End of the rant? - Blogger fined for menacing rant

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#1
Blimey we could be in real trouble
I'm off to edit all my posts :wink:

A blogger who "let off steam" about the way he was treated by police has been convicted of posting a grossly offensive and menacing message.

Gavin Brent, 24, from Holywell, Flintshire, was fined £150 with £364 costs by magistrates at Mold.
 
#3
This is from BBC News:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/north_east/7373639.stm

Blogger fined for 'menacing' rant
A blogger who "let off steam" about the way he was treated by police has been convicted of posting a grossly offensive and menacing message.

Gavin Brent, 24, from Holywell, Flintshire, was fined £150 with £364 costs by magistrates at Mold.

The court heard Brent had been charged with theft offences - which have yet to be dealt with - and posted a message about a police officer's new-born baby.

Magistrates said any reasonable person would find the comments menacing.

In February, Brent was charged with 19 offences of theft and two charges under the Proceeds of Crime Act involving internet purchases.

The court heard how detective constable Steve Lloyd conducted interviews, but was not present when Brent was charged because his wife was having a baby.

'Freedom of speech'

Prosecutor Liz Bell said someone unfortunately told Brent why the officer was absent.

Brent then ranted about his perceived mis-treatment at the hands of police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

His posting ended: "P.S. - D.C. Lloyd, God help your new-born baby".

The officer and his wife saw the message and Brent, who is unemployed, was arrested at his home. He then claimed: "You can write on websites because it's freedom of speech."

In interview, he said he felt he had been mistreated and hoped the officer would not treat his child the same way.

Brent was prosecuted under the Telecommunications Act, relating to the sending of an electronic message.

He claimed he had not meant to be offensive, had used the blog "to let off steam", but had not intended any harm.

He apologised if it was perceived as a threat, offered to remove the offending words, and to write a letter of apology.

Asked if he realised how the officer and his wife would have felt when they read his comments, he said: "I can now. I am sorry. But their interpretation is different to what I intended."

Flintshire magistrates, sitting at Mold, said the blog was articulate, detailed, specific and critical of the police and the CPS.

They said any reasonable person would find the words about the baby to be menacing in the context of the overall blog.

The blog entry has been removed.
 
#4
Thought Police in action then?
From the limited information on the link it would appear that Plod and Magistrates have chosen to interpret comments as a threat, they certainly dont automatically suggest that to me.
Suspect the author of the blogg to be a bit of a muppet though.
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#5
Sorry for no link thought I had put it in
Thanks Bovvy
 
#6
Well, I have to say I think it is an over-reaction by the big-brother, police state we live in BUT, on the other hand, charged with a total of 21 offences, this individual is clearly not the type for whom great sympathy is likely.

By the way, Christians are constantly praying for "God" to "help" various people. Should we just arrest everyone who goes to church for threatening behaviour?
 
#8
This represents a whole new dimension of ethical and practical discussion for people who are have a vested interest in free speech, responsibility and new media (I'm one of 'em).

As we all know, in spite of most people telling themselves that emails are private communications, the current thought is that they are essentially owned by the company or server you send them through, and that you should never put anything in an email that you don't want on the evening news. Most of us disregard this kind of caution, but that doesn't mean it doesn't backfire on some poor slob at a government office occasionally.

It would be interesting to see the whole text of the rant, and whether a reasonable person would assume a threat had been made. Because a blog is usually a hosted space, it could very well be in violation of the blog hoster's personal policies, and "free speech" be damned...they don't want the responsibility for what could happen next. Maybe they shopped him.

And if a reasonable person could read it and believe this constitutes a written threat, then must the plod prosecute? Does it have the same "life" as a mailed or emailed threat?

Finally, if it doesn't pass the reasonable-person standard, but leaves the message ambiguous, do the police have a right to prosecute?

I would also guess that the baby mention is a reference to the author's opinion of his father, not a threat. But I'd have to see the whole text. I'd also like to believe that the cops would err on the side of what's provable, if the message was ambiguous.

And yes, the guy sounds like a prize tool.
 
#9
As with the laws on race and sex discrimination, whether the remarks are offensive or threatening is not on the intent of the writer but the perception of the reader. Which is a bit silly as some people are far too sensitive for their own good.

That said, you shouldn't be allowed to make obvious offensive or threatening posts on a public blog or website and be able to hide behind the protection of 'free speech'. Free speech is far more important than to be used, as a tool for twisted losers to snipe at officials because they are too cowardly to do it to their face. If you have something meaningful to say then yes, it is free speech, if it is just insults or threats, it's just being offensive without having the b4lls to justify your views.
 
#10
Ok, the guy is a tool, however;

As I am dyslexic, I am well aware of how easy it is to write something, which later turns out not to say what you intended. I have done it many times. This specific case is somewhat worrying, as it appears that anyone can be prosecuted very easily and the onus is on the writer to prove the benign nature of the content. Definately the thought police in action - another nail in the coffin of personal liberty in the UK.

In this context, what would be the consequence of my arrse signature. I believe everyone on this site would be able to put it in context, however, it would be easy for a layer to spin it so it sounds 'menacing'.

