My clients were arrested for what was a peaceful and what many would see as a legitimate non-violent protest concerning the treatment of their country by the Chinese regime. Despite the fact that no one suggests that any violence was contemplated or offered a decision was taken to further arrest for an offence of Conspiracy to contravene s 5 Of the Public Order act 1986. In over forty years of legal practice, I have never previously heard of an arrest for such an offence. Section 5 specifically deals with the minor aspects of public order less serious than those presenting a risk of unlawful violence. Nevertheless, this has resulted in detention for many hours and searches, seizure and examination of personal belongings including inevitably telephones laptops and similar media. Had the allegation been one of terrorism or real violence this might have been understandable but when all they are accused of doing is trying to hold a Tibetan flag in the view of the President of China and saying the words “Shame on China” one could be forgiven for thinking that this smacks of overreaction to a considerable degree. Perhaps it is the time that we should focus some of our concentration on our own civil liberties at the same time as we criticise others for their stance on human rights.
Bill was instructed by: