Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/11/21/swearing_ruling/
Swearing fine quashed as teens have heard it all before
Fair f*cking shout, your honour
Shouting obscenities in public should no longer be considered offensive as teenagers and coppers have heard it all before.
The judgment, which may or may not be decried as a fucking outrage by the police and other legal authorities, came from the court of appeal last week.
Denzel Harvey, 20, was appealing against a £50 fine for swearing at officers who were searching him for cannabis in 2009, the Daily Mail reports.
The High Court heard that Harvey swore at the truncheon fondlers throughout the search, conducted in a Hackney street, telling them: "Fuck this man, I ain't been smoking nothing."
When the fruitless frisking was concluded, the clearly put out Harvey added: "Told you wouldn't find fuck all." When asked whether he had a middle name, he replied: "No, I've already fucking told you."
The coppers then nicked him for a public order offence, and magistrates found him guilty after hearing that Harvey had launched his tirade as a group of teenagers stood nearby.
Under the Public Order Act, swearing becomes a offence where it is likely to cause "harassment, alarm or distress".
Justice Bean overturned the conviction last week, declaring it was "quite impossible to infer that the group of young people who were in the vicinity were likely to have experienced alarm or distress at hearing these rather commonplace swearwords used".
Too fucking right. Bean clearly knows Hackney, and the resilience of its youth, somewhat better than the magistrates did. The judge added that the coppers were unlikely to have been alarmed by the outburst as they'd have heard the words all too frequently.
The Telegraph reports that the Met earlier this year advised officers not to bring charges when they are sworn at as it would be difficult to convince the courts they had been alarmed or distressed by foul language. ®