CPS drop case against Iceland skip-divers as “not in public interest” anymore…

January 29, 2014

In my original post on this issue I wrote “you couldn’t make this stuff up!” And reality goes on to prove I’m right!

The Guardian reported that the CPS was going to prosecute 3 men for “stealing” out-of-date tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese from a skip round the back of a branch of Iceland, after a member of the public told the police he’d seen them climbing over the wall. The Crown Prosecution Service were intent on prosecuting the “thieves” even though Malcolm Walker, the chief executive of Iceland, had asked the CPS not to continue with the case. In a statement, Iceland said “We are currently trying to find out from the Crown Prosecution Service why they believe that it is in the public interest to pursue a case against these three individuals.”

One of the men, freelance web designer Paul May was going to say that he was taking the food because he needed it to eat and does not consider he has done anything illegal or dishonest in removing food destined for landfill from a skip.

This is hardly the first time the CPS have tried to prosecute people for taking out-of-date food from supermarket skips. Many years ago, two of my friends were arrested with chickens they had taken from a Leo’s (now the Co-operative) supermarket bin. They were charged with theft, elected for trial by jury at Crown Court as was their right, and the presiding judge threw out the case, angry that the court’s time was being wasted in such a way.

In this latest case, the CPS originally said there was “significant public interest” in prosecuting the three men caught last year taking tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese and Mr Kipling cakes from the dustbins behind a branch of Iceland. But a public furore persuaded them to see sense.

The case would have brought to the public eye the fact that poor members of society have to go through bins of rotten food looking for something to assuage their hunger, in scenes more reminiscent of the 19th century rather than the present day.

The case has prompted new focus on the phenomenon of “skipping” – taking discarded supermarket waste to cook and eat – and reopened the debate over how much supermarket food is still discarded. Several online petitions were launched, calling on the CPS to reconsider its decision to prosecute.

Baljit Ubhey, the chief crown prosecutor for CPS London, said: “This case has been reviewed by a senior lawyer and it has been decided that a prosecution is not required in the public interest.”

He added: “In reconsidering this case, we have had particular regard to the seriousness of the alleged offence and the level of harm done. Both of these factors weigh against a prosecution. Additionally, further representations received today from Iceland Foods have affected our assessment of the public interest in prosecuting.

“We hope this demonstrates our willingness to review decisions and take appropriate and swift action when necessary. The Crown Prosecution Service is committed to bringing the right charges to court when – and only when – it is proper to do so.”

But of course Ubhey’s explanation is a load of crap. As I reported before, the CPS have considered it correct to prosecute hungry poor people for taking out-of-date food from shop waste bins. The CPS originally valued the food “stolen” from Iceland at £33! And they would no doubt have carried on the case if online petitions hadn’t been produced.

All this case demonstrates is that the police and Crown Prosecution Service are happy to oppress the very poorest members of society.

EDIT: Since posting this, a couple of my friends suggested I might like to see the Daily Mail’s take on this story.  I don’t usually bother reading the Mail (it makes me so furious sometimes, there have been occasions in the past where I have actually shouted at a copy of the paper) but my friends’ comments intrigued me so I had a peek.

I was just about to type “Unbelievable!” but then I remembered: this is the Mail.  The story’s headline reads

A licence to steal? Let off, the ‘freegans’ who raided supermarket bins for £33 of cakes, cheese and mushrooms

The Mail clearly has a problem with “freegans” (their term for the criminals who blatantly steal unwanted garbage out of bins); their angle on the story is horror that such evil crooks are being set free to continue their crime sprees.  They mention that 15 million tons of food are being thrown away each year in the UK, Tesco alone generated 28,500 tons of food waste at its stores and distribution centres in the first 6 months of last year alone, but the Mail’s major problem is the fact that people are being “encouraged” to steal by the CPS’s decision to drop the charges.

Interestingly, they also mention that the three men involved (Paul May, Jason Chan and William James) were held in police cells for nineteen hours before being released!   I hadn’t seen or heard that anywhere else.  It shows how petty and arrogant the police can be, and is another reason why the police do not automatically deserve the respect they think they are due.  Basically, the police stink.  And to think, I wouldn’t have learnt this particular fact but for the Daily Mail’s website.  Keep an eye out for low-flying pigs ha ha!!!

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CPS prosecute 3 men for “stealing” rubbish out of Iceland’s bins!

January 29, 2014

UPDATE: CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE SHAMED INTO DROPPING CHARGES!

Unbelievable but true: check it out.

A man will stand trial next month after being caught taking some tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese from the dustbins behind a branch of Iceland.

