Student acquitted of disorderly behaviour after calling MP "a coward"

Wednesday 13 November 2013

A student has been acquitted of threatening the Conservative MP for Hove, by calling him a coward. Mr Alex Cline was participating in a demonstration at the University of Sussex against Michael Weatherley MP who was influential in bringing in the legislation criminalising squatting in residential buildings.

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When the MP cancelled the debate, Mr Cline was heard to say: "you are a coward of a man". He was later charged with an offence under section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986. The Judge held that that the words were not unlawful and that the prosecution had failed to prove that Mr Cline had engaged in disorderly behaviour.

Mr Cline was represented by Owen Greenhall, instructed by Lydia Dagostino of Kelly's solicitors who called the judgment a "crucial victory, especially where there appears to be a political agenda to portray people like Alex as squatter thugs when this is not the case... This is an important case, which highlights the need to protect freedom of expression and the right to protest".

The case was reported in the media including The Independent and The Brighton Argus.

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