FOOTBALL FANS ON A FOOTBALL BANNING ORDER MAY HAVE BEEN UNLAWFULLY PREVENTED FROM TRAVELLING DURING THE NATIONS LEAGUE IN JUNE 2019
Lawyers have identified that the United Kingdom Football Policing Unit may have required football fans on a football banning order to surrender their passports prior to the 2019 Nations League tournament in Portugal, without a law being in place to require them to do so. If this is the case, the travel restriction on banned football fans is likely to have been unlawful, and the fans may be entitled to compensation.
If the United Kingdom Football Unit did not have the power to issue the travel restriction, it is questionable how the police had the authority to seize and retain passports. Any action by the police at a port or airport, stopping football fans and preventing them from travelling is also likely to have been unlawful.
Quite simply, the law requires the Secretary of State to stipulate the Control Period during which the football fans have to surrender their passport. The United Kingdom Football Policing Unit required fans to surrender their passport to the police between 29thMay 2019 and 1stJune 2019. It appears that no control period was put in place by the Secretary of State for the Nations League tournament. If the United Kingdom Football Policing Unit did act unlawfully, then at best those who surrendered their passport on 1stJune 2019 had their human rights interfered with for 9 days, those who surrender their passport on 29thMay 2019 had their rights interfered with for nearly 2 weeks.
If it is correct that there was no authority in place to restrict banned football fans’ movements, this could affect nearly two thousand football fans!
The claim against the United Kingdom Football Unit, which is part of the Home Office, is being brought on behalf of some football fans by Sarah Magson of Watson Woodhouse. Anyone who wishes to find out more about the claim, or thinks they too may have been affected can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sarah Magson at email@example.com 01642 266 559
My clients are not Animals in the Zoo and shouldn’t be treated as such by others who are looking for clickbait or self promotion.
I’m a criminal lawyer, I seem to have a talent for attracting the most high profile, contentious or publicly hated clients. All my clients are important to me, whether they are a homeless person with mental health issues prosecuted for urinating on a war memorial, a young lad arrested at a football match, or someone facing the death penalty for serial murders, I don’t distinguish the level of support I give them on the basis of their notoriety or public outpouring of opinion on their alleged offences or their convictions.
I regularly receive emails, telephone calls and letters from media and TV companies, celebrity agents, politicians and others requesting access to my clients and asking me to provide comment on their cases. My answer is always the same, my clients are not animals in the zoo providing enjoyment to the interested bystander. My clients are people, and first and foremost my role is to protect their rights and interests. My personal view is that it’s not always helpful for a client facing execution to have a TV camera thrust in his face while being asked ‘are you scared about your execution?’ .
Over the past few days I’ve had numerous emails and calls from people telling me they want to visit my client in prison and can I arrange it. That’s not how it works. Firstly, I always ask my client if they want to be visited, it’s their decision, not the decision of the person who wants to visit. Secondly, a prisoner then has to make a request for that person to be permitted to visit. Thirdly, the prison has to approve that visit. In my experience, once those who are so intent on visiting my clients are told that it’s agreed, but only if it’s not reported, they decide that their schedule is too busy for a prison visit.
Which brings me to the current situation where every person and their dog seems to be wanting to provide an opinion on my clients. It always amazes me that those who have no interest in the welfare or issues surrounding my clients are the first to go on TV or radio and talk about the case, to write blogs, or social media posts, all with the same aim, to increase their own profile and/or increase click bait. Hence, Back to my comment, that my clients are not animals in the zoo to be watched from a distance, photographed or (virtually) poked, while keeping a safe distance because those who are doing the watching, photographing, commenting, poking had no interest in having anything to do with my clients until the client became high profile.
As far as I’m concerned, respect is the most important thing you can give a person. How a person views you, interacts with you, and develops trust in you, all flows from how you treat a person. Often I read or hear comment on one of my clients, which is not only factually incorrect but which is disrespectful or condescending. It doesn’t place those of us representing the most vulnerable in society (and anyone who is on trial, or is in prison is in a position of vulnerability as they lose control of a lot of their rights) in a good light if it appears we are trying to use our expertise, knowledge or intelligence to belittle or make fun of those who don’t understand the intricacies of the criminal justice system in England and Wales. It is understandable that those who don’t work in the criminal justice system have the wrong impression on how the System works. There probably isn’t a police officer, criminal lawyer, or judge who, when watching a TV drama involving the criminal justice system, hasn’t said ” but that’s not how it actually happens in real life.”
At a time when those of us working in the criminal justice system are trying to highlight the problems of the broken system we are facing on a daily basis, it does no justice to alienate members of the public who would not normally interact with us, and who we now have the benefit of informing about the broken system and indeed who are now a captive audience to explain how the criminal justice system works. There is quite a lot of distrust of those of us who work in the courts, and if a person who is a voter, or future defendant or family member of a future defendant has the impression that those of us defending on a daily basis feel we are better than those we represent, why should they support us when we are crying about the broken system and the reduction in our fees.
So, if you are going to use my clients for your own promotion or clickbait, please show respect when you do so, even if you don’t agree with their views.
I’ve titled this as an update, but it’s not really! In January 2018 I was instructed by the Millwall FC Fan On The Board to write to Virgin East Coast trains to complain about the searching of Millwall FC fans at Kings Cross and Leeds when travelling to and from the Leeds FC v Millwall FC fixture.
I wrote to Virgin East Coast, and so far have not received a response, nor have I received any further communication from the Fan on The Board as to what steps the fans would like me to take.
I’m taking the unusual step of trying to reach out to the fans myself as I believe there may be some fans who wish to continue with the complaint (and I don’t want those fans to feel I have let them down) , and as Virgin East Coast railway will no longer be an operating company after 24th June 2018, it will probably not be possible to bring a claim against Virgin East Coast after this date.
