Mohammed Hasnath posted a whole bunch of these stickers around the East End of London (where I work):
“Basically, some people just handed them to me so I just put them up. I didn’t say anything, it doesn’t say that I am going to punish them it just says what God says in the Koran.
“I wasn’t the one who made them, some people gave them to me and I only put up a few, there were hundreds of them up. I didn’t know the police were going to get involved or that it was a offence or anything.”
And in response he was given a slap on the wrist:
Hasnath, who lives with his family in Tower Hamlets and survives on job seekers allowance, was fined £100, ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. The offence could not carry a custodial sentence.
District Judge Coleman said: “I think you used these stickers deliberately to offend and distress people, you certainly succeeded in doing that.
“You have upset people and they deserve an apology, you are not entitled to behave in this way.”
An apology? £100? Inciting homophobic hatred in the community is worthy of a trivial fine and a demand for an apology? This asshole should be in jail! What if that sticker had said ‘Muslim free zone’? ‘Jew free zone’? I can’t believe that a message of outright hatred, with the clear implicit threat of violence, wouldn’t merit a custodial sentence. Turns out it could have – last month the CPS said:
“This case has now been referred to the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division to consider whether a section 29C (1) of Public Order Act 1986 offence should be added. This offence is committed if a person uses threatening words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, if they intend thereby to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.”
So they decided not to bother even trying to jail him for up to six months, sending out a message that there are no meaningful consequences to anti-gay extremism like this. Others have pointed it out for many other reasons recently, but it’s clear that there’s something really rotten at the heart of the Crown Prosecution Service.
Julian #Assange has been in Wandsworth Prison for the last week, held in solitary confinement on an Interpol warrant for an alleged crime in Sweden, yet without charge. This smells even fishier:
The Crown Prosecution Service will go to the high court tomorrow to seek the reversal of a decision to free the WikiLeaks founder on bail, made yesterday by a judge at City of Westminster magistrates court.
It had been widely thought Sweden had made the decision to oppose bail, with the CPS acting merely as its representative. But today the Swedish prosecutor’s office told the Guardian it had “not got a view at all on bail” and that Britain had made the decision to oppose bail.
Lawyers for Assange reacted to the news with shock and said CPS officials had told them this week it was Sweden which had asked them to ensure he was kept in prison.
Karin Rosander, director of communications for Sweden’s prosecutor’s office, told the Guardian: “The decision was made by the British prosecutor. I got it confirmed by the CPS this morning that the decision to appeal the granting of bail was entirely a matter for the CPS. The Swedish prosecutors are not entitled to make decisions within Britain. It is entirely up to the British authorities to handle it.”
As a result, she said, Sweden will not be submitting any new evidence or arguments to the high court hearing tomorrow morning. “The Swedish authorities are not involved in these proceedings. We have not got a view at all on bail.”
As I write, Assange is in court trying to get his freedom secured; freedom from what seems to me to be unlawful detention. His treatment in the UK seems clearly to be political and is almost certainly connected to the Wikileaks revelations. Time I suppose will tell whether the CPS’s behaviour is the result of American pressure or if it’s the British state choosing to abusing him all on its own. The Guardian adds:
Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens said this was “highly irregular”. He told PA:
The question we have to ask is if they weren’t talking to the Swedes, who were they talking to? It’s highly irregular because, as (director of public prosecutions) Keir Starmer said on Radio 4 this morning, the CPS are supposed to act as the agents of the Swedish authorities and they appear to be acting without the knowledge of their director or the Swedes.
It remains opaque and unclear as to who actually gave the order to oppose bail.
We’re talking about Delroy Smellie of course, but what about the unnamed officer who caused Ian Tomlinson’s death? What about the senior officers who gave the orders for such violent policing? What about their role in the attempt to cover up the cause of Tomlinson’s death, blaming the crowd rather than their own? Tomlinson’s wife, as the run-up to the first anniversary of his death approaches, has gone on the attack:
Last August the CPS was asked to consider whether the officer should be charged with manslaughter and, weeks later, Starmer promised swift action. “My view on these things is we should move quickly,” he said, adding that he hoped for a decision “in a few months”. CPS officials later told the Tomlinson family they could expect a decision by Christmas.
“Keir Starmer has let us down personally,” said Julia Tomlinson. “Why did he say there would be a decision around Christmas? Why are we still waiting? My kids need to move on from this. They’re left without a dad now and their lives have been turned upside down over the last year, especially the four girls. He doesn’t seem to realise the pain we’re going through.”
She added: “We feel like there was a cover-up from day one, and we didn’t see it because we were nervous about the police. Now a year on it still feels like all of that is still going on. If it had been someone on the street, a civilian, who had pushed and hit Ian just before he died, and it was all caught on video, surely something would have happened by now. The officer needs to go before a jury. Let them decide what should happen to him.”
She’s right of course. It’s cut and dried what actually happened, so why are they still waiting? On the other hand I would also suggest that the TSG officer who attacked Tomlinson wasn’t the only one who deserves to face justice for causing his death that day. Putting just that officer on trial would entirely miss the point that the Met’s behaviour that day was entirely normal, and the smears against the protesters and lies about Tomlinson himself a familiar refrain when the Met’s policing has caused death or serious injury. I’m still disgusted at how long Jean Charles de Menezes was blamed for his own murder, and how effectively the system closed ranks ultimately to justify it; the same result is likely here. De Menezes’ shooter has never been charged with a crime, despite committing perjury and murder, whilst his commanding officer was promoted. Julia Tomlinson really ought not to expect much better.
Computer Weekly has discovered that the evidence in support of the US government’s extradition request against Gary McKinnon is fundamentally flawed:
Evidence supplied by the US authorities to the UK to support legal proceedings against Pentagon Hacker, Gary McKinnon, relies on hearsay and may be impossible to prove in court, according to an internal Crown Prosecution Service document.The document obtained by Computer Weekly calls into question the forensic evidence supplied by the US to link McKinnon to hacked US military systems. It casts doubt on claims that McKinnon’s activities damaged thousands of US military computers.
The document, Review Note 3 – 26 February 2009, was complied by Russell Tyner, lawyer for the CPS’s Organised Crime division for the Department of Public Prosectutions.
The DPP used the review to support its decision of 26 February not to prosecute McKinnon in the UK. It concluded that there was not enough evidence.
The gaps include:
- Proof identifying each of the computers hacked
- An image of each computer
- A forensic report of each computer, linking access and file modifications to McKinnon
- Evidence to prove that accusations made against McKinnon were not merely hearsay,
- Evidence that McKinnon’s activities caused impairment of US systems
- Evidence that his activities left computers vulnerable to intrusion.
I know that the Extradition Act 2003 doesn’t require that any of this has to stand up at the point of the extradition request (in the UK), but surely if the evidence is already known not to stand up under US law then why bother with all this? If the Deparment of Public Prosecutions feels that the evidence wouldn’t stand up in an American court (and that it doesn’t in a British one), I find it even more amazing that there is still no legal remedy to preventing this mean-spirited extradition, which still appears to be pursued out of the US government’s embarrassment more than anything else. The Home Office is refusing to disclose the legal advice it continues to cling to, in its refusal to intervene.