There’s actually not very much wrong with this per se:
A company director who fitted a laser jammer to his Range Rover and made rude gestures as he drove past police safety cameras has been jailed.
Timothy Hill, 67, threw the device in a river behind his home in Grassington when he found out that officers had launched an investigation.
Timothy Hill, 67, threw the device in a river behind his home in Grassington when he found out that officers had launched an investigation. But today he was jailed for eight months at Teesside Crown Court and banned from driving for a year for perverting the course of justice.
Now we might quibble over whether using a device to jam a speed camera constitutes perverting the course of justice and whether that deserves a custodial sentence, but what I’ve quoted above doesn’t seem too concerning. Ah, but this is Plod, and he just couldn’t keep his mouth shut:
Traffic Constable Andrew Forth, who led the investigation for North Yorkshire Police, said afterward: “If you want to attract our attention, repeatedly gesturing at police camera vans with your middle finger while you’re driving a distinctive car fitted with a laser jammer is an excellent way to do it.
“It’s also an excellent way to end up in prison. As Hill’s case shows, perverting the course of justice is a very serious charge which carries a custodial sentence.
I suspect the police are as incensed at the lack of deferential behaviour as the laser jammer, and in modern Britain that will do more than anything to bring the full weight of the law down on your head.
“It’s our job to keep road users safe across all 6,000 miles of North Yorkshire’s roads. Mobile safety camera vans are an important tool to do that – they are proven to reduce collisions and they help save lives.
“Drivers who fit laser jammers may mistakenly feel smug about ‘getting one over’ on the police. But we can tell if motorists are using these devices, and we will always endeavour to bring them to justice.”
Perhaps, but Timothy Hill isn’t the only one looking smug here. The public are getting increasingly fed up with Plod harrassing drivers and using speed traps as revenue generators, passing them off as safety measures. Condescending remarks like “it’s also an excellent way to end up in prison” only serve to illustrate the yawning chasm between the police and the public. Bad enough that Forth’s comments were, North Yorkshire police then decided to brag about it on Twitter:
Top tip: If you want to stay out of trouble, don’t do what this driver did and swear at our mobile safety cameras while driving past in a car fitted with a laser jammer. Today he’s beginning 8 months in jail for perverting the course of justice. https://t.co/Y5jpeOlt96 pic.twitter.com/rKQRVgNkB1
— North Yorkshire Police (@NYorksPolice) April 23, 2018
The reaction to this has been absolute fury from Brits and, having crossed the Atlantic and gone viral, disbelief and mockery from Americans. Many people read the above tweet and noted the smug, condescending language from the police and, with good reason, believed this guy was jailed in part because he’d flipped off the police. Now you wouldn’t expect the tin-eared idiots who run the media accounts of British police forces to realise this, but perceptions matter. In the same week, this story did the rounds on the internet:
A teenage refugee who molested and tried to strangle a young woman as she waited for a lift home outside McDonald’s has been spared custody.
Eritrean Filmon Kbrom targeted the lone 25-year-old at 5am on July 18 last year after a night out in Maidstone.
Having urged her to follow him while grabbing at his crotch, the 18-year-old grabbed her by the wrists before trying to throttle her.
But a judge decided that there were exceptional circumstances which enabled him to avoid sending Kbrom to a young offenders’ institution.
He instead imposed a sentence of 19 months’ youth custody suspended for two years.
But Judge Philip Statman was unable to include a condition that he attends a ‘vigorous and intensive’ sex offender treatment programme, as is usually imposed in such cases, due to Kbrom’s basic knowledge of the English language.
Now perhaps the stories in the papers don’t adequately reflect the details in each case, but nevertheless you have millions of people seeing a policeman crowing about jailing a British citizen who flipped them the bird while an Eritrean asylum seeker is spared jail for sexual assault due to his poor English. Does anyone in this shambolic, idiotic government we have realise how bad this looks? Obviously not, because a few days before we had this story:
A teenager who posted rap lyrics which included racist language on Instagram has been found guilty of sending a grossly offensive message.
Chelsea Russell, 19, from Liverpool posted the lyric from Snap Dogg’s I’m Trippin’ to pay tribute to a boy who died in a road crash, a court heard.
Russell argued it was not offensive, but was handed a community order.
Prosecutors said her sentence was increased from a fine to a community order “as it was a hate crime”.
She was given an eight-week community order, placed on an eight-week curfew and told to pay costs of £500 and an £85 victim surcharge.
That’s right: a teenager has been successfully prosecuted for hate crimes for posting rap lyrics on a restricted Instagram account. So how did Plod come to hear of it?
