Silly cult summons makes asses of the police

Silly cult summons makes asses of the police May 23, 2008

CITY of London Police have been made to look exceedingly foolish following their issuing of a court summons to a teenager for displaying a sign that branded Scientology a “dangerous cult”.
Which, of course, is precisely what it is.
And today the boy’s protest was vindicated when the Crown Prosecution Service ruled the words were neither “abusive or insulting” to the church and no further action would be taken against him.

The unnamed 16-year-old was handed a court summons by City of London police for refusing to put down a placard saying “Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult” during a peaceful protest outside the church’s headquarters near St Paul’s Cathedral earlier this month.
Police said they had “strongly advised” him to stop displaying the sign but he refused, citing a high court judgment from 1984 in which the organisation was described as a cult.
The summons was issued under the Public Order Act on the grounds that the sign incited religious hatred.
A file was passed to the CPS, which today told City of London police it would not be pursuing the boy through the courts.
A spokeswoman for the force said:

The CPS review of the case includes advice on what action or behaviour at a demonstration might be considered to be threatening, abusive or insulting. The force’s policing of future demonstrations will reflect this advice.

A CPS spokesman added:

In consultation with the City of London police, we were asked whether the sign, which read ‘Scientology is not a religion it is a dangerous cult’, was abusive or insulting. Our advice is that it is not abusive or insulting and there is no offensiveness, as opposed to criticism, neither in the idea expressed nor in the mode of expression. No action will be taken against the individual.

The teenager’s mother said the decision was “a victory for free speech”.

We’re all incredibly proud of him. We advised him to take the placard down when we realised what was happening but he said ‘No, it’s my opinion and I have a right to express it.

The incident occurred on 10 May outside Scientology’s controversial Square Mile headquarters, at a rally spearheaded by the online activist movement Anonymous.

The boy responded to the police warning by quoting a High Court judgement from 1984 in which Justice Latey repeatedly said in a family division case that Scientology was a “cult” – one that was “immoral”, “socially obnoxious”, “corrupt”, “sinister” and “dangerous
The City of London Scientology building opened in 2006. The financial district’s police force was heavily criticised at the time for their apparent endorsement of the sect. Kevin Hurley, the force’s Chief Superintendent praised its work for bringing “positive good” at the opening of the multimillion-pound site, and it later emerged that officers had accepted hospitality from Scientology, including tickets to film premieres, lunches and concerts at police premises. The organisation also made donations of thousands of pounds to the City of London Children’s Charity.

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  • ZombieHunter

    Good to see that common sense prevailled though to be perfectly honest if there was any common sense left in this country this case would never ave come up in the first place.
    “The summons was issued under the Public Order Act on the grounds that the sign incited religious hatred”
    I could be wrong here but scientology isn’t recognised as a religion in this country so how could he have been prosecuted under religious hatred laws??

  • Valdemar

    Excellent news! I’m so pleased this lad stood up for his convictions, for free speech, and for reason against bigotry and lies. There is hope for us after all – young people today, or some of them, are made of the right stuff.

  • Ed Haz

    @ ZombieHunter
    The relevant section of the Public order act is section 5. Part 1 is quoted below:
    (1) A person is guilty of an offence if he—
    (a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or
    (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,
    within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.
    Obviously it’s part (b) we’re looking at. Basically, it was coppers on the beat at the time who thought this lad could be prosecuted under this law, and in fact, has nothing to do with ‘incitement to religious hatred’.
    Basically, don’t wave abusive signs in front of anyone… not just religious nutjobs/cultists! You could get done!

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