Public Order Act: Feel free to be insulting

Please see my new article on the most recent changes to the Public Order Act for the offence of s.5 by clicking HERE.  I explore the amendment by Parliament to this much used tool by the police to prosecute bad behaviour. 

It is surprising how often this offence is used by the police to prosecute persons on a drunken saturday night to an aggressive motorist who has been stopped for allegedly committing an motoring offence.  However, it is worth noting that police officers can also be high handed and sometimes use it as a tool to manipulate the situation.  After all, they are equally human and effected by the reaction they get from the person they are dealing with or their perception of someone’s actions whether that be in a car or on the streets.  

Over the years, I have successfully defended many defendants who have become embroiled in a situation that often is not meritorious of a prosecution.  For instance, I defended a gentleman that was stopped by an over zealous police officer who believed he had been drink driving.  There was no evidence that the officer had actually seen him driving, although it was accepted that his vehicle was nearby. The client remonstrated with the officer (he was intoxicated) as he had not driven that day.  The officer took his argumentative stance as being abusive and arrested him for causing him harrassment, alarm or distress under s.5 of the Public Order Act.  Magistrates acquitted him of both failing to provide a specimen of breath at the road side and the public order offence.  The officer had no grounds for reasonably suspecting that the male had driven and the words used were not sufficient in the circumstances to amount to an offence.  I suspect that given that they doubted the officer regarding his “reasonable” suspicion, they also doubted him regarding the alleged words used.  Client was awarded his costs of defending the case.

If I can be of any assistance in your case, do not hesitate to contact me for a FREE initial inquiry by EMAIL or by telephone on 0843 886 2603.  Please quote the Reference: MARCUSCROSKELL.COM.