|[Home] [Databases] [World Law] [Multidatabase Search] [Help] [Feedback]|
England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions >> Scottow v Crown Prosecution Service  EWHC 3421 (Admin) (16 December 2020)
Cite as:  WLR 1828,  Crim LR 315,  ACD 29,  EWHC 3421 (Admin),  WLR(D) 684,  1 WLR 1828,  EMLR 13,  1 Cr App R 13
[New search] [Context] [View without highlighting] [Printable PDF version] [View ICLR summary:  WLR(D) 684] [Buy ICLR report:  1 WLR 1828] [Help]
QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
AND THE HON. MR JUSTICE WARBY
| Katherine Elizabeth Scottow
|- and -
|Crown Prosecution Service
John Riley (instructed by Crown Prosecution Service) for the Respondent
Hearing date: 10 December 2020
Crown Copyright ©
Covid-19 Protocol: This judgment was handed down by the judge remotely by circulation to the parties' representatives by email and release to BAILII. The date and time for hand down is deemed to be as shown opposite:
Mr Justice Warby:-
(1) On 9 September 2018, Ms Hayden, using her Twitter handle @flyinglawyer73, posted a tweet which started: 'You know not so long ago people like you had no civil rights! Yet you…' Ms Scottow using her Twitter handle of @bustedwench, tweeted in response as follows ("Tweet 1"):-
"Let's hope they take a serious stance on your racism"
Evidently, she took Ms Hayden's tweet to be addressed to a black person.
(2) On 12 September 2018, Ms Hayden issued a Part 8 claim in the County Court at Leeds under claim no E73LS068, alleging harassment by four defendants, of whom Ms Scottow was one. Ms Hayden made a witness statement, but did not formally serve the claim form or the witness statement on Ms Scottow.
(3) On 24 September 2018, Ms Hayden and Ms Scottow entered into a written settlement agreement by which Ms Hayden agreed not to pursue any legal remedy against Ms Scottow in the Leeds proceedings, or to bring any further legal proceedings against her, provided that she complied with certain undertakings, recorded in paragraph 3 of the document. These were to:
"(a) Delete any tweet on the Twitter account known as "@BustedWench" referring to "@flyinglawyer73", or "Stephanie Hayden" by 4pm on Tuesday 2 October 2018. A notice of discontinuance was filed with the County Court and served on 28 September 2018.
(b) Not tweet, retweet, or quote tweet on the Twitter account known as "@BustedWench" any reference to "@flyinglawyer73", or "Stephanie Hayden".
(c) Not make any publication on any form of social media stating that the Claimant is a racist or has published anything racist on any form of social media."
(4) A notice of discontinuance was filed with the County Court and served on 28 September 2018. Ms Hayden posted the settlement agreement online in some form.
(5) On 1 or 2 October 2018, Ms Scottow tweeted a copy of the notice of discontinuance, tagging in Ms Hayden ("Tweet 2"). To do this, Ms Scottow used a newly created Twitter account with the handle @AliceHampton. By this time, Ms Scottow had blocked Ms Hayden from her @bustedwench account.
(6) On 2 November 2018, Ms Scottow tweeted on the @bustedwench account as follows ("Tweet 3"), by way of a reply to tweets by others:
"'Sadly, I'm not allowed to discuss as per his bullying contract, good will out though, and he will be fucked in a few year's time"
(7) On 6 November 2018, Ms Scottow took, and posted on her @bustedwench account, a screenshot of a post by Ms Hayden, with the message ("Tweet 4"):-
"This person is not a racist, xenophobic larping lawyer/transwoman. This person is a crook using the trans façade to ensure they aren't caught. A pig in a wig"
(8) On 9 November 2018, Ms Scottow used her @bustedwench account to tweet a post by Ms Hayden critical of Mumsnet with the statement ("Tweet 5"):-
"he is a very sick individual I've evidence of that"
(9) On 9 November 2018, Ms Scottow posted a further tweet on her @HampsonAlice account, in which she tagged Ms Hayden. Ms Hayden had tweeted about an intersex advocate, critical of "anonymous freak trolls obsessing and speculating over" her "every move" and suggesting that "Something must have upset them". Ms Scottow's tweet ("Tweet 6") said
"Christ, surprised your memory has held up given you're claiming PiP for it".
