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Man prosecuted for posting airsoft photos on facebook

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That's... actually pretty bad.  Can you please fix your title: he was prosecuted and put on trial, at a time when the Fiscal is bawwing about having no resources for prosecuting real crimes.  We're not talking about some wee ned either, the chap is 45.

 

The really concerning part is that the Sheriff apparently was going to convict based on the bare images that ScotPlod had scraped from Facebook, until it came out that they'd removed the context that what they showed was a bunch of toys posted in a group where people post, and expect to see, images of a bunch of toys.  That's truly disturbing - many of the pictures on here would seem to be fair game.

 

I'm seeing if I can track their victim down on Facebook to see if there's more to the story, although I imagine he's going to be quite shy of the platform now.

 

Sheer speculation, but I have to wonder if the copper was more than professionally involved.  I can't fathom any other reason for joining a Facebook group full of people posing with toys, and then choosing one particular chap to pass to the Fiscal for prosecution for "menacing images".  I mean, why him?  Why those pictures?  There's got to be something more to this.

 

Wait, was it this bloke and this video?

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No, not for airsoft guns, and not for the offence with which he was charged:

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/21/section/127?view=extent

 

I'm assuming that the prosecution's case was that posing with airsoft gear, possibly pointed at camera as per that video above, was of a "menacing character".

 

In England, the case law on this would be informed by by the Robin Hood airport "blowing the airport sky high!!" Twitter joke conviction, which was dismissed by three senior judges in the High Court who took into account the likely recipients of the communication.  The prosecution never produced a single person who said that they'd felt menaced by it.

 

Likewise, if you're posting airsoft pictures or video to an airsoft Facebook group, who on earth is going to be "menaced" by them?  I have no doubt that even if the chap had been convicted that he would have been cleared on appeal once it reached Grown Up Court, but it should never have got before a Sheriff in the first place.

 

The worrying thing is that because it was fumbled on procedural grounds, the shiny backsides at ScotPlod and the nippy sweeties at the Fiscal might have another bite at it, with a different victim.

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I'd certainly be interested to know more about this case. It is worrying that the judicial system managed to get to this point without some form of common sense check. 

 

There certainly is is a need to ensure that images and content which falls foul of the law is taken down and prosecuted but as is evident in this case, there has to be some level of basic checking done before a prosecutor decides this has a good chance of succeeding before a judge/sheriff etc. 

 

I am am also worried that this prosecution failed on a technicality and not the obvious evidence that the accused was active in a sport and was posting to a closed group of similarly minded individuals. 

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ive posted pics of myself and brother on twitter many times, hash-tagging what it is and where we play 
usually pics of us next to each other with or with out AEGS, pointing towards ground, and adding the companies where stuff is from, like Mil1st, UkT, Tactical kit etc....

 

but then who hasnt.....

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2 hours ago, EDcase said:

I wonder if he would have a case to sue for false arrest or something...

Being innocent is insufficient grounds of wrongful arrest 

Its a matter of whether it was reasonable to arrest in the first place, and if they were detained for no longer than necessary 

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15 hours ago, Rogerborg said:

I'd expect this zealotry from them, but I'm disappointed that anyone in ScotPlod had nothing better to do.  There's a strong smell of Operation McTargets about this.

Having experience with the Scottish police the term heavy handed comes to mind.

 

I once went to a music festival in Scotland & when I arrived all I can say is the scene will never be leave me. There was people having their cars literally ripped apart in random spot checks and camper vans with its entire contents (clothes, camping gear and food) emptied in a  large pile on the muddy floor with sniffer dogs walking over it, children crying their eyes out because they were so roughly treat by the officers attending.

I know some people take drugs at these events but they were targeting young families with kids. The whole event was heavily policed to the point where everyone felt like they were doing something wrong. I've never been to an event so lacking in atmosphere in my life, they made the festival the worst I've ever been to. As the weekend went on I opened conversation with an officer just to be friendly as I was being patted down for the 5th time that day (It was about 1pm on the Saturday afternoon) and he just stared straight through me and looked at one of the other officers and laughed like I wasn't even there.

It got so bad, the group of 20 of us that made the journey up from Yorkshire made the decision to leave early and give it up as a bad job. They ruined what could have been a great party.

 

I love Scotland its a great country & I have some good mates who live there but I'd never go back for any kind of event. the Police are very unfriendly and in my experience nasty pieces of work. So I'm not really surprised by reading this. 

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That'll have been target driven policing: pressure to announce X number of drug busts in order to justify the budget spent.

 

I strongly suspect this is Operation Something-Or-Other too, given Scotchland's position on air guns.  The distinction between airsoft and air guns isn't going to much bother a copper who's been told to go and find X examples of Scotchmen posing with shooters.

 

That said, in my younger days I was both illegally searched by ScotPlod and giving a casual slapping in the back of a van, so I'm not going to leap to their defence.  Recently, a colleague collared a ned who was setting fire to his garage, dragged him inside, called ScotPlod, and they turned up, arrested him, and offered him a caution for unlawful detention.  He (correctly) told them to do one, the Fiscal harpies took it to court, and fortunately the Sheriff sent them away with a bee in their ear. He's currently going down the route of suing ScotPlod for unlawful arrest (Tommika nailed that it's down to whether it was necessary at the time, not based on the final result of the case).

