are a demonstrable threat to society and who do have harm in mind.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Angel

    Meanwhile ..

    .. the British gov't's own website:

    http://army.mod.uk/

  32. Harry Stottle

    Malicious Prosecution

    I trust m' learned friends will be advising the victim of his right to sue for Malicious Prosecution

    Looks to me like this case would fit the definition almost precisely...

  33. Milton Silver badge

    It's the Age of Stupid

    In the Age of Stupid, you get people who should know better doing and saying the most bonkers and cretinous things. And they're not all US presidents, either.

    Common sense is often over-rated, but when it is completely missing—wow, you do notice.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  34. Britt

    As an occasional air-softer, I have played against ex/current military and they enjoy the chance to use their skills (rather successfully)against some of us plebeians. I do be leave I've played against some firearms officers in the past too.

    They must all be face palming at this.

    I've done my patriotic duty by being the (crappy) hard target for them to practise against.

    I'm wondering what storm in a teacup will be brewed up next in somebodies vendetta against fun.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  35. imaginarynumber

    Poor bastard

    Knowing that you are innocent is no guarantee that you won't end up with a criminal record which might potentially ruin your life.

    I hope that he sues them. It must have been incredibly stressful.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  36. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  37. J J Carter Silver badge
    Unhappy

    How very national socialist

    I can assure El Reg readers that after 10 long years of SNP corruption, cronyism and bungling, every public service in Scotland is a shambles.

    The SNP elite and nomenklatura are creaming off £M in ways that would make President Mugabe blush, although even the Chinese walked away from a £10B scam such was the SNP incompetence.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dodged a bullet there

    I once had a polite request to build a "device"! for the local Airsoft folks.

    Needless to say it never got built though have the "ice cube" VFD tubes and suchlike here.

    The annoying thing is it would have been a paid job, only ever used for the game and not threatening in the slightest although might have freaked out Mr Random Passer-by as it had quite a lot of wiring, blinkenlights and "Undo the red wire from terminal A, etc" ie full blown defusing required not merely typing in a code on a pad.

  39. Hans 1 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Basically, it would have been illegal to pose with live firearms on social media ?

    I hate guns, of any kind, even these pre-teen toys, but Feynman, unless you have some text on or around the post with some explicit text like: "Let's take on the Police", "Preparing for the next mass shooting" or "ISIS are as gay as I am!" .. I do not think it is offensive in any way ... you just look at the age of the individual and above the age of 11 you know it's a moron (maybe needs some surveillance) ... some Rambo fan ... How on earth have we got to this ???????

  40. Xenu

    Hah. I have a picture of me holding a Glock G17 and firing it on a range.

    I also have a picture and video of me shooting my 12 gauge shotgun.

    Never had any issue and not sure what law this violates either.

    It certainly is not against facebook policy...

  41. Mr Dogshit

    "Conducting himself in a disorderly manner"

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7095134.stm

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: "Conducting himself in a disorderly manner"

      Just don't understand how this is punishable? Are there some sex toys that are legal, and some that aren't? Or are all illegal? Seems very British this verdict somehow..

  42. GrumpyKiwi

    This really does say to me that an independent Scotland would be a miserable bureaucratic and generally nasty nanny-state - worse even than Australia. I feel rather sorry for its citizens.

  43. Seajay#

    It never ceases to amaze me how confident people are that the judge is an idiot despite knowing nothing about the case.

    If this was a picture of him smiling with his airsoft weapon under a banner that says "12th annual airsoft picnic" then this case would be outrageous.

    If this was a picture of him in in a balaclava holding a weapon with the caption, "I'm coming for you proddy bastards" then it would undoubtedly be of a "menacing character". Since he was being tried for menacing communication, not for posing a real threat, the fact the gun was a toy is irrelevant. If you can't tell its a toy, the picture is equally menacing.

    I have no more idea than anyone else what the picture actually showed but since the magistrate was convinced, I think it's pretty likely we're talking about picture 2.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Sorry. Still an idiot.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " If you can't tell its a toy, the picture is equally menacing."

      When the picture description specifially defines it as a toy. Except the police decided to lose the description (they had seen and knew was there) for the prosecution. That's a**hattery.

