Grenfell Bonfire

12th November 2018 Business Crime

Bonfire Night.. a night to celebrate a foiled gunpowder plot in 1605. Most bonfires usually have burning effigies of Guy Fawkes, the man behind the plot. This year though, a group of men from London had a Grenfell Tower effigy. Unsurprisingly this offensive effigy caused a huge uproar on social media and the Prime Minister even tweeted ‘To disrespect those who lost their lives at Grenfell Tower, as well as their families and loved ones, is utterly unacceptable.„

What potential Crime has been committed?

The men were arrested on suspicion of a public order offence under the Public Order Act 1986. Public order offences range from violent disorder to harassment alarm or distress. However, the bonfire was in the back garden at one of their homes (private dwelling), and therefore they may be cleared if they can demonstrate that they did not believe anyone else would see the act.

There has been suggestions of prosecuting the men of a hate crime under Section 28 32 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and Sections 145 and 146 of the Criminal Justice Act. . However a Hate Crime must be where the perpetrator is motivated by hostility towards the victim’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity.

The police may consider charging the men under the Communications Act 2003 as it is an offence to send ‘grossly offensive or indecent, obscene or menacing messages via a communications network’.

We shall wait and see the outcome of the investigation and any charges the Police may seek to pursue.

If you have any questions or queries relating to any matters in this article then please do not hesitate to contact JMW Private Criminal Defence Department on 0345 872 6666.

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Peter Grogan is a Partner and Head of Department located in Manchester in our Business Crime, Regulation & Driving Offences department

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