(10) On a date unknown on or before 11 November 2018, a message was left on Mumsnet from an account named BurntMarshmallow as follows ("Message 7"):
"'I have many leads on the claimant they're on pip for memory loss'
(11) On 11 November 2018, Ms Hayden made a report to West Yorkshire Police, alleging harassment and malicious communication by Ms Scottow. She made a statement.
(12) On 1 December 2018, at the instigation of the West Yorkshire Police, PC Kitchen of the Hertfordshire Police arrested Ms Scottow on suspicion of harassment and malicious communication. Ms Scottow was interviewed. She admitted the two Twitter accounts were hers, and that she had posted the 6 tweets. She did not accept posting Message 7. She denied committing any offence. At the time of arrest, the officer seized Ms Scottow's Samsung mobile phone and her ASUS laptop. The police, apparently expecting a guilty plea, decided, later on, that downloading data from the phone or computer would be disproportionate and unnecessary.
(13) On 1 December 2018, Ms Hayden posted 5 tweets highlighting the fact of the arrest (though not Ms Scottow's name) describing this as "positive news regarding the #harassment I have received in recent weeks", and as "sending a clear signal that #transphobia and #harassment will not be tolerated".
(14) In early December 2018, Ms Hayden issued proceedings against Ms Scottow in the High Court under action number QB-2018-000294. On 18 December 2018, Ms Hayden appeared before Jason Coppel QC, sitting as a Deputy Judge of the Queen's Bench Division, and obtained an interim injunction, prohibiting Ms Scottow until trial or further order from publishing "any personal information relating to" Ms Hayden "on any social media platform" as well as (more specifically) "mis-gendering" her on any social media platform, publishing anything linking her current female identity to her former male identity, and anything stating or implying that she "is a racist or has published anything racist on any form of social media". Ms Scottow was neither present nor represented at the hearing when this order was made.
(15) Later the same day, Ms Hayden posted 4 tweets contained news of the injunction, giving a summary, and tweeted a photo of the order (but with Ms Scottow's name redacted), asking others to retweet.
(1) At some point before 17:55 on 1 March 2019, Ms Hayden tweeted, in response to an unknown tweet, that
"the fact is the Police and CPS need to choose their battles carefully. Whilst there is lots that we do not like the fact is most of it does not even begin to cross the line into criminal liability."
(2) This drew a response from @Kateco, that "You'd know", to which Ms Hayden replied:
"Indeed I do. That why my application for a civil interim injunction was successful."
(3) At 17.55, Ms Scottow replied as follows ("Tweet 8")
"Was that not because the subject of the injunction was unable to attend? Why do you people keep trying to punish others who disagree with you?"
(4) The conversation continued, involving three other parties. At 18:18. Ms Scottow tweeted as follows ("Tweet 9")
"And hopefully the CPS will view these complaints in future as harassment and vicious. A complete waste of the public's resources. Surely better to focus on more pressing issues."
(5) Ms Hayden tweeted – whether in reply to Tweet 9 or otherwise, is not wholly clear:
"Every case is considered individually on its merits. Just because one case fails it does not mean that any other case fails (or succeeds). And just because you have a political viewpoint does not mean alleged harassment is automatically vexatious."
(6) At 18:52, Ms Scottow tweeted again as follows ("Tweet 10")
"You must be nervous though given your extensive amount of cases for harassment and what not"
(7) Evidently, Ms Hayden was unaware that MandiMcGirlDick was an account used by Ms Scottow. She replied to Tweet 10, saying "I am absolutely fine thank you". She then replied to an unknown tweet (the record does not reveal its content):
"Absolutely. Unlike you I actually do know the law (despite what you may read elsewhere). I think obtaining the first injunction in English legal history restraining misgendering and dead naming speaks for itself really. However. I am sure you know better than a High Court Judge"
(8) At 18:59 Ms Hayden tweeted as follows ("Tweet 11")
"Surely the whole point of an injunction is that it's kept quiet. How would you know it was the first? Have you insider knowledge? Also, why has it not been reported as such? Something is amiss."
(9) Ms Hayden replied to Tweet 10, saying
"Depends what the injunction is for. This one was in harassment so no need to keep it quiet. As for 'reported as such', watch this space as they say. I also have access to legal databases, which you almost certainly do not."
