Friday, 12 November 2010

The Communications Act of 2003

I've been trying to find what the legislation involved in these twitter cases actually states, and I think I've tracked it down in the Communications Act of 2003.

127 Improper use of public electronic communications network
Justify Full
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he—

(a) sends by means of a public electronic communications network a
message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent,
obscene or menacing character; or
(b) causes any such message or matter to be so sent.

(2) A person is guilty of an offence if, for the purpose of causing annoyance,
inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, he—

(a) sends by means of a public electronic communications network, a
message that he knows to be false,
(b) causes such a message to be sent; or
(c) persistently makes use of a public electronic communications network.

(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable, on summary
conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine
not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both.
So there you have it - the usual bollocky of vague terminology. In the case of Paul Chambers, the wigs are sticking to their story that his message was 'menacing' - even though no one was actually 'menaced' by it. As for the tory councillor, maybe they'll fall back to causing Yasmin AB 'needless anxiety' or some such twaddle. I note there is no reference to 'a reasonable person' which is often used as a yardstick (and in the case of Yasmin would provide an escape hatch). I also note, regarding 2(a) above that this applies to about 95% of every politician ever says.


Caedmon's Cat said...

If someone like Marc Stevens had been involved in the trial, the case would have been thrown out after his questions to the judge; one needs to bear in mind (among various other factors) that an offence - the definition of which is defined by Common Law - must involve an injured party to be valid. No such injury was either inflicted nor received. Moreover, since the Communications Act of 2003 is a statute, it can only carry with it the weight of law with the consent of the governed. Without that consent it's a toothless dog. If the defendant hadn't yielded to jurisdiction in the first place, the case wouldn't have had any legs..

Trooper Thompson said...

Hmm, I need to learn more of this common law business. I was just watching this video earlier today, which is interesting:

dangermouse said...

Hey Trooper, Caedmon is 100% spot on. All of their so-called Acts are completely full of shite and can be thrown out if you dont give them jurisdiction. Common Law prevails every time.

have a look at this real beauty of an eye-opener. It's save you loads of time.

Trooper Thompson said...

Cheers DM, I'll check it out.