 

Sad, but not shocking - it's far easier for the Criminals' Justice System to target the generally law abiding, and it wouldn't surprise me to hear that the chap in this case was offered a caution too, just to hit their sanctioned-detection targets, and turned it down.

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https://www.facebook.com/Russel-Aitken-Denny-1251386371545749/

 

 

Scroll down the page to the article about an airsofters that had several armed response units, a police helicopter, was detained for 13 hours, had his house raided and over 30 items taken all because he had a couple of airsoft related pics on Facebook.

 

Please bear in mind that the comments underneath these two pics clearly stated they were airsoft, a 2 mom search of his fb page would have shown countless airsoft posts and the pics were no different to the thousands of airsoft pics that are posted on fb in the U.K. everyday.

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Not everyone does Facebook.  So what is the airsoft relevance with this link, and why worrying?

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It’s the solicitors in the case in the thread linked below

 

 

Airsofter taken to court in Scotland  for photos he posted on Facebook, case was dismissed but on a technicality on the chain of evidence and it was stated that without the technicality caused by comments having been deleted by the police that he would have been found guilty

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41 minutes ago, Tommikka said:

It’s the solicitors in the case in the thread linked below

 

 

 

Ok, I am going to merge this topic with the earlier one.

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Direct link: 

 

 

It contains some interesting comments by the defence lawyers revealing the " terrible error on the part of the police" in stripping the context from the pictures without disclosing this to the defence.

 

Tellingly: "Mentioning no names, a number of PF deputes I spoke to thought the prosecution ridiculous; however, I understand their views were over-ruled on high."

 

 

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Seems for the future i'll be ensuring any photos of me with my airsoft guns will have a post-it note on them with 'airsoft' clearly written on it then.

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What is very worrying is that several PF’s stated quite clearly that they wouldn’t even consider pursuing this at all.

 

It certainly appeared that the “push” to continue to prosecute and move to trial seemed to be coming “from the top”.

 

The guy was filmed handcuffed and surrounded by armed response officers with their faces covered for all to see at the height of rush hour at the busiest roundabout in the area.

 

This afforded all and sundry to film the gentleman, his face, the fact he was cuffed and physically held by one of the armed officers and his car and registration mark to be posted, reposted and shared all over social media.

 

The local paper even ran the story for three days to add to this gentleman’s shame and distress.

 

When in court there were two Police officers called to the dock, who seemed to be utterly unaware of the wording beneath these pictures as this had obviously been kept from them. The poor guys were made to feel very embarrassed and silly when the truth came out.

 

The amount of stress, worry and anxiety this has caused to the gentleman concerned and his girlfriend has been extremely distressing.

 

To add, there is nothing at all at the back of this, no history or precon with firearms, no incline that this guy was about to cause harm to anyone at all, nothing.

 

Now what is somewhat more than a little interesting is that intially it was stated that a member of the public had contacted the Police claiming these pictures had caused “fear and alarm”. It subsequently turned out that no member of the public had contacted the Police with any such concern.

 

This would appear to have been on the order/demand/reccomendation of a DCI, nothing more, nothing less.......

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On 18/10/2017 at 6:44 PM, Tommikka said:

Being innocent is insufficient grounds of wrongful arrest 

Its a matter of whether it was reasonable to arrest in the first place, and if they were detained for no longer than necessary 

This is entirely true.

 

To Sue or submit a summary cause in a case like this requires that the Police be shown to have been incompetent to a certain degree. Not an easy thing to drag through a court of law.

 

However what is really required to achieve the desired outcome of one is to pursue such a course of action is to demonstrate that the Police acted in “Bad Faith”.

 

Personally I believe that the individual concerned here could demonstrate that with relative ease.

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3 minutes ago, Rogerborg said:

Can you share where you're getting this background information from?

 

3 minutes ago, Rogerborg said:

Can you share where you're getting this background information from?

Unfortunately not, although I can state it really could not be from a more reliable source. ;)

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To add, the individual that was detained and subsequently arrested and then charged with a breach of the peace, was detained for 13 hours and was denied medical care and attention throughout his detention.

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Wait, who was charged with a breach of the peace?  How many people are we talking about?

 

And I'm interested in the matters of public record, i.e. which local paper reported the armed response and helicopter arrest (I see that was confirmed by the chap's defence, good god), and where this was shared on social media.  There seems to be a peculiar paucity of information before the report of the acquittal.

 

I may be searching for information that's just not there, but it's just bizarre that one set of pictures out of thousands drew the wrath of ScotPlod and the Fiscal, and I'd very much like to avoid being their next victim.

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 Christopher Turnbull was initially charged with breach of the peace.

 

The Falkirk Herald ran the story for three days.

 

Despite repeated pleas and valid arguments to drop the case the one PF that was the prosecuting counsel refused to do so.

 

I don’t think I am being “cloak and dagger”. I just do not want to jeopardise any future recourse for Mr Turnbull SHOULD he decide to seek recompense for the extensive stress, anxiety and damaging effect this has had on his personal life, mental health, relationship and attempt to start his own business again.

 

Please bear in mind that the Police were/are fully aware of the state of Mr Turmbulls mental health due to 7 years of historical sexual child abuse.

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For heavens sake guys, is it really not that obvious???

 

The guy in question was me!!!!!

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