A series of proposals to reform the necessary yet currently overbearing Racial Hatred provisions of the Public Order Act 1986

"Black/white/hispanic/asian community representatives are not currently doing enough to help tackle youth crime within their respective communities".

Unfortunately under the current wording of the Public Order Act 1986, a temperately worded statement of the kind above would place whoever uttered it at serious risk of arrest – even if if the intention behind such words was simply to engage the attention of revelant community representatives to bring about the changes which only they can effectively provide at a grass roots level. However, the Public Order Act 1986 currently proscribes arrest for "Threatening, abusive or insulting words likely to stir up hatred", and therefore, innocent motives are not always protected. The above statement could be considered "insulting", and might even be deemed "likely to stir up hatred" in certain circumstances – but should I be held liable for this? Such an objective test leaves all kinds of public discourse liable to arrest despite the innocent (albeit perhaps misguided) intentions of the speaker. I don't believe a pluralist, democratic society should be prosecuting its citizens for temperate criticism with innocent motives, and I believe a better balance would be as follows:

In the subjective part of these provisions, "insulting, abusive or threatening words intended to stir up hatred" should remain on the statute book as is currently the case

However, vis-a-vis the objective test of "likely to stir up hatred", only "threatening or abusive words" should be arrestable.

This way, temperate criticism with innocent motives of the kind I outlined at the start would be protected, yet those untrue allegations against the whole community could be continued to be dealt with under the threatening provision, and racial slurs/seriously inflammatory adjectives under the abusive threashold, without having to prove that the speaker intended to be threatening or intended to be abusive.

This seems like a more reasonable balance if we are to prevent convictions similar to that which befell Shirley Brown in June of this year, a black councillor from Bristol who was found guilty of using words "likely to incite racial hatred" when she called another black councillor a coconut (imputing that she was really white on the inside). This may be insulting, but should such insult be prosecuted if the speaker didn't intend to incite racial hatred? To my mind, it should not.

Why is this idea important?

"Black/white/hispanic/asian community representatives are not currently doing enough to help tackle youth crime within their respective communities".

Unfortunately under the current wording of the Public Order Act 1986, a temperately worded statement of the kind above would place whoever uttered it at serious risk of arrest – even if if the intention behind such words was simply to engage the attention of revelant community representatives to bring about the changes which only they can effectively provide at a grass roots level. However, the Public Order Act 1986 currently proscribes arrest for "Threatening, abusive or insulting words likely to stir up hatred", and therefore, innocent motives are not always protected. The above statement could be considered "insulting", and might even be deemed "likely to stir up hatred" in certain circumstances – but should I be held liable for this? Such an objective test leaves all kinds of public discourse liable to arrest despite the innocent (albeit perhaps misguided) intentions of the speaker. I don't believe a pluralist, democratic society should be prosecuting its citizens for temperate criticism with innocent motives, and I believe a better balance would be as follows:

In the subjective part of these provisions, "insulting, abusive or threatening words intended to stir up hatred" should remain on the statute book as is currently the case

However, vis-a-vis the objective test of "likely to stir up hatred", only "threatening or abusive words" should be arrestable.

This way, temperate criticism with innocent motives of the kind I outlined at the start would be protected, yet those untrue allegations against the whole community could be continued to be dealt with under the threatening provision, and racial slurs/seriously inflammatory adjectives under the abusive threashold, without having to prove that the speaker intended to be threatening or intended to be abusive.

This seems like a more reasonable balance if we are to prevent convictions similar to that which befell Shirley Brown in June of this year, a black councillor from Bristol who was found guilty of using words "likely to incite racial hatred" when she called another black councillor a coconut (imputing that she was really white on the inside). This may be insulting, but should such insult be prosecuted if the speaker didn't intend to incite racial hatred? To my mind, it should not.

Scrap Local Authority Prosecution Powers

Abolish s.222 of the Local Government Act 1972. Transfer all prosecution powers of local authorities to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Currently (in England and Wales) local authorities bring their own prosecutions based on their own investigations by their own departments – including trading standards, environmental health, housing benefit, etc.

There is a lack of independent assessment of the merits of prosecution meaning that great expense can be incurred by businesses, particularly small businesses, if the prosecutions are unwarranted. It is not suggested that all prosecutions are unwarranted – clearly there are rogue traders, benefit cheats and poor environmental practices. However, the separation of these powers would be likely to force local authorities to engage in more positive forms of regulation – such as advice and support – rather than opt for prosecution as an easy option.

In addition, each local authority employs 3 – 4 prosecution lawyers at a cost of around £80m per year. Only a fraction of this is ever recouped from offenders. Lawyers often have to sit around in court waiting for their CPS counterparts to complete a whole bundle of cases before the local authority lawyer gets on to deal with just one. This is grossly inefficient.

Why is this idea important?

Abolish s.222 of the Local Government Act 1972. Transfer all prosecution powers of local authorities to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Currently (in England and Wales) local authorities bring their own prosecutions based on their own investigations by their own departments – including trading standards, environmental health, housing benefit, etc.

There is a lack of independent assessment of the merits of prosecution meaning that great expense can be incurred by businesses, particularly small businesses, if the prosecutions are unwarranted. It is not suggested that all prosecutions are unwarranted – clearly there are rogue traders, benefit cheats and poor environmental practices. However, the separation of these powers would be likely to force local authorities to engage in more positive forms of regulation – such as advice and support – rather than opt for prosecution as an easy option.

In addition, each local authority employs 3 – 4 prosecution lawyers at a cost of around £80m per year. Only a fraction of this is ever recouped from offenders. Lawyers often have to sit around in court waiting for their CPS counterparts to complete a whole bundle of cases before the local authority lawyer gets on to deal with just one. This is grossly inefficient.