Ski.
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
#11
There is no such thing as 'Freedom of speech', hasn't been for a great many years now. Nor is there a freedom of thought, not if you are likely to express that thought, whether by word or deed.
This guy was silly to say the things he did on his blog, a blog which seems to have been 'articulate, detailed and critical of the police'. Criticism is not to be tolerated any more, we have seen that with the responses on here. I saw it when my son in law, who was trying to assist a friend, who was being shouted at and generally harrassed and insulted by 3 blokes in jeans and sweatshirts, asked who they were, and when told they were police,asked to see a warrant card. He was told to go away or he would be arrested. When I asked why, and under what act, the officer informed me that the Prevention of terrorism act would provide grounds. The basis of which wa that he said he believed my son in law was showing racial bias ( one of the officers was mixed race), even though no words had been spoken to suggest any bias, the officer believed my son in law was 'looking disdainfully' at his colleague.
I too was thetreatened with arrest, for being drunk and disorderly. When I pointed out that I had been tee total for 30 years, and the staff at police station knew that well, was advised that my 'inrterfering with an arrest' would be justification.

Anyway, my point is; no free speech. No freedom of thought, in case you are perceived to be having dark thoughts. Soon, the authorities will issue 'somas' to us all, to maintain a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere.
 
#12
Dog-faced-soldier said:
Well, I have to say I think it is an over-reaction by the big-brother, police state we live in BUT, on the other hand, charged with a total of 21 offences, this individual is clearly not the type for whom great sympathy is likely.

By the way, Christians are constantly praying for "God" to "help" various people. Should we just arrest everyone who goes to church for threatening behaviour?
He may have been charged with 21 offences Dig-faced-soldier but he has not been convicted. Despite the best efforts of some in this country that means he is still innocent of those as yet.
Whatever his issues he obviously seriously contests the issue of his guilt on that matter.

As far as I can see nothing tht has been reported constitutes this lad making a threat to said Plod, his wife or his child. As yet he is not convicted of these 21 alleged crimes.
Whatever his sins may turn out to be in the end he has been heavily persecuted for expressing an opinion which now appears to be a crime in this country.
This is not the Britain I grew up in any more
 
#13
He is fat has a goatee and a wears one of those surfer type necklaces
and maybe ginger as well . Has a face you want to batter .There may be
legal debate here ,but, imho the police could charge him with whatever made up crime they like and he deserved it .Its only a pity they didn't beat him when they had the chance.
 
#14
jagman said:
Dog-faced-soldier said:
Well, I have to say I think it is an over-reaction by the big-brother, police state we live in BUT, on the other hand, charged with a total of 21 offences, this individual is clearly not the type for whom great sympathy is likely.

By the way, Christians are constantly praying for "God" to "help" various people. Should we just arrest everyone who goes to church for threatening behaviour?
He may have been charged with 21 offences Dig-faced-soldier but he has not been convicted. Despite the best efforts of some in this country that means he is still innocent of those as yet.
Whatever his issues he obviously seriously contests the issue of his guilt on that matter.

As far as I can see nothing tht has been reported constitutes this lad making a threat to said Plod, his wife or his child. As yet he is not convicted of these 21 alleged crimes.
Whatever his sins may turn out to be in the end he has been heavily persecuted for expressing an opinion which now appears to be a crime in this country.
This is not the Britain I grew up in any more
I agree entirely. It's the age old case of 'freedom of speech' versus what's 'acceptable'. I'd love to have been able to read this blog and make my own mind up about the matter, see if the charges are justified, etc, but it's been censored. That is the fact that is most worrying about all this.

Judge Dredd, coming soon to a neighbourhood near you...
 

TheIronDuke

On ROPS
On ROPs
Book Reviewer
#16
Big Brother indeed. I would take the remark 'God help your baby' to mean 'Because you are a plank', if the Blogger had been complaining about incompetence.

Or as a threat if he had been making nutty threats about hunting cops down with his garden rake.

Be nice to see the whole piece for context.

Did the Muppet plead guilty, or not guilty? The former I would guess since he made statements to the cops admitting guilt. It would have been interesting to see if CPS would have followed through if he had said "See you in court sunshine".

Also, which bit of the Telecommunications Act was invoked? Some of that legislation has its foundations in various Telegraph acts dating back to 1860's and is well ambiguous.




This post is not intended to suggest that D.C. Lloyd or any other Rozzer is incompetent or a plank(s) nor that it is correct to address CPS officers as Sunshine. No animals were harmed in the making of this post. May contain nuts or nut derivatives (etc)
 
#17
I also interpreted comment to read as....I feel sorry for your kid if...

However this sounds like the Police wanting to get a local menace on something that would actually provide a stonger punishment than the other offences.

It all smacks of stupidity all around, which I'm afraid is the result of the knee jerk law making and p*ss poor legal leadership that we have had over the last 11 years in the UK.

New Labour's legal legacy is one of introducing laws that people can be "got" on rather than addressing the complexities of the crime or in this case technology.
 
#18
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU!

Thought police yep, sounds about right in a few years time it wont be a fine but room 101 for you old boy, let just hope they dont see ARRSE or were all fcuked.
 

TheIronDuke

On ROPS
On ROPs
Book Reviewer
#19
FARMBOY said:
However this sounds like the Police wanting to get a local menace on something that would actually provide a stonger punishment than the other offences.
I'm not defending crime on this or any other issue, but...

He's been done for cyber-crime, and since he had to be out on bail to write his Blog, its probabaly some kid scamming eBay, or similar.

If they were using this to lift blade wielding Chavs I'd have less of a problem with it.

Where I do have a problem...

Imagine we had a fall-out on here, and I said "Farmboy, I am going to frocking kill you". And somebody else said the same.

Can we expect to get our collars felt for conspiracy to commit murder?
 
#20
Just as a precaution, I'd like to say that you are ALL really nice and well-adjusted people, and I wish none of you any harm.

And I think your British policemen are wonderful.

And Gordon Brown is a jolly good chap, as is all his Cabinet.




I will now head for my deep dark cellar, where a Polish laundry-maid might be carelessly bending over a mangle.
 

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