Last year during the UK elections, David McHarg was arrested twice because of a poster that was displayed at his door which wrote: “Fuck off you Tory cunts”.
On May 2017, police officers conducted their first home visit at David’s. Due to his absence the police demanded that his wife remove the sign but she refused as she claimed it was not her right to decide what to do with her husband’s property. Later that month and then again in June, the police conducted two other home visits. David refused to remove the sign or to give any personal details. They arrested David for ’threatening or abusive behaviour’ under Section 38, The Criminal Justice and Licencing (Scotland) Act 2012 and for ‘failure to give details as a witness’ under the Court Section 13–14, The Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995.
“They took me and arrested me, because I refused to give my details. They took me down to the police station and they didn’t charge me, they didn’t read me my rights, they held me in the police station for nine hours, but carried out an anal cavity search. It is a severe violation of my person”, he said.
David is a member of the Anarchist working class group Class War Scotland. He says that “It was done to humiliate me, because they were obviously aware of my political standing which is anarchist”.
Here’s some footage from the last home visit by police in June.
The trial took place at the 11th of January at Glasgow Sheriff Court.
Class War Scotland issued a call-out for support and to hold a protest outside Glasgow Sheriff court.
We asked David if he would like to give us an interview and he was more than happy to talk openly about the incident.
David McHarg is invoking his Article 10 right to ‘freedom of expression’ under the Human Rights Act 1998. If he is found guilty, he plans to seek the help of Amnesty International and to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights. Article 10 protects your right to hold your own opinions and to express them freely ‘without government interference’.
This includes the right to express your views in public (for example through public protest and demonstrations) or through published articles, books, leaflets, television or radio broadcasting works of art, and the internet and social media.
Another similar case occurred on the 6th of May 2010 during the Parliamentary Elections held at the time. Officers invaded David Hoffman’s home and insisted upon the removal of a poster displayed on his front window showing the face of David Cameron with the word “WANKER” printed underneath. The civil case took place in the Queen’s Bench Division which is part of the High Court. David Hoffman claimed that this treatment amounted to an unlawful interference with his Article 10 right to ‘freedom of expression’ under the Human Rights Act 1998. The Metropolitan police accepted Hoffman’s claim and provided him a letter of apology.
According to NETPOL (The Network for Police Monitoring), “Powers given to the police to deal with anti-social behaviour are increasingly being used to gather information on participants in political protest.” In the same article it is also stated that over the years the police have misconstrued a wide variety of protest activity, including demonstrations, handing out leaflets and sit-down protests, as ‘anti-social behaviour’. This operation is constantly used to obtain the names and addresses of those taking part.
“Failure to provide personal details when questioned under s50 is a criminal offence for which an individual may be arrested and prosecuted. It is hardly surprising that most people choose to provide their names and addresses, rather than face arrest, even if they do not believe they have been acting anti-socially.”
David is one of those who refused to give his details, and is facing the consequences of his political standing.
The trial has been adjourned till June.
Class War Scotland stated on their Facebook page they will be creating a court solidarity event for the June court date.
DEFEND FREE SPEECH
Solidarity with David McHarg!
[In another indication of how ‘offensive’ offending the Tories is considered by the establishment, Facebook did not allow us to ‘boost’ this article and have it reach a wider audience. For this reason, we edited the explicit language out of the title. Despite this Facebook did not approve this post, further proving the point of this article.]