Claire Perry MP received an email requesting comment about this four weeks ago. To reply would not have taken long. There being no reply thus far, it’s presumably unlikely by now that there ever will be. Which is a shame. The issue is important and the question genuinely interesting. Was she lying or did she change her mind? As far as I can see there are only these two possibilities. I’d rather publish Claire Perry’s own explanation than leave us wondering.
Richard Carvath reports the comments of Avon and Somerset Police whistle-blower ‘Hot Fuzz’ on the police campaign to get rid of Taunton’s Christian street preacher Mike Overd.
“NO to democracy, YES to Islam.”
That was the slogan I encountered on a recent trip to London. At the entrance to a London Underground tube station, a group of Muslims with leaflets, banners and a megaphone were advocating that Britain become an Islamic state, governed according to Sharia law.
A group of four rather worried-looking Metropolitan Police officers stood nearby. At no point did the Met officers attempt to stop the Muslims from loudly proclaiming their message or from offering their leaflets to the public. The Muslims weren’t breaking any laws and so the Met officers had no lawful reason to intervene against the Muslims. The Muslims’ message was undoubtedly offensive to many of the people hearing and seeing it but they were not committing any crime.
I found this incident particularly striking at the time, as this year I’ve already covered two miscarriage-of-justice cases (on this blog) in which Christians were wrongfully convicted of public order ‘hate crimes’ simply for airing their beliefs in public.
Messianic Jew (i.e. Christian) Linda Jones was wrongfully convicted of a crime against two Muslims in Watford (Jones is appealing against her conviction), and Christian Mike Overd was wrongfully convicted of a crime against a homosexual man in Taunton (retrial Friday 31 July).
I thought to myself how remarkable it is that in Britain today, the police uphold the freedom – protected by British law – of Muslims to say what they want in public, but do not extend the same courtesy to British Christians speaking out in public – such that Christians face a real risk of being silenced by the police, one way or another.
The Mike Overd story will be back in the media in the next few days as Mr Overd’s retrial is at Taunton Crown Court this coming Friday.
I’m currently processing a police whistleblower story related to the Overd case. Not everybody in the Avon and Somerset Constabulary is happy with colleagues’ illegal persecution of Mike Overd. The whistleblower’s revelations relate to the dirty tricks and smear campaign against Overd, a police officer inciting the public to violence against Overd, police efforts to intimidate Overd and to prejudice the Overd retrial.
16 July 2015
The Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s Head of Communications Amanda Hirst said:
“We have established that these comments were made several years ago and were not made whilst Steve Weatherill was working for Avon and Somerset Police.”
“We do not condone Steve’s comments, and we will always investigate and deal with any discriminatory views of this nature expressed by any member of our staff.”
“Mr Weatherill’s temporary contract with us has now ended and he no longer works for the Force.”
The comments referred to above are contained in this blog post.
Taunton’s controversial Christian street preacher Michael Overd returns to court on Friday 31st July.
Mr Overd is appealing against his conviction for a public order offence – a so-called ‘hate crime’ – against homosexual Darren Chalmers.
The retrial will take place at Taunton Crown Court.
Rebecca Pow MP (Conservative, Taunton Deane) was approached for comment on Mike Overd; she was asked two questions:
(1) Do you view Mr Overd as an ‘extremist’?
(2) In the event that legislation to introduce EDOs is enacted, would you support or oppose Taunton police officers’ use of an EDO to suppress and silence Mr Overd and his public Christian evangelism?
Rebecca Pow said, “While I do not wish to comment on individual cases, I can assure you that I fully believe we must consistently challenge the twisted narrative of extremism that has seduced some of our vulnerable young people.”
“In 2011, the Government fundamentally revised the Prevent strategy to ensure it challenges terrorist ideology and has also trained more than 130,000 people working on the front line of our public sector to help identify and prevent extremism.”
“The Government will introduce Extremism Disruption Orders (EDOs), which will seek to restrict the harmful activities of extremist individuals who spread hate but do not break laws. Adhering to British values is not an option or a choice; it is a duty for all those who live in these islands. We should do everything possible, consistent with our values as a country, to keep us safe and to protect our way of life for our children and grandchildren.”
Mike Overd is a client of the Christian Legal Centre; Mr Overd’s legal team has been approached for comment in response to Rebecca Pow MP.
In a separate but related development in the Mike Overd story, concerns have been raised over ‘equality and diversity’ attitudes amongst Avon and Somerset Constabulary staff.
Stephen Weatherill is Corporate Communications Officer with the Avon and Somerset Constabulary.
Mr Weatherill was present at Taunton Magistrates’ Court during the trial of Mike Overd (March 2015) – including when Sergeant Neil Kimmins gave his testimony for the prosecution.
Mr Weatherill’s publicly-accessible Facebook account contains statements from Mr Weatherill including “c**ts”, “…northerners are as stupid as they look”, “miserable Scottish bastards” and “…thieving s**t-stinking gipsies…”
Mr Weatherill is a public relations professional with the responsibility of representing Avon and Somerset Police to the press and the public.
As Jewish lady Linda Jones (see previous blog posts) awaits a retrial, today, on the tenth anniversary of the 7/7 terrorist atrocities by Muslims in London, her Muslim accuser and ‘victim’ Haroon Munir took to Twitter to compare the State of Israel with the Islamic State.