Will our jails cope with Thatcher’s passing?
Someone has been jailed for four months for:
wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with offensive comments about the police hours after two officers were murdered. [He] was jailed for eight months after admitting a public order offence by displaying writing with intention to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
As the law stands, the conviction is probably sound, given the deicsion to prosecute. I have little doubt that, in the context of that day’s events, the T-shirt wearer did cause distress to some people, and the fact that he spent time putting the words on the T-shirt does suggest he meant it.
But the decision to prosecute surely provides a worrying precedent. In the next few years, an ex-Prime Minister, reviled and adored in more or less equal measure across the country as a whole, is likely to breathe her last. It will be big news.
The internet is already full of calls to celebrate her passing*. There will no doubt be acts and words used which might be considered as intending to distress others, and there will almost certainly be complaints to the police.
Perhaps, in the interests of keeping down the prison budget, the CPS might advise people how they intend to react.
* Personally, I think such calls are silly.