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19th Oct 2012 5:29pm | By Carol Driver
Harsh sentence for peaceful protest while attacker goes free
On Friday, Aussie Trenton Oldfield was jailed for six months for causing a public nuisance by disrupting this year’s Cambridge v Oxford Boat Race.
A few weeks ago, Barry Threw got a four-month sentence for wearing an offensive T-shirt.
“One less pig; perfect justice,” it screamed. “Killacopforfun.com haha.” The same week, Matthew Woods was thrown in the slammer for three months for writing grossly offensive comments about an abducted child on his own Facebook page.
In contrast to these three cases, Angus Whittall’s attacker wasn’t even prosecuted.
The 15-year-old suffered multiple facial injuries after a 17-year-old ambushed him on a country lane in Northamptonshire, smashing him in the head with his own crutches.
Despite the assailant being charged, he was let off – the police gave him a slap on the wrist instead.
In comparison, Oldfield, protesting about capitalism, jumped into the Thames and swam out to the crew – the first time the posh boys’ rowing race had been interrupted by a swimmer in its 158-year history (and possibly its most exciting moment).
When passing sentence on Oldfield, the judge said he had spoiled the right of others to enjoy the race; he had acted dangerously; and he had no regard for the sacrifices the rowers had made, or for their rigorous training. Boo hoo! Since when was that a crime?
Protest and sporting events go hand in hand. What about streakers at football matches? What about Erica Roe? What about Emily Davison?
These are all over-the-top, kneejerk punishments – custodial sentences for those who have used their right to freedom of expression or freedom of speech.
As a member of the public, you might not agree or like those statements, but should that result in jail time? I think not.
Rather than to deliver justice, it seems punishment for a crime is worked out on how much of a storm it provokes on Twitter or from the Daily Mail readers. And if that’s the case, the law isn’t just an ass, it’s a complete asshole.
Agree or disagree? Does Oldfield deserve a jail term? email@example.com
Should I feel patronised or laugh at companies that are so misguided they seem to think that, as the fairer sex, we need special equipment?
Fujitsu has launched its Floral Kiss PCs, boasting colours ‘elegant white’, ‘feminine pink’ (not that butch kind of pink) and ‘luxury brown’ that come with daily horoscopes alerts.
Cadbury is in on the act with the Crispello. At 165 calories (because us women are always on a diet) it comes in a resealable pack so you can nibble on it one chunk at a time (er, note to Cadbury, if my female friends want chocolate, they do not eat it one chunk at a time).
Then there’s the Bic “designed to fit comfortably in a woman’s hand”, because those bulky men’s pens are so hard to write with.
Rather than blatant marketing ploys, I’d rather firms delivered worthwhile products, not sell me pricey goods that amount to a fee for having two X-chromosomes.