The web may not have been
alive with Tweets when I
returned from court this time yesterday but it sure is now. The thing that is
causing most concern is that it is now illegal to refer to someone as a certain
rude word because it is grossly offensive. We all know what the word is but I am
going to substitute the word ‘tosspot’ to remind everyone that that is how a
certain Bexley councillor has admitted to referring to me on the net. Now that
the judge has said that the mere act of sending the offensive word into
cyberspace - read or not - is an offence against Section 127 presumably I can
now nip in to see my friendly neighbourhood bobby any time I want with the
evidence that one of councillor Seymour’s close mates typed “malcolm
knight bonkers bexley tosspot” and pressed the Enter key 21 times?
District Judge Julia Newton agreed that it doesn’t matter whether the recipient is offended or not, or read the message or not, the crime is sending the offensive message on its way. It seems a silly law to me but what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. I might just take advantage of it if only to prove that Bexley councillors get more favourable treatment than plebs.
I’ve been thinking about Olly’s Tweet from Seymour’s point of view. Remember he is like me a Twitter ignoramus and the first he knew of it was the tittle-tattling Bauer giving him a call. “Hi Melvin, do you know what that scumbag Cromwell has done? He has put your house on the web, called you a tosspot and is encouraging people to put dog mess through your letter box”.
What would I have done if I got such a call? Probably nothing because I know it will take an hour to get through to the police on the phone and they will kick it into the long grass. If that is what happens (initially at least) when Bexley council commits far worse crimes against me what hope is there of getting them to take the word tosspot seriously? But I’m not a councillor and have no special relationship with Arnsberg Way.
So Seymour, perhaps not unreasonably, toddles off to the cop shop. I’m not a mind reader so I don’t know whether he is seriously worried about being called a tosspot and he really is living in fear despite a small army of friends of the foul mouthed knuckle head variety, or whether he sees it as a good opportunity to have Olly banged up. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt at this stage.
Now let’s look at things from councillor Sandra Bauer’s point of view. During yesterday’s court hearing the defence took the line that Olly’s Tweets could only be found through diligent searching; the police had had difficulty finding them. Had Sandra Bauer gone out of her way to search out Olly’s on-line comments? “No” said the prosecutor, she was used to looking at Olly’s Tweets; she knew exactly where to look. So she would also know exactly what to expect. Everybody and everything in Olly’s on-line world is a tosspot or something more imaginative. It’s not a place for the faint-hearted. You don’t go there without expecting to be amused - if you like that sort of thing - or offended. A regular visitor soon gets to know that tosspot and shit are throwaway words.
My son is just a year older than Olly. When he was young I constantly chided him for sticking the word ‘actual’ in front of everything because that is what kids of the seventies did - when they weren’t calling their mates spastics. It was a different age and fortunately he was cured of both bad habits. Olly is of the generation that prefixed everything with actual just as the following generation used the word ’wicked’ in a back to front way before everything became ‘cool’. Every one of those are to be avoided like the plague as far as I am concerned but I have to accept that the language evolves. Anyway back to Bauer…
She told Seymour that Olly planned on having dog poo put through his letter box. Where did that come from Sandra? How did you know it was dog poo and not some other variety? Rocking Horse’s perhaps. It is hard to get away from thinking that councillor Sandra Bauer knowingly embroidered the facts and I am coming round to the view that her role in this case is far worse then Seymour’s - at least initially. She must have known from the outset that what she told Seymour wasn’t true. He took the dog reference as gospel when Bauer must have known she had made it up. But once Seymour had run off to the cops there was no turning back. Her lie had to remain and find its way right through the Crown Prosecution Service to the District Judge. No wonder it was decided not to call her as a witness, her evidence would surely have collapsed into a stinking heap.
Subsequently of course things became less clear cut. We know from their intemperate outburst that Seymour’s friends believe Olly said "please feel free to go round and post some actual shit". We know that because they wrote to tell me. Where did the actual visit to Seymour’s actual house actually come from? Seymour himself or their own imagination? Whatever the case they firmly believe it and are prepared to shout it loudly in public interspersed with ‘F’ words outside the court in the presence of two policemen. Their distortions of the truth remind me of the old first world war joke that the general telephoned back down the primitive line; “Send three and fourpence, we are going to a dance”.
The problem is now that the Judge has ruled that calling a councillor a tosspot is “grossly offensive” and to compound it by encouraging the delivery of real doggy poo leads to a custodial sentence. The two complainants must know that Olly intended no such thing. That he wanted people to go round to his house as Seymour’s friends have apparently been told is incontrovertibly untrue. Where was the address? And “dog faeces” is also absolutely untrue as well. Only Sandra Bauer mentioned dogs. She may not have realised the full consequences of her lie, I don’t know, but she is a Bexley councillor so it may be wise to assume the worst.
What a mess! We have two councillors, one of whom we all know told a lie because what she saw and what she said she saw are both in the public domain, and the other one presumably added to the story by telling his friends that Olly’s plan was to go round to Seymour’s house to deliver the crap. It never happened and he lived right opposite Seymour. Why was that do you think? Too lazy or it wasn’t what he said?
I may be seen as moving towards the centre of the fence but in my view only a damn fool joins Twitter in the totally screwed-up UK where typing 140 hasty characters with your thumb and pressing Enter can land you in jail. The law is undoubtedly an ass more often than not, but that is the way it is. But I’m not really swapping sides. To type what I think about Sandra Bauer who has not got the guts to own up that she was untruthful and misled councillor Seymour when a man’s freedom is at stake might land me in jail too. Seymour was clearly out to get Olly when in the witness box yesterday but I can understand that he may have believed he had a legitimate reason to go to the police. I can’t see any reason for replying “yes” to some of the questions he faced yesterday though. But he’s a Bexley councillor, he can say what he likes.
The lies about Olly tend to convince me that once the Local Government Ombudsman has ruled about those Bexley council have told about me I really should follow in Seymour’s foot steps and toddle off to Arnsberg Way myself.
I am hoping that this will be the last about Olly’s case you will read here until the next legal moves which may or may not be the sentencing on 9th May. There are lots of opinions and facts on other websites. Having been closely involved in Olly’s case from the outset and been referred to the CPS because of Bexley council’s lies myself, I know that some of the facts out there are not facts at all. Only Olly and I have been present at every court hearing to date yet those who have been to none are writing essays based solely on our reports. It would appear that the first world war joke of “Send reinforcements we are going to advance” is just as relevant today as when my grandfather stuck his head over the trench top on the Somme almost 100 years ago.
Note. “Tosspot” is used as a euphemism for Olly’s favourite word as it may be slightly more acceptable to Bexley councillors. It is after all known to be the one by which one refers to me.
Arnsberg Way. The address of Bexleyheath police station.
Note 17th August 2012. At an appeal hearing where both Seymour and Bauer were called as witnesses and cross examined it became clear that it was Seymour who had dishonestly exaggerated the content of the Tweet in order to attempt a miscarriage of justice and Bauer had merely sent him a copy and took no part in its embellishment.