Fuel poverty and deadwood

Allow members of the public to collect deadwood from public places, including land in the control of the Forestry Commission, without the hindrance or threat of prosecution.

Why is this idea important?

Allow members of the public to collect deadwood from public places, including land in the control of the Forestry Commission, without the hindrance or threat of prosecution.

Prosecutor abuse

Police and prosecutors should be charge / prosecute you for the one offence for the one  crime you are accused of. 

People are  often charged with Perverting Course of Justice, conspiracy, etc simply as way to "get" you for something. It biases the jury and is an abuse of the power of the state. 

Why is this idea important?

Police and prosecutors should be charge / prosecute you for the one offence for the one  crime you are accused of. 

People are  often charged with Perverting Course of Justice, conspiracy, etc simply as way to "get" you for something. It biases the jury and is an abuse of the power of the state. 

Overhaul Speeding Fines

Instead of wasting court time with all the prosecutions through speed cameras why not simply give people the option of:

1. First offence: Go on a course

2. Within certain limits have options such as :

A. £50 – 3pts

B. £100 – no points

C. if you have end up with more than 5 Bs then you automatically get 6 pts

 

 

Why is this idea important?

Instead of wasting court time with all the prosecutions through speed cameras why not simply give people the option of:

1. First offence: Go on a course

2. Within certain limits have options such as :

A. £50 – 3pts

B. £100 – no points

C. if you have end up with more than 5 Bs then you automatically get 6 pts

 

 

Prosecution of Minor Offe ces

I would like to suggest a review of the process thatenables  prosecutors to provide the opportunity for defendants o plead guilty in their absence.   I belive the current system is wasteful of public onies for the prosecutors, the CPS and the courts.

I think the review should cover the following areas:-

  1. Fixed Penalties have removed large numbers of cases from the prosecution provcess.   Is there scope of extending this process further, partuclarly in the following areas:-
  • cases prosecuted by the police
  • cases prosecuted by the TV Licensing Authority
  • cases prosecuted  for fare evasion by transport undertaking such as trains, buses and trams

       2. The DVLA use their electonicrecords to issue fines automatically to those who fail to     pay  road fund licences.   Could this system be extended to other offences such as using a         vehicle without a current test certificate

       3.The police can use automatic number plate recognition software to determine whether a vehicle is insured.   Could this technology be used in conjunction with DVLA records to identify all uninsured vehicles.   Could that information then be used, perhaps by a contractor, to locate and clamp those vehicles until valid insurance (or proof of scarpping) is produced rather than pursuing the prosecution route

         4.In those cases where none of these is appropriate should the procedure for prosecution laid down in the Magistrates Courts Act be reviewed.   I would suggest the following as an alternative:-

  • write to the offender poitning out that have been reported for the offence
  • tell them what the maximum penalty is
  • tell them that that penalty will be imposed after 28 days unless the defendant chooses one of the following options:-
  • request a personal appearance before a court

(to save on travelling it should be possible to arrange any such hearing at a court local to the defendant rarher than to the offence and within 28 days)

  • make a submission is writing providing mitigationrelating to the offence and details of means

(those submission could be to a single national centre or a number of regional centres)

  •            provide an option for the proscutor to ask for a personal appearance of the defeant inappropritate cases such as, say, those where the defendant is liable to disqualification from driving

Why is this idea important?

I would like to suggest a review of the process thatenables  prosecutors to provide the opportunity for defendants o plead guilty in their absence.   I belive the current system is wasteful of public onies for the prosecutors, the CPS and the courts.

I think the review should cover the following areas:-

  1. Fixed Penalties have removed large numbers of cases from the prosecution provcess.   Is there scope of extending this process further, partuclarly in the following areas:-
  • cases prosecuted by the police
  • cases prosecuted by the TV Licensing Authority
  • cases prosecuted  for fare evasion by transport undertaking such as trains, buses and trams

       2. The DVLA use their electonicrecords to issue fines automatically to those who fail to     pay  road fund licences.   Could this system be extended to other offences such as using a         vehicle without a current test certificate

       3.The police can use automatic number plate recognition software to determine whether a vehicle is insured.   Could this technology be used in conjunction with DVLA records to identify all uninsured vehicles.   Could that information then be used, perhaps by a contractor, to locate and clamp those vehicles until valid insurance (or proof of scarpping) is produced rather than pursuing the prosecution route

         4.In those cases where none of these is appropriate should the procedure for prosecution laid down in the Magistrates Courts Act be reviewed.   I would suggest the following as an alternative:-

  • write to the offender poitning out that have been reported for the offence
  • tell them what the maximum penalty is
  • tell them that that penalty will be imposed after 28 days unless the defendant chooses one of the following options:-
  • request a personal appearance before a court

(to save on travelling it should be possible to arrange any such hearing at a court local to the defendant rarher than to the offence and within 28 days)

  • make a submission is writing providing mitigationrelating to the offence and details of means

(those submission could be to a single national centre or a number of regional centres)

  •            provide an option for the proscutor to ask for a personal appearance of the defeant inappropritate cases such as, say, those where the defendant is liable to disqualification from driving

Stop Copyright Industry Using UK Taxpayers Money To Privately Prosecute People

The "copyright industry", the richest industry in the world, uses a legal loophole in UK law that allows them to privately prosecute people or companies using UK Taxpayers money. All legal bills racked up by these private prosecutors are paid out of the public purse whether the copyright industry wins OR loses!

Why is this idea important?

The "copyright industry", the richest industry in the world, uses a legal loophole in UK law that allows them to privately prosecute people or companies using UK Taxpayers money. All legal bills racked up by these private prosecutors are paid out of the public purse whether the copyright industry wins OR loses!