A presenter at a conference makes a spitting motion as he mentions the name of a rival organisation. Not just with a little effort, but a hugely exagerated one, head thrown back and arms splayed - like a bloated sea lion on an Antartic beach - a full forward head movement. Utterly disgusting, disgraceful, and so, so, unprofessional. And his speech was all about 'professionalism'!!! Some of us were genuinely shocked and offended as we are also members of that other organisation..Could the offended be guilty of an offence, a public order one, please????
System of Law: England-and-Wales
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I'm really sorry but that isn't going to amount to a public order offence.
Even a S5 is not really made out.
Its just a generally offensive and unprofessional act.
It isn't sufficient to cause the reasonable person to feel distress, alarm or harassment if you actually consider the dictionary definition of those words.
Some people therein may have been offended. But that is not what the law requires.
Possibly conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace??
I suppose it would amount to insulting behaviour within the meaning of S5 but it doesn't get over the next hurdle.
Its not a breach of the peace.
It didn't breach the peace.
It just caused offence. He is allowed to do that.
Breach of the peace is actually a much higher test than S5.
It requires 'harm' to be done or likely to be done and that doesn't mean causing offence I'm afraid.
what if the conduct caused someone in the audience to over react and start a scuffle or something?
It wouldn't be a reasonable reaction so it would be down to them and not him.
That is really an issue of incitement and that is not made out here for certain.
That is an offence with an extremely high test.
Breach of the peace is contrary to common law
A breach of the peace occurs wherever and whenever harm is actually done, or is likely to be done to a person, whether by the conduct of the person against who the breach of the peace is alleged, or by someone whom it provokes, OR harm is actually done, or is likely to be done, to a person’s property, in their presence, provided that the natural consequences of such harm is likely to be a violent retaliation, OR a person is genuinely in fear of harm to themselves or their property in their presence, as a result of an assault, affray, riot, unlawful assembly or other disturbance
It requires that the harm down is likely to give rise to a natural consequence
So, to sum it up, it just shows the individual concerned is just a thoroughly unpleasant character and only an apology extracted from him is likely outcome?
This is just a simple complaint that you have with his speech.
Obviously whether he is willing to apologise is a matter for him.
But he wouldn't offend against the criminal law if this is the extent of it.
Thank you for your time and input.. Bye
Bar Exams, over 5 years in practice.
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