It is expected Paul May, a freelance web designer, will argue that he was taking the food because he needed it to eat and does not consider he has done anything illegal or dishonest in removing food destined for landfill from a skip.

Even Iceland, the “victim” of the crime, doesn’t understand why this is going on. The chief executive of Iceland has said he has contacted the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to ask why three men caught taking food from bins outside an Iceland store are being taken to court, stating that the company did not seek their prosecution.

I can remember, years ago, when I was squatting/homeless and frequently went skipping so as to avoid starvation, 2 friends of mine were arrested after stealing chickens that had been thrown out into the skip by Leo’s (now “The Co-operative”). They were charged with theft. They pled not guilty and elected for Crown Court trial, as was their right. The judge threw the case out, furious that the CPS would waste his court’s time with a case of stealing rubbish! Yes, I know that technically the rubbish still belonged to the Co-op… but out of date chickens? I can’t believe the CPS still do this! As for the Co-op, with its “ethical” underpinnings… Gah!

So it’s in the public interest to prosecute hungry people for taking waste foodstuff out of the bin? Good to now… how our corporate overlords (did I say “overlords”? I meant “protectors”) think. Actually, yeah, feed the poor on Soylent Green! Perfect solution to the problem of homelessness and poverty!

Oh, yeah! I just wanted to add: not long after the palaver, a local day centre for homeless and vulnerable people MAGGS Day Centre, Worcester) asked Leo’s (now the Co-operative) if the supermarket might like to donate this waste food to the day centre, to help keep the vulnerable from starvation. Leo’s said no: but the day centre could buy the out of date trash! Seriously, you couldn’t make this stuff up!

EDIT: Our chums at 38Degrees are on this too. Check out their piece and petition here. Maybe the CPS think it’s okay now to brutalize the defenceless, as their lords and masters are up to the same crap. We gotta tell ’em: Nooo!! Online petitions are often a waste of time, but some of them actually achieve stuff! If you check out 38Degrees you’ll see that they frequently help mitigate or even stop some of our government’s most evil plans. I like 38Degrees; so should you!

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Pot’s great, sez the prez! Now where did I put those king-size Rizlas?

January 20, 2014

At last, at long last, an American president has not only admitted to smoking marijuana, he’s thinks it’s better than booze!

Of course that was the Clinton “did he inhale?” question.  But that was weak.  Obama equated pot with cigarettes:

“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life,” he is quoted as saying in a New Yorker magazine article. “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

So there we have it: Obama has told his two daughters that smoking marijuana is “a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy”, but he hasn’t tried any of the “gateway drug” and “reefer addicted rapists”.  He disapproves of dope because of its inherent dangers (for example, the risk of lung cancer that goes with smoking just about anything) but at the same time he disapproves of alcohol – in fact, it seems he disapproves of alcohol far more than pot!

Some US states are considering decriminalizing pot use.  From the Guardian:

Marijuana remains illegal in the United States under federal law, but 21 US states allow or are about to allow medical marijuana use, and Colorado and Washington have decriminalised use of pot entirely. Alaska and the District of Columbia are considering following suit.

The Obama administration said last year that federal law enforcement will not target users in Colorado and Washington, as long as they comply with their respective states’ laws. The Department of Justice says it will not interfere with states’ efforts to regulate and tax marijuana provided they are able to meet a set of requirements, including keeping it from children and restricting its flow into other states.

Obama believes smoking marijuana is a “bad habit” but thinks legal penalties now fall disproportionately on minorities and that states legalising pot should go ahead with their plans, but he sees problems ahead for Colorado and Washington legislation.  He’s leading from the front: but he knows that there are a lot of puritanical prohibitionists who will be difficult to get on board.  Obama recognizes the anti-pot propaganda for what it is – a load of BS – but there are a lot of folk out there who still believe 60 years of demonisation of the issue. But don’t give up Obama: this could be the best thing to come from his lack-lustre presidency!

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Celebrity sex-cases in court – will they get their “just desserts”?

January 16, 2014

Yesterday I wrote a post about the sex assault and rape trial underway against the Coronation Street actor William Roach.  Unfortunately I didn’t have time to write about the similar charges against Radio 1 DJ and World Service presenter Dave Lee Travis (real name David Patrick Griffin) and the Aussie broadcaster Rolf Harris.  I’ll try to make up for that now.

Miranda Moore, a lawyer for the prosecution in London, said that Travis took advantage of his role as a celebrity. Jurors were shown a clip from a “Top of the Pops” episode hosted by Travis that Miranda said captured the moment around one attack.

“This man has a propensity for offending against young women,” Moore said during opening arguments today. “He’s an opportunist who took advantage of opportunities presented to him.”