(10) At 19:04, Ms Scottow replied as follows ("Tweet 12"):
"You just said it was for misgendering and deadnaming, and now it's for harassment? It was posted online, doesn't seem that ground-breaking."
(11) Ms Hayden replied to Tweet 12:
"Is that your considered 'expert' legal opinion? The cause of action it was granted in was harassment, the elements of the injunction include restraining misgendering and dead naming."
(12) At 19:11, Ms Scottow replied as follows ("Tweet 13")
"So how can you confirm it's the first of its kind when injunctions are usually kept in legal settings as opposed to being posted online?"
(13) Someone by the name Theresa Davis tweeted:
"Not necessarily in legal terms an injunction is pretty much a run of the mill procedure there are hundreds every day… not really worth reporting about."
(14) At 19:51, Ms Scottow replied to this tweet in the following terms ("Tweet 14"):
"Well exactly my point. Stephanie has publicly stated that the injunction they sought was a first of its kind, I mean that suggests it's worthy of world-wide coverage so why has this not happened despite Stephanie's assurance that media interest has been courted?"
(15) Ms Hayden replied to Tweet 14, saying:
"This one was reported and there may well be another report about it in the very near future focusing on the fact it was almost certainly the first of its kind in England and Wales. Let's just see. Trolls are going to troll Theresa lol!"
(Meaning "laugh out loud").
(16) At 19:54, Ms Scottow tweeted a reply ("Tweet 15") asking:
"Where was it reported? Have you a link? Seems bizarre that it hasn't had more coverage given your insistence that it's the first of its kind."
(17) Someone by the name Jennie Bujold tweeted
"You're inestimably more sensible than I [emoji] What a creep huh?"
(18) At 20:16, Ms Scottow tweeted the following reply, tagging Jenni Bujold and Ms Hayden ("Tweet 16"):
"Oh are you referring to Stephanie Hayden who couldn't produce evidence of their injunction being the 'first of its kind' despite their insistence that it was"
(19) At a time unknown on 1 March 2019, Ms Scottow posted a reply to an unknown tweet from @MRKHvoice as follows ("Tweet 17"):
"'What is Hattie's take on the court case?"
"the use of social media, Twitter, to send or cause to be sent messages of offence from one person to another or so that another person would see them" (emphasis in original).
It was said to be "a reasonably straightforward case" in which the messages relied on "had at their heart the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety" to Ms Hayden. It was submitted that:
"These states, the purpose of the communication(s), are of a relatively lower effect when compared to other states of distress in other offences eg " ... Harassment Alarm or Distress ..."
… Whether the … messages actually had that effect or may have done is irrelevant and the Crown do not have to prove that the messages had the desired effect [but] If the Crown are in a position to prove that the messages did have that effect then … that goes a long way to underpin the purpose."
(emphasis in original).
(in chief) "I received tweet around March 2019, direct tweets, from account, Bishbash. Never heard of it. Tweets 1/3/19 and bottom one tagged me and says ' why do you people …'refering to the injunction. I did not know who it was, so I entertained a conversation for a few tweets. Later that day contacted by someone, so I researched the account and material in the media section which convinced me it was her, her dog featured again as with Bustedwench account. So back to the police
(Cross-examined) 1/3 was next contact. Talking about Miranda Yardley, and MandiMcGirldick response. I was referring to injunction against defendant. She responded, not offensive but in breach of injection. It is persistent, not offensive. She offers a view, I make it clear, I engaged. Not offensive, I just disagreed. It's not just free speech, I thought it was when I realised it was her, I did not take offence, but breach of injunction. Took the view it was stupid.
1/3 not offensive, but breach of injunction. Real objection is not that people disagree with me accept right to views."
"Many people believe cannot change sex, support right to that view. Discuss female only spaces, and sport, I do not object to that. I do not disagree with people taking issues. I do not call them bigots when they post on self identification. What is not acceptable is to contact individuals, publish photos, 'dead naming', using incorrect pronouns etc."
