Tag Archives: streets

Court challenge win over Sarah Everard vigil raises questions about authorities

Heavy-handed: after the Met Police said it would be illegal to stage a socially-distanced vigil under lockdown conditions, organised by Reclaim These Street, an impromptu event happened instead – leading to heavy criticism of the same force for the brutal way it was seen to put down protesters.

Decisions by the Metropolitan Police that discouraged organisers from holding a vigil for Sarah Everard were against the law, according to High Court judges.

Police statements that Covid-19 regulations at the time meant holding the vigil would be unlawful, and had a “chilling” effect, contributing to the decision to cancel the vigil (an impromptu event was then put down by police with what some have described as brutal force).

None of the force’s decisions was in accordance with the law; evidence showed that the force failed to perform its legal duty to consider whether the claimants might have a reasonable excuse for holding the gathering, or to conduct the fact-specific proportionality assessment required in order to perform that duty.

That’s a victory for justice. But the High Court had previously refused to declare that any ban on outdoor gatherings under the coronavirus regulations at the time was “subject to the right to protest” – or to declare that an alleged force policy of “prohibiting all protests, irrespective of the specific circumstances” was unlawful.

And Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services concluded the police “acted appropriately” when dealing with the event.

So this raises an obvious question:

Are the High Court and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary fit for purpose if they can’t make a simple ruling in favour of the law?

In a ruling today (March 11), Lord Justice Warby and Mr Justice Holgate found that the Metropolitan Police breached the rights of Jessica Leigh, Anna Birley, Henna Shah and Jamie Klingler to freedom of speech and assembly, and did not assess the potential risk to public health:

Reclaim These Streets (RTS) proposed a socially-distanced vigil for the 33-year-old, who was murdered by former Met officer Wayne Couzens, near to where she went missing in Clapham, south London, in March last year.

The four women who founded RTS and planned the vigil brought a legal challenge against the force over its handling of the event, which was also intended to be a protest about violence against women.

They withdrew from organising the vigil after being told by the force they would face fines of £10,000 each and possible prosecution if the event went ahead, and a spontaneous vigil and protest took place instead.

The policing of the spontaneous vigil that took place drew criticism from across the political spectrum after women were handcuffed on the ground and led away by officers.

Summarising the decision, Lord Justice Warby said:

“The relevant decisions of the (Met) were to make statements at meetings, in letters, and in a press statement, to the effect that the Covid-19 regulations in force at the time meant that holding the vigil would be unlawful.

“Those statements interfered with the claimants’ rights because each had a ‘chilling effect’ and made at least some causal contribution to the decision to cancel the vigil.

“None of the (force’s) decisions was in accordance with the law; the evidence showed that the (force) failed to perform its legal duty to consider whether the claimants might have a reasonable excuse for holding the gathering, or to conduct the fact-specific proportionality assessment required in order to perform that duty.”

If Lord Justice Warby and Mr Justice Holgate could see this evidence and act upon it, there’s no reason other High Court judges could not do the same – and certainly no reason Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary – which should specialise in the law as it applies to the police – couldn’t.

Why did they make the wrong call, then?

And what will be done to correct what are clearly faults in the attitude of the people who made the wrong decisions?

It costs a fortune to take a case to the High Court; these organisations have a duty to the public to get their decisions right first time.

Sadly, experience suggests to This Writer that the usual action will be taken: nothing at all.

Source: Sarah Everard vigil organisers win High Court challenge against Met Police – upday News UK

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Dictator Johnson threatens MARTIAL LAW if we play five-a-side or stay in the pub after 10pm

Dictator Johnson: he’s putting troops on the streets to enforce his will. Remember this comes before a harmful Brexit, and he is planning to abolish our human rights. Do you feel safe with this man in charge?

Boris Johnson appears to have lost whatever grip on reality he had left.

Announcing new restrictions on public freedom in England, in his latest bid to show he’s doing something about Covid-19, he threatened to bring in the armed forces to enforce them.

And what are these new restrictions? Here:

All citizens are being told to work from home if they can with immediate effect – and from Thursday, all pubs, restaurants and even kebab shops and takeaways must shut from 10pm.

Masks will become compulsory for shop and pub staff, taxi passengers within days – while the fine for breaking the ‘rule of six’ on gatherings will double to £200.

Only 15 people will be allowed to attend weddings from Monday and five-a-side football will be axed.

That’s the lot.

And Johnson had the following to add:

Boris Johnson has said the military could be deployed in England to help with the enforcement of new coronavirus restrictions.

Speaking in the Commons on Tuesday, the prime minister said there would now be “greater police presence” on the streets with “the option to draw on military support where required”.

The prime minister’s spokesperson said the military could be used to backfill certain police duties, such as office roles and guarding protected sites, so police officers can be out enforcing the virus response.

