|For the record, here
is a summary of salient facts relating to the arrest of
Mr Robin Page on 18 November 2002 in connection with a
speech he made in September:
1. The alleged offence took place at a country fair at
Frampton-on- Severn, Gloucestershire, on Sunday, 8 September,
2002. The basic purpose of Mr Page's speech was to defend
the rights of countryside dwellers and to urge people
to attend the Countryside Alliance Rally on London on
1. The alleged offence took place at a
country fair at Frampton-on- Severn, Gloucestershire, on Sunday,
8 September, 2002. The basic purpose of Mr Page's speech was
to defend the rights of countryside dwellers and to urge people
to attend the Countryside Alliance Rally on London on 22 September.
2. The words complained of, according to
Mr Page's account in the 'Mail' on Sunday' (24 November),
were as follows:
"In case any of you are of a fragile
disposition and easily offended, please go for a walk round
the lake and come back when I have finished. "If there
is a black, vegetarian, Muslim, asylum-seeking, one-legged,
lesbian lorry [truck] driver present then you may be offended
at what I am going to say, as I want the same rights that
you have got already".
3. The investigating officer is Detective
Sergeant Geoff Clark, whoworks at the Stonehouse Police Station,
near Stroud, Gloucestershire.
4. The arrest of Mr Page took place on
Monday 18 November, 2002. Police Officers travelled nearly
200 miles from Stroud to interview him and he was detained
in a cell with dried faeces on its walls before being interviewed.
5. An article in the 'Stroud Journal' in
"Propaganda Claims Investigated"
"Claims that Frampton County Fair
earlier this year was hijacked by the pro-hunting lobby are
being investigated by Stonehouse Police.
"Countryside campaigner Robin Page
was accused of bombarding visitors with pro-hunting propaganda
during his commentary at the country fair in September. Sgt.
Geoff Clark, of Stonehouse Police, would like to hear from
anyone who was upset by the commentary. He can be contacted
on 0845 090 1234".
[TB Note: Even if true, it is not a crime
known in British law (yet)to 'bombard country fair visitors
with pro-hunting propaganda']
6. The official Gloucestershire Police
press release issued today (25 November) said:
"Gloucestershire Police can confirm
that they have arrested a 60-year-old man from Barton in Cambridgeshire
on suspicion of committing public order offences.
"The arrest, on Monday November 18,
followed a Police investigation into complaints received about
a speech made at a country fair in Frampton-on-Severn, in
Gloucestershire, on Sunday, September 8.
"The man was interviewed at Cambridge
Police Station and released on Police bail pending further
"He is due to report back to Stroud
Police Station [a round trip of 400 miles] on Monday January
"Police were contacted by a local
newspaper for comment after it had received letters of complaint.
We responded and asked any witnesses who had not spoken to
us already to get in touch.
"Media appeals like this are standard
procedure in Police investigations".
7. The alleged offences, say the Police,
were committed under Sections 18, 21, 22 and 27 of the Public
Order Act 1986. On being challenged about the relevance of
Sections 21 and 22, which deal with public radio or TV broadcasts,
the Police resiled from relying on those sections but maintained
there was reasonable suspicion that an offence had been committed
under Sections 18 and 27.
8. The Official Police Guidance Notes on
Section 18 ("incitement to racial hatred), which I have
managed to obtain, say this (relevant extracts only):
A. Title of relevant pages in Guidance
Notes: "Stir up Racial Hatred by Words/Behaviour"
B. The PNLD Reference is H 2430
C. The official wording in the statute
(recently tightened up), is:
"On __________ (date) at ___________ (place) ____________
(name of defendant) used threatening, abusive or insulting
words or behaviour either:
(a) intending thereby to stir up racial hatred, or
(b) having regard to all the circumstances, whereby racial
hatred was likely to be stirred up".
D. The official Crown Prosecution Service
Advice Note says: "Make sure you know the CPS guidelines
for this offence before preparing any charges - click on the
links below. See public order principles and the specific
guidance for using words/material to stir up racial hatred.
E. Points to prove:
(b) threatening or abusive or insulting words or behaviour
(c) intended to stir up...or, likely to stir up
(d) racial hatred
F. Notes: The consent of the Attorney-General
is required for prosecution of this offence. See also heading
[TB Note: This means that if the Attorney-General
decides not to prosecute e.g. in the case of a non-white person
using insulting words about white people (see below), there
is nothing anyone can do about it, as the Attorney-General
would have the power to veto a private prosecution].