"mis gendering, referring to Ms Hayden as 'he' and references to 'you people' and 'pig in a wig' clearly take any comment away from general debate, personalising the comment and rendering it simply unkind and abusive … your repeated use of male pronouns was deliberate …"
(1) The Judge was "entirely satisfied" that the requirement of persistence was met: . Persistence is "not solely a question of quantity or frequency" but also a question of a determination to continue communications after realising (due to the court proceedings) that "your comments were not welcomed". The fact that Ms Scottow was "prepared to breach" the settlement and the injunction "demonstrates persistence": .
(2) The Judge was also "entirely satisfied" that Ms Scottow's "purpose and intent were one and the same: to cause annoyance and needless anxiety to Ms Hayden": . Whether Ms Scottow tagged or blocked Ms Hayden "does not… have much bearing", because the sender of a communication on the internet has little control over who will see it. Ms Scottow could not "in the circumstances of this case" say she did not realise Ms Hayden "would see what you had written": . She was satisfied that Ms Scottow "knew that she would see … and that that was your intention": .
(1) Should this case have been stayed as an abuse of process on any of the argued grounds in the updated skeleton argument served 5 February 2020?
(2) Should the case have been stayed as an abuse in accordance with [DPP v Ara  1 WLR 815]?
(3) Was the charge duplicitous and therefore should the court have required the prosecution to split the charge and then ruled that anything pre 27.2.19 was out of time (in reality on the evidence pre-9.11.18) or stayed any prosecution of a charge with an end date pre 27.2.19 as an abuse of the court's process.
(4) (a) Did the judge correctly interpret and apply the law in light of the interpretation that would need to be given in light of Article 10 ECHR and s3 Human Rights Act 1998?
(b) Should the case have been stopped on a submission of no case?
(5) Was it proper in law to convict on the facts as alleged (7 tweets only 3 of them directly notified to the complainant September to November 2018 and 9 tweets on 1 March 2019 none of which were said to be objectionable until the complainant learnt (by investigation) that they came from an account operated by the defendant)? i.e. was there evidence on which the Court could come to its decision?
"… sends to another person
(a) A letter, electronic communication or article of any description which conveys (i) a message which is indecent or grossly offensive; (ii) a threat; or (iii) information which is false and known or believed to be false by the sender, ..
if his purpose, or one of his purposes, in sending it is that it should, so far as falling within paragraph (a) … above, cause distress or anxiety to the recipient …"
The offence is punishable by up to 2 years' imprisonment, and a fine, if prosecuted on indictment.
"(ii) The behaviour said to amount to harassment must reach a level of seriousness passing beyond irritations, annoyances, even a measure of upset, that arise occasionally in everybody's day-to-day dealings with other people. The conduct must cross the boundary between that which is unattractive, even unreasonable, and conduct which is oppressive and unacceptable. To cross the border from the regrettable to the objectionable, the gravity of the misconduct must be of an order which would sustain criminal liability under s.2 …
(iii) … It does not follow that any course of conduct which causes alarm or distress therefore amounts to harassment; that would be illogical and produce perverse results ….
(iv) s.1(2) provides that the person whose course of conduct is in question ought to know that it involves harassment of another if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct involved harassment. The test is wholly objective. "The Court's assessment of the harmful tendency of the statements complained of must always be objective, and not swayed by the subjective feelings of the claimant".
(vi) Where the complaint is of harassment by publication, the claim will usually engage Article 10 of the Convention and, as a result, the Court's duties under ss.2, 3, 6 and 12 of the Human Rights Act 1998. The PfHA must be interpreted and applied compatibly with the right to freedom of expression. It would be a serious interference with this right if those wishing to express their own views could be silenced by, or threatened with, proceedings for harassment based on subjective claims by individuals that they felt offended or insulted …
(vii) In most cases of alleged harassment by speech there is a fundamental tension. s.7(2) PfHA provides that harassment includes "alarming the person or causing the person distress". However, Article 10 expressly protects speech that offends, shocks and disturbs. "Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having".
(viii) Consequently, where Article 10 is engaged, the Court's assessment of whether the conduct crosses the boundary from the unattractive, even unreasonable, to oppressive and unacceptable must pay due regard to the importance of freedom of expression and the need for any restrictions upon the right to be necessary, proportionate and established convincingly. Cases of alleged harassment may also engage the complainant's Article 8 rights. If that is so, the Court will have to assess the interference with those rights and the justification for it and proportionality … The resolution of any conflict between engaged rights under Article 8 and Article 10 is achieved through the "ultimate balancing test" identified in In re S  1 AC 593  per Lord Nicholls.