That seems a sop to the masses – an attempt to co-opt our support for having the military invading our daily lives.

“This is not about providing any additional powers to the military, or them replacing the police in enforcement roles, and they will not be handing out fines. It is about freeing up more police officers,” the spokesperson said.

And how long will that last before more powers are granted to the military? Before our guardians become our keepers?

Possibly the worst aspect of this is the fact that the Labour Party – Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition to the Johnson government – has no interest in opposing:

Johnson said MPs will have the opportunity to debate the new coronavirus measures next week.

Labour leader Keir Starmer said Johnson was “right” to announce further measures. “We support those measures,” he said.

This is terrifying.

It seems our political leaders are colluding to take our freedoms away from us, using the pandemic as an excuse.

Is it really a coincidence that this introduction of the military into our daily lives is happening just months before Johnson takes us through a potentially traumatic end to the Brexit process that is likely to cause shortages of goods including foods, along with unemployment and civil unrest?

Johnson is preparing to put down any such unrest with military force.

But don’t just take my word for it:

Even Brexit Party bigwig – and hence arch-Brexiteer – Richard Tice thinks this is a step too far:

What do you think?

Source: Military Could Help Police Enforce New Coronavirus Rules, Says Boris Johnson | HuffPost UK

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Hypocrite Theresa May pretends she’s not a racist – but we must judge her by her actions

Theresa May: the image offers a good sense of where she belongs.

Some of you are going to find this hard to take.

Watch this, if you have the stomach for it:

You’re probably thinking of the Windrush scandal, that demonstrated ample evidence that this two-faced Tory had no interest in the well-being of anybody black.

But I want to take you back further than that, to an incident that shows she cannot claim any moral authority on the well-being of any ethnic minority.

I refer, of course, to the scandal of Theresa May’s so-called “racist vans”. I wrote an article about it entitled Xenophobia, in which I stated:

“Those of us who are lucky enough not to live in London have yet to see the amazing advertising vans that have been conveying instructions to Conservative-leaning voters, to treat with hatred, suspicion and contempt anybody who is not a white, Anglo-Saxon protestant.

“It seems clear that these vehicles are intended to promote racism and heighten racial tension, setting British citizens against each other – because the aim is to encourage the suspicion that another person may be an illegal immigrant – in the same way Coalition policy on social security set citizens against each other by pretending it was commonplace for individuals to receive more in benefits than in paid work.

“According to the Public Order Act 1986, it is an offence for a person to publish threatening, abusive or insulting material if this is intended to stir up hatred against any group in the UK, defined by reference to colour, race, nationality, citizenship or ethnic or national origins, or if it is likely to stir up hatred with regard to all the circumstances.

“The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994 added an offence of intentional harassment – that it is an offence to use threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour, intending to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress. There is a defence that the conduct of the accused was reasonable. This Act was introduced by Michael Howard, who spoke in favour of the advertising vans on the BBC’s Any Questions on Friday.

“The Unite union has been seeking legal advice about whether the Home Office-sponsored vans – running a week-long ‘pilot’ scheme that could be expanded to the entire country – incited racial hatred, which implies that their message was intended for domestic consumption, rather than for the benefit (sorry) of illegal aliens.

“The message on the vans reads as follows: “In the UK illegally? GO HOME OR FACE ARREST. Text HOME to [a number] for free advice and help with travel documents.”

“A stamp in the top-right corner reads: “106 arrests last week in your area.”

“The Home Office Twitter account spent the week-long pilot period tweeting messages about the number of illegal immigrants it wished to claim had been detected or turned themselves in – and even transmitted photographs of suspects in a move that is certain to undermine claims that it was not trying to incite hatred.

“And spot-checks have been taking place at railway stations, where people who were notably not white were stopped, apparently at random, by immigration officers wearing stab vests who demanded to see identification proving they were in the UK legally. It seems they became unreasonably aggressive when asked what right they had to behave like this without direct cause for suspicion.

“Immigration minister Mark Harper has rejected claims that people were targeted because of their race, confirming that the law demands that officers need reason to believe an offence had been committed before stopping anybody.

“He said the street operations “involved immigration officers talking to people in the local area and, where there was a reason to do so, asking questions in relation to immigration status”. Are we to take it, then, that his underlings were inviting local people to act as informants, ‘dobbing in’ people they suspected (or possibly, simply didn’t like and wanted to put into trouble)?

“Harper’s argument was severely undermined when he admitted he could not reveal the different ethnicities of the people who were stopped, and their numbers, because it is not recorded – officials were told to take down only the names, dates of birth and nationalities of people they stopped.”

“I fundamentally believe that you should not be stopped on the streets of our country simply because of the colour of your skin,” said May, on July 9.

But seven years ago, officials were stopping people on the streets of our country precisely because of the colour of their skin – on her orders.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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