      We see pictures of armed americans (or other nationalities) in FB every day, claiming they are 'menacing' is quite absurd. I've seen many pics where people have tanks and heavy artillery too, are those also 'menacing'?

  44. Andromeda451

    Just remember children

    The government is your friend and they will protect you from all those bad guys.

  45. Kiwi Silver badge

    Apology esp @Adam 52

    My family has experienced great pain at the hands of certain members of the police and their prosecution team. I am aware of several other cases in NZ.

    This does not excuse my comments (which I'll allow to stand to show how much of an idiot I've been!).

    To all readers of El Reg, especially Adam 52 who has taken some of that more directly, I apologise. I also apologise to any members of the police who are there for the right reasons and trying to do the right job in difficult circumstances.

    1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Re: Apology esp @Adam 52

      @Kiwi

      The NZ cops are a real mixed bag these days. There where some seriously corrupt officers in the past, and there's a bit of a hangover legacy from them. There is also a new generation who despise the previous lot. You get to see the resulting bunfight whenever one of the old guard starts angling for a top position, and they either get told to foxtrot oscar or their nasty deeds will find their way into the dom post.

      The NZ cops also have terrible legal advice. They often manage to fuck up evidence gathering, get told by the courts why it was a fuckup* and then carry on doing the same thing. Then when the prosecution falls over due to the dodgy evidence, they just carry on doing the same.

      In the late 80's, a kiwi friend of mine was walking on oriental parade in wellytown, when a cop car with three fellows in drove onto the footpath. One cop hopped out, told my friend to get lost, and grabbed the chap they had been looking for (apparently). The two cops in the car backed it up, and parked up about 50m down the road, facing away from the first cop.

      My mate then backs up a bit, takes out his notepad (OG roleplayer) and starts writing down what's happening. First cop gets pretty physical with their suspect (shoving him into a park bench, yelling in his face, grabbing by the throat), other cops look the other way, turning round every so often to check things haven't gotten out of hand.

      After 20 minutes or so, the angry cop leaves the suspect, makes some muttered comment to my mate, and walks back to the cop car, and the fine fella's in blue drive off. My mate goes and talks to the (rather distressed) chap, and gives him his details saying he will back him up.

      Fast forward nine months, complaint has been made about the cops conduct, my mate is in court being questioned by the police brief. After a bit of verbal foreplay, the lawyer suggests that my mates recall of the events is wrong, and the police version of three of them questioning a mentally unstable agitated suspect is correct. My friend produced his notepad, and went through the series of events, contradicting the cops story with highly specific testimony. Cops brief went white when he saw the notepad.

      The cops story relied on the cop car being parked in a fairly specific spot, since they where clear about where they had come from, when they saw the suspect, and how they pulled up (and all supposedly left the car), and how they hadn't done a u-turn and where parked facing the "wrong" way. Unfortunately for them, there where roadworks at the time, so there was only a single direction in which they could have parked (and also why they had driven onto the pavement).

      In the end, complaint upheld, assorted charges against the chap where dropped, administrative punishment for the cops involved. My mate got pulled over a lot in the next few years, but other than speeding and thoughtcrime he's a pretty well behaved chap.

      Quite a few years later, my friend saw a picture of one of the cops who had been in the car. He'd just been convicted for perverting the course of justice by deliberately causing a second mistrial in a very public case involving (you guessed it) NZ cops on trial. Good to see that some things never change.

      If you're in NZ and you're not sure which breed of cop you've got, always opt for the lady officer. They tend to be smart, capable and actually able to deal with certain entrenched criminal elements. After dealing with the shit they get from colleagues, dealing with proper crims is a walk in the park :)

      * in public, a civvy can take pictures of anything that doesn't invade someones privacy. The cops need a warrant or court order so that the recordings can be evidence. The cops where getting away with this for about 15 years until it was challenged in a political case (terrorism).

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Apology esp @ Monkeycee

        Hey there,

        My posts are "awaiting moderation" so I hope not to further tread on any toes :)

        I know Oriental Parade fairly well, having both worked and lived in the area (sadly not in a building, I did a short "between houses" stint like many in this country have done recently :( )

        I have met a mixed bag of officers in my time, some really decent people, some nasty, some nasty to idiot cops but nice to helpful members of the public, some older and some younger (mostly older ones for the nicer ones, ones who would've been prosecuting their wayward fellows I guess). Both the nicest and nastiest I've met have been female officers, but I haven't met a nasty female officer since I was in my teens (that may explain something ;) ).