(ix) The context and manner in which the information is published are all-important … The harassing element of oppression is likely to come more from the manner in which the words are published than their content…"
(1) A person alleging harassment must prove a "course of conduct" of a harassing nature. Section 7(3)(a) of the PfHA provides that, in the case of conduct relating to a single person, this "must involve … conduct on at least two occasions in relation to that person". But this is not of itself enough: a person alleging that conduct on two occasions amounts to a "course of conduct" must show "a link between the two to reflect the meaning of the word 'course'": Hipgrave v Jones  EWHC 2901 (QB)  (Tugendhat J). Accordingly, two isolated incidents separated in time by a period of months cannot amount to harassment: R v Hills (Gavin Spencer)  1 FLR 580 . In the harassment by publication case of Sube v News Group Newspapers Ltd  EWHC 1125 (QB)  EMLR 25 I adopted and applied this interpretative approach, to distinguish between sets of newspaper articles which were "quite separate and distinct". One set of articles followed the other "weeks later, prompted, on their face, by new events and new information, and they had different content": [76(1)],  (and see also [113(1)]).
(2) As Ms Wilson reminded us, where the claimant is, by choice, a public figure that should influence any assessment of whether particular conduct amounts to harassment of that individual; such a person has "inevitably and knowingly laid themselves open to close scrutiny of their every word and deed", and others can expect them to be more robust and tolerant accordingly: Poruba v Russia 8237/03  ECHR 1477 , and domestically, Trimingham v Associated Newspapers Ltd  EWHC 1296 (QB) [249-250].
(3) In a case of alleged harassment by publication the Court, in order to protect the right to freedom of speech, "should take account of the extent to which the coverage complained of is repetitious and taunting, as opposed to being new, and prompted by some fresh newsworthy event. The imposition of liability in respect of coverage that falls in the latter category will be harder to justify": Sube [106(2)].
"127 Improper use of public electronic communications network
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he—
(a) sends by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character; or
(b) causes any such message or matter to be so sent.
(2) A person is guilty of an offence if, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, he—
(a) sends by means of a public electronic communications network, a message that he knows to be false,
(b) causes such a message to be sent; or
(c) persistently makes use of a public electronic communications network.
(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both."
I have emphasised the provisions eventually relied on in the prosecution of the appellant.
"The genealogy of this section may be traced back to section 10(2)(a) of the Post Office (Amendment) Act 1935, which made it an offence to send any message by telephone which is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character. That subsection was reproduced with no change save of punctuation in section 66(a) of the Post Office Act 1953. It was again reproduced in section 78 of the Post Office Act 1969, save that "by means of a public telecommunication service" was substituted for "by telephone" and "any message" was changed to "a message or other matter". Section 78 was elaborated but substantially repeated in section 49(1)(a) of the British Telecommunications Act 1981 and was re-enacted (save for the substitution of "system" for "service") in section 43(1)(a) of the Telecommunications Act 1984. Section 43(1)(a) was in the same terms as section 127(1)(a) of the 2003 Act, save that it referred to "a public telecommunication system" and not (as in section 127(1)(a)) to a "public electronic communications network". Sections 11(1)(b) of the Post Office Act 1953 and 85(3) of the Postal Services Act 2000 made it an offence to send certain proscribed articles by post."
"the object of section 127(1)(a) and its predecessor sections is not to protect people against receipt of unsolicited messages which they may find seriously objectionable. That object is addressed in section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988, which does not require that messages shall, to be proscribed, have been sent by post, or telephone, or public electronic communications network. The purpose of the legislation which culminates in section 127(1)(a) was to prohibit the use of a service provided and funded by the public for the benefit of the public for the transmission of communications which contravene the basic standards of our society. A letter dropped through the letterbox may be grossly offensive, obscene, indecent or menacing, and may well be covered by section 1 of the 1988 Act, but it does not fall within the legislation now under consideration."
"by giving a heightened meaning to the words "grossly offensive" and "indecent" or by reading into section 1 a provision to the effect that the section will not apply where to create an offence would be a breach of a person's Convention rights, i e a breach of article 10(1), not justified under article 10(2)."
