Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lib Dem Conference Protester charges are dropped - but after he'd spent 10 days in jail

Remember way back in September I was not chuffed to hear that student Edd Bauer had been packed off to jail for unfurling a protest banner on a bridge near the ICC in Birmingham where our Conference was going on?

Well, today his case came up before the judge in Birmingham and, in what sound like farcical scenes, were dropped because the prosecution could not offer any evidence.

To put someone through five months of stress, not to mention the time in prison when he was subjected to violent attack, for, essentially, nothing is really not acceptable. Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming had actually gone to Court to give evidence on Mr Bauer's behalf.

West Midlands Police and CPS got this case badly wrong - and the Federal Conference Committee should not go to Birmingham again until they can be assured that a more liberal approach will be taken. We've all had our agendas for Federal Conference this week - this might be something we might want to bring up in the Reports session.

We're a party of Government. We're going to attract protesters. As long as they conduct themselves in a manner that doesn't harm anybody, they have a perfect right to do that. We've all done it ourselves - and some of us still do.

4 comments:

Neil Monnery said...

You think that's bad. I read a story earlier in the week about a person who was remanded in custody for five months because a police officer didn't believe you could have a colour photo on your drivers license. He was charged with having false documents and was remanded in custody because they thought he was a flight risk. The fact is though on all drivers licenses before 2006 the photos are in colour. A simple call to the DVLA would have sorted out this mess within minutes.

This happened in England FFS. It scares me. It really does.

Caron said...

No way! That's appalling. Where did this happen?

Neil Monnery said...

Excuse me it was four months but in Chorton-on-Medlock wherever that is and he was in Strangeways for his entire stay.

It was in the Daily Mail I'm afraid but here is the link - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2104198/Father-jailed-months-wrongly-accused-having-fake-photo-driving-licence.html

Tom Barney said...

As I pointed out on the conference feedback sheet, the West Midlands police have form when it comes to overreacting to things. When a student at the University of Central England illustrated a project with photographs she took of photographs by Mapplethorpe in a book of his work she had borrowed from the university library, whoever processed her film tipped off the police that someone was manufacturing indecent images. The police later told the university that they believed at least two photographs in the book were obscene in law, but that if the university would agree to destroy the book the police would take no further action. The university, realising the threat to academic freedom, refused, saying they would contest the case. It took much publicity, intervention from MPs and a protesting letter to The Times from people involved in the arts in the West Midlands, including David Lodge and Simon Rattle, before the matter was dropped. And throughout the affair the book, which was published by a mainstream publisher, was being openly sold in the central Birmingham branch of Waterstones.

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