Time for the DPP to put his money where his mouth is regarding free speech
The jury in a case where an athiest had ripped up his own copy of the Koran in a protest about freedom of speech has been discharged because they couldn’t come to a decision.
The ‘This Is Leicestershire’ website said:
“The eight women and four men on the jury at Leicester Crown Court failed to agree on a verdict.
They sent a note to the judge saying there was no prospect of them reaching either a unanimous or a majority verdict on which at least 10 of them agreed.
Peter James Crawford (52) was said to have torn pages from his own copy of the Koran and thrown the holy book on the ground next to a stall run by the Islamic Information Centre, near the Clock Tower, in Leicester city centre, on the afternoon of May 12.
Crawford, of Mere Road, Spinney Hill, Leicester, denied causing religiously aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress by demonstrating hostility based on membership of a particular religious group. The Crown Prosecution Service has 14 days to decide whether or not to proceed with a retrial.
Crawford was released on bail with a condition imposed that he should not to go within half-a-mile of the Clock Tower on Saturday afternoons.”
This case is an ideal opportunity for the CPS to act for free speech by dropping the case completely. He wasn’t, or didn’t appear to be physically threatening them, all he did was rip up a copy of a book, his own copy.
Recently, Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosections said that nobody should be prosecuted for insulting someone and said that there are many things that could be perceived as an insult to someone.
He said; “‘The clear problem of the outlawing of insult is that too many things can be interpreted as such. Criticism, ridicule, sarcasm, merely stating an alternative point of view to the orthodoxy, can be interpreted as insult.’
This case, with its Jury who seemed unable to reach a verdict as to whether he had intentionally set out to harass or whether it wasn’t, would be an ideal opportunity for Keir Starmer, the DPP, to put his money where his mouth is and send this case to the rubbish bin where it deserves to be.
Link to original story in This Is Leicestershire
Link to Daily Mail ‘DPP backs free speech’ article