OK, look everybody. I know it is appealing to think that John Graham Kerlen – “Olly Cromwell” has been convicted for using the word “cunt”, and that now the word “cunt” is illegal on Twitter, but that really is NOT the point.
The fact is that Kerlen was found guilty under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 for a communication which included a photograph of a public figure’s house, and was followed by the words, “feel free to post actual shit”
In fact, I’d suggest that if Kerlen had substituted the word “cunt” with the word “councillor”, he would still have been convicted.
“Which councillor lives in a house like this. Answers on a postcard to #bexleycouncil”
But here’s the thing…
Do we really think that Kerlen represented a threat? If he had been genuinely harrassing the council, shouldn’t he have been tried subject to the harrassment law under which he was originally arrested? If he had been genuinely encouraging his followers to post faeces through the letterbox of this councillor, shouldn’t he have been tried for inciting criminal damage? Another charge for which he was originally arrested.
Is there the tiniest possibility that the CPS realised that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to secure a conviction on either of these charges, and instead opted for a charge under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 as an easy way to secure a conviction?
If this is the case, then we should be very worried. This means that section 127 is now recognised as an easy way to secure a conviction when you know that an alternative charge would never pass an evidential test.