Please can this message be circulated to Millwall FC fans. Any fans who were searched by Virgin train staff, who have evidence that they travelled to/from Leeds on Virgin East Coast on 20th January 2018, and who wish to bring a claim against Virgin East Coast should contact me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07941 212357 by no later than 10th June 2018
I have been instructed to act as Counsel for Mr Filippo Lombardi. He has been remanded in custody awaiting a plea hearing on 24th May 2018. Mr Lombardi’s solicitors have made contact with the prison as they are aware that his family and friends have concerns about his safety while he is being held in prison.
Understandably, this incident has caused a great deal of both national and International attention, and media interest. However, at this early stage of legal proceedings it would be inappropriate and unprofessional for either myself or Mr Lombardi’s solicitors to provide any information, which is not already in the public domain, about the incident itself, or the criminal charges Mr Lombardi is facing.
If, at any stage, we consider that it is appropriate to provide further information about the case it will be released via this blogsite.
From Wolf Whistles to debates at Speakers Corner – Why we must fight against the ‘right not to be offended’
In the year 2000, during an interview for a job I was asked the question “What reasons are there for arguing against the implementation of the Human Rights Act?” I assume this was a question intended to be a curve ball to make candidates think on their feet as at that time the Human Rights Act was the Golden Child of New Labour. My answer was simple.
“It will water down the European Convention on Human Rights, and will place non lawyers in the everyday position of interpreting the basic human rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, which in turn will cause all sorts of weird and wonderful rights to be created while the basic rights will slowly disappear.”
Sadly, nearly 20 years later I am seeing exactly that.
The European Court of Human Rights was set up to interpret and apply the European Convention on Human Rights, it was the last place to bring a challenge to State actions which were alleged to have breached the European Convention on Human Rights. Very few cases made it to this final stage, and the cases which were adjudicated upon were those which had particular significance (in the same vein as the Supreme Court of the USA), and the judges were selected for the expertise and experience of dealing with International and human rights cases. With the implementation of the Human Rights Act 1998, we are now in the position where the local police force, council or magistrates court are making their own determination on all sorts of issues which are banded around as being ‘human rights.
I regularly sit in magistrates courts and hear the Magistrates convict a defendant for something they have said or written, with the Magistrates telling the defendant that their ‘victim’ has the “right not to be offended.” Well No, actually there is no ‘right not to be offended’ nor is there a ‘right not to be upset’ or a ‘right not to have someone voice views which are different to yours’. Likewise, there is a right not to be discriminated against because of your sex or sexual orientation, but there is no right to be given special treatment, such as two work ID cards so that a person can choose every day whether they are identifying as male or female that day. However, all of these seem to have been introduced through Council Officials, police officers and Magistrates Courts. Police arresting a person for postings on social media which have upset another, is now not uncommon, and there is now a suggestion that wolf whistling is a hate crime. But what is not considered in all of this is that the person making the comment or wolf whistling, is exercising their right to freedom of expression. A right which has genuinely existed since the ECHR was introduced in 1950, and which should only be restricted as is necessary in a democratic environment.
The Royal Parks website describes Speakers Corner at Hyde Park as a traditional site for public speeches and debates. In 1872, legislation gave people the right to meet and speak freely in Hyde Park. Yet just this weekend UK Border Force detained 2 people from entering the country on the basis that one of them would debate their right wing views at Speakers Corner, and the other was to be interviewed by someone who the Government has determined is a dangerous right wing hate speech extremist (and whose website the Government can’t manipulate and control).
What was actually meant by UK Border Force was that your views are not what the mainstream Government and liberal police forces want to hear at the moment, and hence we are not going to permit you to exercise your right to freedom of expression. This is a very slippery path for public authorities to be treading. While I do not personally agree with right wing views on most matters, I do believe very strongly in the right to freedom of expression, to hold views which are not populist and which do challenge the Government and Public Authorities. I have worked in countries where people are imprisoned and punished for expressing views which are not the same as the Government, where books are banned and burned. With the loss of the right to freedom of expression comes the loss of lots of other rights – if no one can complain about rights being taken away, what is to prevent other rights being taken away?
It is about time we went back to thinking about the basic human rights, which are there to protect us from State control, not being complicit in creating new rights which have the effect of placing us under more Government and Public Authority control than ever before.
Due to the number of requests I have received for clarification of whether there were direct Twitter messages between Tommy Robinson and the defendant in this case, Mr Osborne, I can update on the actions myself and Mr Stephen Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) carried out yesterday and the outcome so far.
On Monday, it was reported by the press that the Crown Prosecution Service opening statement to the jury included reference to direct contact between Tommy Robinson and Mr Osborne. The Crown Prosecution Service had not made any contact with Mr Lennon to inform him that he was to be used as part of the prosecution case.
Yesterday morning the reporters who were live reporting from court reported that the court had been told that Tommy Robinson had sent direct messages to Mr Osborne and that these were via twitter. Mr Lennon denies that he sent any direct Twitter messages to Mr Osborne, and I made contact with the Crown Prosecution Service and the Attorney General’s Office to express concerns about what has been reported in the press about Mr Lennon’s involvement with Mr Osborne.
Yesterday afternoon, the reporters in court stated that the prosecutor had clarified with the press that there were no direct Twitter messages between Tommy Robinson and Mr Osborne, and at most Mr Osborne received a generic email sent out to all subscribers to a Rebel TV database.
I am now in the process of ascertaining whether the misrepresentation of the situation was made by the prosecution or the press, this will take some time.
In the meantime, I request that any comments made on social media are mindful of the fact that the trial is continuing. Mr Lennon has no intention of interfering with the administration of justice but clearly he is entitled to correct the inaccurate information reported in the press about him.