Tuesday, October 15, 2013

More on the acquittal of Rutland blogger Martin Brookes

Yesterday I reported the welcome news that the Rutland blogger Martin Brookes had been cleared of all the charges against him.

There is now a longer report on the verdict on the Rutland Times website, and it is worth reading for the robust good sense of Judge John Temperley:
“Freedom of expression is an essential function of a democratic society. It is applicable also to those who offend and shock.”
“The defendant is right to confront if he thought she was not doing her job well. He questioned her relationship with the local police and press. 
“But as all the evidence indicated everything (Mr Brookes says) is already in the public domain. Some of it has been reported in Private Eye and by the BBC. 
“Some of the comment is harsh, shocking or personally offensive, but that does not mean it is criminal. “I do not consider it as a personal vendetta. She is one of many people against whom the defendant vents his spleen. 
“I’m left in no doubt that the defendant’s conduct caused Mrs Briggs distress. But freedom of expression does not constitute harassment.”
Note too that Oakham town councillor Charles Howarth, whom Martin Brookes was accused of harassing, does not come out of the judgement so well.

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