Sunday, March 6, 2011

Kenny MacAskill: Wasting Police Time ?

 Yesterday, along with 2 other Hollie suppporters I attended Kenny MacAskill's constituency surgery in Edinburgh. Mr MacAskill is the Justice Minister in the Scottish Parliament and has been informed of the Hollie Greig case on numerous occasions. As he has failed to respond to letters and e-mails I intended to speak to him in person.

 When Mr MacAskill arrived at 1000, I introduced myself and attempted to ask whether there would be a public enquiry into the Hollie Greig case. However, Mr MacAskill simply ignored me. We remained in the vicinity as I intended to try again when Mr MacAskill left the building. we spoke to a number of people about the Hollie Greig case and all were very supportive.

 At 1125 a police officer arrived and said that he had been asked to "check everything was OK". He asked my name, which I provided and then he asked for the names of my companions. Both refused, as they are perfectly entitled to do.

 The officer then stated he thought I might be breaking my bail conditions. I find it quite extraordinary that an officer with Lothian and Borders Police would be aware of the bail conditions imposed in the Grampian Police area for a summary charge of Breach of the Peace.

 When Mr MacAskill exited the building I again attempted to talk to him. The police officer then informed me that "Mr MacAskill does not want to answer any questions". It would therefore appear more than likely that it was Mr MacAskill who asked the police to attend.

 The police officer went on to say that if he could not satisfy himself that a Breach of the Peace did not take place he "might have to get a van to take us away". The definition of a Breach of the Peace is as follows:

The actus reus of breach of the peace, according to Smith v Donnelly, is
conduct which [presents] as genuinely alarming and disturbing, in its context, to any reasonable person” (Smith v Donnelly 2001 SLT 1007 at [17])
Conduct will be ‘alarming and disturbing’ if it is of the sort (such as fighting, or challenging persons to fight, in the street) which would cause a reasonable person to fear that the peace of the immediate neighbourhood would be broken (in the sense that it would be likely that a serious disturbance of that peace would ensue) if that conduct were allowed to continue or be repeated

 I cannot accept that any "reasonable person" could have been alarmed or disturbed by anything that happened.

 Shortly afterwards 2 other police officers arrived . They were very friendly and explained that they had been called away from investigating a serious assault in order to attend this "incident". After the first officer spent some time talking on his radio we were allowed to leave.

 Mr MacAskill is attempting to save money by reducing the number of police forces in Scotland. But was he himself wasting police time (and indirectly taxpayers money) by calling the police to a matter which ought to have been of no concern to them ?

 I am currently considering what further action to take in respect of this matter.


 Attached is a video of some of yesterday's events.

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