She was charged after Merseyside Police were anonymously sent a screenshot of her update.
The screenshot was passed to hate crime unit PC Dominique Walker, who told the court the term was “grossly offensive” to her as a black woman and to the general community.
So a policewoman was sent an anonymous screenshot and decided to make it all about her. Those wondering where the crime is are not alone. Then on Monday we had this, (the background to which I wrote about here):
A man who filmed a pet dog giving Nazi salutes before putting the footage on YouTube has been fined £800.
Mark Meechan, 30, recorded his girlfriend’s pug, Buddha, responding to statements such as “Sieg Heil” by raising its paw.
The clip was viewed more than three million times on YouTube.
Meechan, of Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, was sentenced at Airdrie Sheriff Court after being found guilty of committing a hate crime last month.
He had denied any wrong-doing and insisted he made the video, which was posted in April 2016, to annoy his girlfriend.
But Sheriff Derek O’Carroll found him guilty of a charge under the Communications Act that he posted a video on social media and YouTube which was grossly offensive because it was “anti-Semitic and racist in nature” and was aggravated by religious prejudice.
I am sure Meechan will crowdfund the £800 within minutes, and whatever it costs him to appeal this ruling, but the point is that a man can be arrested and prosecuted for making a joke, albeit a very stupid and tasteless one, and posting it on the internet. Were it not for the massive publicity surrounding his case and the outrage his prosecution generated on both sides of the Atlantic, I am sure he’d have been given a custodial sentence.
This week, many Brits and Americans have referred to these stories and made the point I made myself here:
The thing that always enrages me about governments is they are doubly shit at performing vital state functions: murdering scumbags go free and innocent people get banged up; police harass citizens over trivial matters while serious crime remains a problem; jihadists are let into the country to carry out terrorist attacks but Canadian right-wing journalists are turned back at the airport and banned for life.
The police are happy to ignore gangs of rapists preying on underage girls and take pity on foreign refugees who sexually assault British women, but make a joke, post “offensive” lyrics, or stick a middle finger up to a speed camera and you’ll be prosecuted and fined or jailed. This might be overly simplistic, but it is a perception that has been created by the British government and, as I said before, perceptions matter. Why? Because of cases like this:
The parents of seriously ill toddler Alfie Evans will challenge a High Court ruling preventing them from taking him to Italy for further treatment.
The family’s lawyers told the BBC that a hearing has been scheduled at the Court of Appeal on Wednesday afternoon.
The 23-month-old’s life support was withdrawn on Monday after the court ruled Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital could end his care.
Tom Evans and Kate James want to move their son to a hospital in Rome.
On Tuesday a High Court judge ruled that the family could not take him abroad for further treatment, but that he may be allowed home.
Now I don’t know the details, but these sort of medical ethics cases are fiendishly difficult moral dilemmas, particularly those that require a decision over whether to switch off life support (I remember the Terri Schiavo case well). Regardless of the facts, it is perfectly reasonable for the public to ask why, if the child is condemned to die anyway, his parents cannot seek alternative treatment or better palliative care in Italy. The government’s response, although perhaps reasonable (I don’t know), is cloaked in an air of callous indifference, oblivious to the distress of the parents and ordinary human reaction to the case. Certainly, lining up policemen outside Alfie’s hospital room is appalling optics, but then this is what this post is all about. The Times, a mouthpiece of the ruling classes whose writers look down their noses at oiks who hold opinions on things they’re not clever enough to understand, tells us:
The heartrending case of Alfie Evans has been exploited by groups more anxious to advance a broad ‘pro-life’ agenda than to support a family in desperate circumstances.
By “support a family” they mean persuade them to accept whatever choices the state makes on their child’s behalf, and deal with the consequences. A “broad pro-life agenda” is hardly something beyond the pale in such a case, especially when the alternative, state-approved option is just to let the kid die in a government hospital under police protection. Americans in particular are absolutely apoplectic over this, and see it as a clear example of arrogant, government-employed doctors disliking their expertise being questioned, and supported by judges who believe the state has a greater claim over a little boy’s life than his parents.
Now the criticism in this case might be unfair, but the British government has nobody but themselves to blame for being seen to consist of incompetent, nasty, vindictive, petty, individuals who hold the ordinary citizen in utter, absolute contempt. Theresa May, who exhibited these precise characteristics while Home Secretary and continues to do so as Prime Minister, must shoulder much of the blame for this state of affairs. What a disgrace of a country Britain has become.