        The case you mention actually rings some vague bells, but I couldn't say for sure. Possibly a similar case. I have had an officer tell me to stop writing while he was talking during a traffic stop, and I told him I was taking notes in case it went to court, he changed tack PDQ. I too faced a number of traffic stops for a few weeks after that stop, interestingly enough.

        I'd probably better hold my tongue around these parts for a while though, I have little nice to say about our fine lads and ladettes in blue, and I think I've ruffled a few feathers here :)

        1. GrumpyKiwi

          Re: Apology esp @ Monkeycee

          As a FAL holder, the worst cops to deal with around here are the ex-British ones. They really don't get it that firearms laws here are different and that "because I feel like it" isn't a valid reason to stop something. Unfortunately we seem to have gotten the ones that are very good at climbing the ladder/floating to the top.

  46. MartinB105

    I wonder what kind of trouble I'd be in?

    I've posted photos of myself on Facebook holding actual, real weapons: AK-47, AR-15, Magnum 357, CZ-75, 12 Gauge Shotgun, Uzi and a TIGR Dragunov sniper rifle. I even had one of these photos as my profile picture for a good few months.

    (I visited a shooting range in Prague while on holiday a few years ago. I also no longer live in the UK, so I'm not really concerned about sharing this information here)

  47. Goit
    Black Helicopters

    Shi™! I have videos of me at a shooting range in Florida... Should I be worried?

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know it's a hobby

    I do not understand why people think posing with guns is smart or attractive, in the real world such behaviour just makes you a target.

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: I know it's a hobby

      "I know it's a hobby..."

      Here's a thing. He wasn't posing with firearms he was posing with what is effectively a toy. For his hobby.

      There are pictures of my in diving or climbing gear I've posed for.

      One of my friends races cars for a hobby...guess what...?

      Context is key.

  49. razorfishsl

    What is sadder?

    1.He was prosecuted for a picture of a toy gun.

    2. He enjoys being Walter Mitty

  50. TonyJ Silver badge

    Hmm..seems to have been some very heavy handed moderation going on here.

    Why, Reg?

    Some of the comments I recall (including my own) were not even vaguely inflammatory...just questioning motives.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: TonyJ

      It's a sensitive legal case. We may have to moderate comments for legal reasons.

      C.

      1. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: TonyJ

        Diodesign..surely it "was" a sensitive case? He was cleared.I could understand if it were an ongoing case.

        Sad state when the veracity and capability of our police forces can't be questioned after even a judge has made comments about things like the handling of evidence.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: TonyJ

          Diodesign..surely it "was" a sensitive case? He was cleared.I could understand if it were an ongoing case.

          Possibly something around the accused-now-cleared seeking compensation?

          1. TonyJ Silver badge

            Re: TonyJ

            "...Possibly something around the accused-now-cleared seeking compensation?..."

            Doubt it - nothing commented was outside of what you could read on any other newspaper site.

            Hey ho. I don't want El Reg getting into any hotwater. It was idle curiosity.

    2. Kiwi Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Hmm..seems to have been some very heavy handed moderation going on here.

      I've had the same as dio mentions in his(?) response from someone else at El Reg. While I'm a bit saddened that my best upvotes post has gone (though I still have the overall votes tally), I do understand and support the reasons I've been given. I've had at least a half a dozen of my own posts removed and a few never made it past moderation.

      Given the current UK political climate, they probably do sometimes have to rein some of us in! :)

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Read this and now google are advertising Guns on my home page

    This is the only time ever, i have even seen the word Airsoft on the internet and now google + think its ok to put adverts for airsoft guns on my google search page (yes, i am signed into google).

    Does this mean that GCHQ and possibly the Scottish police are going to come after me?

    Are the news stories we read and the automated ads that result going to be the "evidence" used to hang us?

    Obviously i have tried to contact google, but they are known for using robots (human ones) to reply. Google play store drones don't compute the term "delete" when you want to remove an app from the play store.

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