Meet Barry Thew. Or not – unless you happen to have shared a cell with him last night. Barry it seems doesn’t like cops – not a surprise really for someone who a string of convictions for offences going back to his pre-teen years. Whilst Barry is hardly alone in this feeling though, he was the only one wandering around a town centre not far from Manchester wearing a white t-shirt with the hand-written slogan ‘One less pig. Perfect justice‘ on the front mere hours after two police officers had been murdered.
I think we can all agree that that was not Barry’s finest hour.
For this rather tasteless piece of fashion he was charged under the s4A of the Public Order Act (1986). He pled guilty and has now been gaoled for 4 months for this ‘crime’.
At the risk of repeating myself so quickly, I have to ask why. That the slogan is deeply unpleasant and was no doubt considered upsetting and offensive by the officers of Manchester police is a given but none of that should land you in court, let alone gaol.
If Barry – or anyone else – wants to walk around with that on their t-shirt then so be it. It lets the rest of us know who to avoid.
Not everyone agrees of course, as evidenced by this quote from Inspector Bryn Williams of the Radcliffe Neighbourhood Policing Team:
To mock or joke about the tragic events of that morning is morally reprehensible and Thew has rightly been convicted and sentenced for his actions.
Newsflash Bryn… people have made tasteless jokes about things since time immemorial – and will continue to do so. Some of the worst offenders when it comes to mortuary humour are those in the armed forces and the emergency services. It is a coping mechanism. Are you going to report yourself and your fellow officers next time a ‘morally reprehensible’ joke goes around the nick?
Being morally reprehensible is not a crime and locking Barry Thew up for a distasteful remark is not going to bring back those murdered officers.