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News and Comment August 2012

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22 August (Part 4) - Olly Cromwell makes the front page of the News Shopper

News ShopperThe Shopper seems to be fully recovered from the loss of its veteran reporter Linda Piper and the new young team are right on top of its brief tackling difficult subjects fearlessly and with a degree of panache. Just as well now that its former weekly rival the Bexley Times has degenerated into a cross between The Beano and an Argos catalogue.

The whole of today’s front page is devoted to the Olly Cromwell case with a small panel devoted to Bexley council’s response. Arguably the case had nothing to do with Bexley council. Nowhere did the council show its hand in any of the Court papers. However it would be naive to think that councillor Melvin Seymour didn’t seek the approval of the Controller before spinning a bit of a yarn to the police. Maybe Teresa O’Neill gave him a tip or two on how to lie to the police and get away with it.

I find it entirely typical of Bexley council that they are “disappointed the appeal was upheld”. Would they prefer a miscarriage of justice because a District Judge was given a copy of Melvin Seymour’s lying statement? Seymour said that Olly was “urging people to put dog faeces through my letter box” and somehow no one stood up in the Magistrates’ Court to challenge that entirely dishonest statement. Of course they would prefer a miscarriage of justice, Bexley is a thoroughly dishonest council happy to harbour and protect criminals.

“We are pleased he decided to leave the restraining order in place.” The Judge didn’t. Bexley council’s spokesman is lying again. The Appeal Court Judge removed all of the restraining order apart from the bit forbidding Olly to approach his neighbour, Melvin Seymour. The Judge was very specific about the need to protect the right to freedom of speech, holding councils to account and attending their meetings etc.

Similarly the Tweet was not judged offensive. The Judge only said that the ‘C’ word was offensive to some people. It’s a small lie but it is a lie nevertheless.

Councillors’ homes may not be “legitimate” targets for abuse, no one’s home is, but like it or not, councillor’s addresses are publicly available and potentially they might be a target for some people. The Appeal Judge made a point of saying that Olly had not gone beyond that statement of the obvious. It was councillor Seymour who told the Court that Olly was “urging” people to take action. The Appeal Judge did not agree with him and said “feel free” was entirely different to “urging”. Bexley council thinks the Judge is wrong. But Bexley council has always considered itself to be above the law so why expect anything else?

Click image for News Shopper’s on line report.


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