G. Powers of Arrest: This is an arrestable
offence. A constable may arrest without warrant anyone he
reasonably suspects of committing an offence under Section
H. Mode of Trail: 'Either Way' (either
Magistrates Court or Crown Court Jury) Maximum Sentence:
Magistrates Court - Six months in prison
Crown Court - Seven years in prison.
Time limit for prosecutions: none.
I. National actions: Take photographs,
fingerprints and DNA swab or hair samples if charged.
8. A 'Mail on Sunday' editorial yesterday
(24 November) said, inter alia:
"Thought Police on Patrol"
"If such things can happen to the
outspoken and eccentrics now, they will threaten all of us
before too long and turn this country into a place where political
informers flourish and the truth is told only in whispers.
In a free country, the Police patrol the streets, not the
minds of the people".
9. 'Operation Napkin'
Last year, Gloucestershire Police set up
'Operation Napkin'. Senior Police Officers were sent to 'ethnic
restaurants' to eat four-course dinners and at the same time
listen out for 'racist hate speech'. Today Gloucestershire
Police's Media Chief 'thought' the operation had resulted
in one arrest but no charges. He wasn't sure if the operation
SOME ADDITIONAL NOTES:
On 31 January 2002, Mr Imran Khan, Chairman of the Black Lawyers
Association and the Solicitor for Stephen Lawrence's family,
spoke these words (among many others) at a Special Law Society
meeting to discuss racism in the Law Society, which he and
124 other supporters had called; he was speaking of white
words are now the subject of an official complaint to the
Metropolitan Police, under Crime Reference No. 6216708/02C.
The speech is being investigated by Detective Sergeant Kevin
Boyle of the 'Community Safety Unit' at Paddington Green Police
It will be interesting to compare the
Police action to be taken in this case with the action taken
against Mr Page.
Notes on the Public Order Act
The Court of Appeal held
that telling the truth was no defence
under this Section
Earlier this year, eccentric local preacher
Harry Hammond, aged 74, was quoting Bible texts in Bournemouth
Square, with placards saying:
"Stop Homosexuality" and "Stop Lesbianism".
A local gay activist saw him and summoned friends on his mobile
phone, who then pelted him with mud and water before wrestling
him to the ground where he suffered minor injuries to his
head. The Police arrested Hammond, but no-one else. When the
case came to Court, the CPS arranged for a material witness
to be flown 9,000 miles to and from Australia to give evidence.
She was told by the CPS:
"It's an important human rights case".
Hammond was found guilty (under different sections of the
Public Order Act), fined £300 and ordered to pay £365
costs. The Court ordered the destruction of his placards.
In September this year, Alistair Scott,
from Exeter, heard local Muslims next door to him shouting
that Osama bin Laden was a great man and hailing the bombing
of the World Trade Centre. Scott challenged them and during
the exchanges, one of them called him a 'Zionist pig*****r'.
Scott responded by saying: "I hate all Muslims, I hate
all Arabs'. Only the Muslims complained to the Police. Scott
was charged under the Public Order Act and sentenced to 200
hours of community service. It was the first-ever case in
Britain of 'religiously aggravated harassment (Protection
from Harassment Act 1997 and Crime Terrorism and Disorder
Two weeks ago, a BNP supporter, David
Wilson, was sentenced in connection with leaflets he had
circulated in the Pollokshields area of Glasgow. He got four
months in prison and is now in the notorious Barlinnie Jail,
Glasgow. His crime was write about gangs of Muslim youths
in the area causing trouble, which was quite true. Several
thousand Muslims have moved into Pollokshields in recent years.
The Court held that although he had referred to Muslims, he
had really meant Pakistanis and therefore the case could be
brought against him under 'racial hatred towards Pakistanis'.The
legislation referred to above dovetails with the European
Union's requirement that British laws on 'racism' and 'xenophobia'
comply with its Draft Directive on these 'crimes' no later
than June 2004 (see my separate briefing paper on this topic).
People you may wish to contact: Chief Inspector David Peake,
'Head of Media Relations' for Gloucestershire Police - Direct
01242 276257 or Sgt. Geoff Clark (investigating officer) -
0845 090 1234, and of course Robin Page: Birds Farm Cottage,
Barton, Cambridgeshire, CB3 7AG (Tel: 01223 262181).
Printed and published by T Bennett, Tel: 01279 635789
25 November 2002