Bloomberg.com reported:

When Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi visited the U.K. to address Parliament in 2012 she met Travis, whose show she said she’d enjoyed while under house arrest.

I wonder if Aung San Suu Kvi would have been such a fan if she’s known what he’d apparently been up to.  He is accused of indecently assaulted young women while acting in pantomimes, working as a DJ, and at the opening of a hospital radio station.

Children’s presenter Rolf Harris is also facing charges of 12 counts of indecent assault against four alleged victims between 1968 and 1986 and four counts of making indecent images of a child between March and July 2012. The 83-year-old musician and television presenter is due to go on trial on April 30 (if he lives that long – I bet he’s praying every night that he’ll die in his sleep and avoid having to pay for his revolting crimes).

All the charges against these three alleged pedophile perverts stem from Operation Yewtree, which started after the death of the monstrous Jimmy Savile, who raped and abused children for years, while hospital staff and other so-called “responsible adults and even TV reporters and schedulers turned a blind eye!  Apparently Harris, Roache and “Travis” are not thought to have been in cahoots with Savile – but does that really matter?  It seems that a celebrity can do charitable work, raise money for needy children, then be allowed to rape those children.  Monsters like this have to be watched carefully.  Otherwise who knows how many more kids will have their innocence torn from then.

Even though I’m not a religious person, I really hope Jimmy Savile is suffering eternal torment.  And if Roache, “Travis” and Harris are guilty of the allegations made against them, I hope they will suffer for a long time.  They are evil.

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Coronation Street’s “Ken Barlow” sex-case trial begins

January 15, 2014

The latest television sex-case trial is underway, as William Roache, who’s played Coronation Street’s “Ken Barlow” since the soap began, stands trial for serious charges of sexual assault on under-age girls.

One alleged victim, now in her 60s, told Preston crown court how, when she was just 14 years old, in 1965.  She described how Roache  sexually assaulted her in the men’s toilet at the soap opera’s studios.  She said that he forced her to masturbate him, then asked for her address and wrote a letter asking her to write back “when you start school again”. On another encounter she claims he asked her when she would be 16 and whether she had ever had oral sex.

She first met Roache when she was taking part in a talent contest with a school friend. After the pair failed their audition, they decided to “explore” the studio complex, she said.  She met Roache, now 81, who invited her and her friend to his dressing room.  Then he took her into the corridor and “pulled” her into the men’s toilets. There, he put her hand on his penis and moved it up and down. At the time she did not understand  what was going on. “It was outside my experience. But I knew it was wrong. This might sound strange, but my main worry was that I was in the gents’ toilets. I was in the wrong place.”

Afterwards, she said she didn’t tell her friend what had happened and handed over her address to Roache when he asked for it. “I was on autopilot. I was bewildered,” she told the jury. “I was ashamed at what had happened.”

Several weeks later she received a signed photograph of Roache, along with a short letter, which was read to the jury. Signed “Bill xx”, it thanked her for her “marvellous letter” and asked her to write back “when you start school again.”  She didn’t understand because she hadn’t written a letter to him; but she later agreed to return to Granada Studios for a tour of the Coronation Street set.

After the tour she went for a drive in Roache’s car, and he turned the subject to oral sex: “He asked me if I had ever had ‘it’ in my mouth,” she told the court, explaining that she took that to be a penis, despite her sexual inexperience. “I said no. I had no concept of oral sex.”

She didn’t tell anyone what had happened despite knowing it was wrong. “I was a naive young girl,” she said. “I thought we were having a relationship, no matter how misguided and naive that might be.”

The woman said she went to the police last year after hearing that another woman had accused Roache of raping her in the 1960s when she was 15.

“I was concerned that the allegation should be taken seriously because I felt that I had information that suggested his inclinations were towards young girls.”

Roache denies all the allegations against him. The case continues.

So, another sex-case involving celebrities and under-age girls.  I wonder how many more child molesters have been getting away with this kind of crap.  And to think William Roache was one accused of being “boring”!  The more I read and hear, the more sickening it seems.  Fucking nonces.

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Net neutrality is dead – But together we can bring it back to life!

January 15, 2014

So net neutrality is dead –  the US court of appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in favour of broadband giant Verizon, following a long-running challenge to the Federal Communications Commission’s rule-making powers.  So a serious battle has been lost; but the war isn’t quite over yet.

