"I have long argued that the giving of offence, and even hate speech, should be a moral matter but not a matter for the criminal law. That is as true on the football pitch as on the streets. We should always challenge racism. We should also always challenge attacks on liberties in the guise of faux antiracism." Kenan Malik

Don’t Panic..Don’t Talk…

The Met today released another 44 photos of people they want to ‘talk to’. The pictures are often of poor quality, and many of the ‘targets’ are masked up. The police have little chance of identifying many of these without help.

The information printed above has been distributed around London, but at the same time the Met police propoganda machine and their friends in the right wing press are bombarding people with messages to hand in themselves, their neighbours and even their children.

Some will probably do this in the expectation of justice, but there’s been little that looks like justice so far in the magistrates courts.

One man, who stole bottles of water worth £3.50 from a looted Lidls store, was sentenced to six months in prison as he had contributed “to the atmosphere of chaos and sheer lawlessness”. Another was given four months for merely telling a cop “I’d smash you if you took your uniform off”.

Almost everyone else has been remanded into custody, and very long sentences look likely. Magistrates courts sitting through the night have been described as being a conveyor belt, and even the law society has raised concerns about unfair hearings and rushed justice.

The politicians have said that the riots are ‘not political’, which is odd, because the sentencing clearly is. It is blatantly about creating a ‘deterrent’, not giving just punishment. Young people are simply being made examples of.

Anyone tempted to hand themselves or anyone else into the police should remember this. Conviction will mean a long prison sentence and a record that will last a lifetime and scupper any chance of getting a decent job. It may even mean a family is evicted from their home. Does the person you want to grass up really deserve that?

People facing arrest should give ‘no comment’ interviews, and take time to consider whether to plead guilty or not. No-one should admit to anything, or plead guilty, until they know the extent of evidence against them. Anyone reading this who would like legal support for a friend or family member should get in touch. info@fitwatch.org.uk

The leaflet printed above was not produced or distributed by Fitwatch, but does have a similarity to information we published after the student demo back last December. When we published it then, the police shut down our website, claiming we were ‘perverting the course of justice’.

This leaflet has already been reprinted on various websites and even quoted in the Evening Standard, so we have no fear of publishing it again here. Unless the Evening Standard too is perverting the course of justice.


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