According to Wikipedia.org:

Net neutrality (also network neutrality or Internet neutrality) is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication.[1][2][3][4]

There has been extensive debate about whether net neutrality should be required by law. Since the early 2000s, advocates of net neutrality and associated rules have raised concerns about the ability of broadband providers to use their last mile infrastructure to block Internet applications and content (e.g. websites, services, and protocols), and even block out competitors. (The term “net neutrality” didn’t come into popular use until several years later, however.) The possibility of regulations designed to mandate the neutrality of the Internet has been subject to fierce debate, especially in the United States.

Neutrality proponents claim that telecom companies seek to impose a tiered service model in order to control the pipeline and thereby remove competition, create artificial scarcity, and oblige subscribers to buy their otherwise uncompetitive services. Many believe net neutrality to be primarily important as a preservation of current freedoms.[5]Vinton Cerf, considered a “father of the Internet” and co-inventor of the Internet Protocol, as well as Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the Web, and many others have spoken out in favor of net neutrality.

Net neutrality (also network neutrality or Internet neutrality) is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication.[1][2][3][4]

There has been extensive debate about whether net neutrality should be required by law. Since the early 2000s, advocates of net neutrality and associated rules have raised concerns about the ability of broadband providers to use their last mile infrastructure to block Internet applications and content (e.g. websites, services, and protocols), and even block out competitors. (The term “net neutrality” didn’t come into popular use until several years later, however.) The possibility of regulations designed to mandate the neutrality of the Internet has been subject to fierce debate, especially in the United States.

Some opponents of net neutrality claim that  “broadband service providers have no plans to block content or degrade network performance”.  But this is a barefaced lie.   Bob Kahn, co-inventor of the Internet Protocol, has called the term net neutrality a “slogan” and states that he opposes establishing it.  The Wikipedia article goes on to say:

Opponents of net neutrality claim that broadband service providers have no plans to block content or degrade network performance.[8] Despite this claim, there has been a single case where an Internet service provider, Comcast, intentionally slowed peer-to-peer (P2P) communications.[9] Still other companies have begun to use deep packet inspection to discriminate against P2P, FTP, and online games, instituting a cell-phone style billing system of overages, free-to-telecom “value added” services, and bundling.

So, in short: instead of treating internet communication equally, the abandonment of net neutrality will lead to the big telecoms companies pushing their content over others, and will make it well-nigh impossible to access information that the big internet services providers don’t want you to know.  This is a denial of freedom of speech, and will push the ISP’s point of view over all critics.  Once up on the time the internet was a valuable commodity because it told us everything warts and now.  Now, the FCC’s stupidity will make “minority” points of view all but impossible to find.  The telecoms companies will make disagreement all but invisible.

Check out these links here and here.  FFS, we need to do something before an avalanche of ignorance and hatred turns the web into a newspaper run by media moguls who hate freedom of expression.  So please, tell the FCC to clean up their act and restore internet neutrality right now.  So please, do it for us all.  Unless, of course, you want to become another apathetic, couldn’t-care-less kind of person who’s happy to be lied up, brain-washed and treated like a powerless fool.  Don’t let that happen to you: internet neutrality is a tool to silence those who disagree with the authorities no matter what evil they’re spouting.  There’s not much time left for us free-thinkers: don’t let them get away with it!

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“Plebgate” cop admits lying… but aren’t we all missing the point here?

January 10, 2014

So, the police officer who claimed to have witnessed former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell calling cops “plebs” has pleaded guilty to committing misconduct in public office between 19 September and 16 December 2012.  So, Andrew Mitchell has been vindicated.  Or has he?

Mitchell denied calling the police “plebs”, but he admitted swearing at the officers, saying “I thought you were supposed to fucking help us,” or similar.  Now, we might expect to hear such language down town on a Saturday night – but is this the kind of behaviour we should accept from a government minister?

I say no.  If a member of the general public talked to a cop like that, he’d be given a stern warning if not reported or arrested.  And I think a government minister should be held to a higher standard.  Mitchell should have been sacked for swearing at the police.  But so much has been made of the alleged use of the term “pleb”, everyone is forgetting that he used obscene language remonstrating police officers just because they wouldn’t open the main Downing Street gates for him and his bicycle.

So okay, PC Keith Wallis misrepresented himself as a member of the public in a letter to his MP and blatantly lied about witnessing Mitchell using the word “pleb”.  Wallis is now going to be punished – probably sent to prison – for the serious offence of misconduct in public office.  But I say that Mitchell is also guilty of misconduct in public office by swearing at police officers in the street.  Some commentators are now saying that Mitchell should be reinstated to a ministerial position.  But really he should join Wallis in a jail cell.  Government members like to pretend they’re somehow better than the rest of us, lording over us and telling us what’s best for us; so when one of them is found to be a foul-mouthed yob with no respect for common decency he should be punished more than one of us mere mortals would be.

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