(1) The District Judge found that "The behaviour of Ms Scottow, in sending messages was a single, continuing course of action spanning several months from September 2018 until May 2019", and therefore properly charged in a single count. She gave no reasons for this conclusion. As the harassment authorities show, actions on different occasions must have some link if they are to count as a "course of conduct". This is a point of law, but one that flows from the ordinary meaning of the words. The Judge identified no link, and I do not consider that there was any adequate basis for doing so.
(2) The Crown's submission was that Ms Scottow's use of the internet matched the ordinary meaning of "persistent", which was identified as "continuing, firmly or obstinately in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. To this extent, submitted the Crown, "persistently has about the word elements of frequency and application to a theme, cause or view point the furtherance of which is supported by determination despite being discouraged from doing so in some form or another." I do not disagree with this linguistic analysis, but I do not consider that it can justify the conclusion arrived at by the District Judge.
(3) For the reasons already given, this was not a single "course of action". Further, on this analysis, a series of communications must have an element of frequency; but here there was one tweet in September, then four or five two months later, in the course of a week in early November, than a gap of over three months, then 10 messages on the same day. The communications must – on this analysis - also have some connecting theme or other factor, if they are to count as persistent. It cannot be enough that they all refer or in some way relate to the same individual.
(4) The 2018 Messages conveyed, over a period of two months, a variety of different defamatory or insulting messages about Ms Hayden, to the effect that she was racist, xenophobic, bullying, dishonest, and fraudulent. There was some element of repetition, but only some. Between 9 November 2018 and 1 March 2019 Ms Scottow did not persist, she desisted. In 2019, she communicated again, but the subject-matter was different. The 2019 Messages were all on the same topic, a new one, evidently prompted by the conduct of Ms Hayden in publicising, promoting and discussing the fact of the injunction. Ms Scottow's messages questioned and challenged Ms Hayden's public position in relation to that, in various different ways.
(5) These were, on a proper analysis, at least two separate courses of conduct, engaged in at different periods of time, separated by a period of several months, and they were of different character. For these reasons I find the District Judge was wrong in law to hold that the 2018 and 2019 Messages were, or could all be considered to be, part of a single course of "persistent" conduct. It was not lawful to prosecute Ms Scottow in August 2019 for her conduct over 9 months earlier.
(1) The Judge did not address her mind to the question of whether the messages were "for the purpose" of causing annoyance or, put another way, whether the purpose she found was the only purpose of the communications relied on. Her reasons are consistent with, indeed suggest, that she considered it enough that causing annoyance, anxiety or inconvenience, was a purpose that Ms Scottow had in view.
(2) She misdirected herself on the issue of tagging and blocking and whether Ms Scottow might have thought Ms Hayden would not see what she had written. The most obvious way to use a telecommunications network for the purpose of causing another annoyance etc is to contact that person directly. If Ms Scottow had blocked Ms Hayden and did not tag her in messages, that was logically relevant to the question of whether her aim, or the end she had in view, was one of the prohibited purposes. The fact that anything can be found on the internet, and would (or might) be found by Ms Hayden is a different issue. Foreseeability is not to be equated with purpose.
(3) The Judge seemingly regarded the evidence of Ms Hayden as to the actual effect on her as in some way relevant to the question of purpose. It was not, as the prosecution rightly observed in opening. The prosecution was wrong to submit that this admittedly irrelevant factor could somehow bolster a conclusion about Ms Scottow's purpose.
(4) There are three prohibited purposes. The Judge did not identify which of the three she found proved.
(5) She dealt with the messages collectively, rather that considering the purpose or purposes of each one. As a result, it is not possible to identify whether she concluded that the 2019 Messages were sent with one of the prohibited purposes. The Judge did not identify any specific reason for reaching such a conclusion. Her reasons for her finding on purpose mentioned a number of remarks that had been made by Ms Scottow in her interview of 1 December 2018, but none of those could have related to the 2019 Messages, which came several months later. Ms Scottow said nothing in interview about the 2019 Messages. Those messages did not "misgender" Ms Hayden, who was referred to as "they".
" In considering your evidence, I have reminded myself of Article 10 and accept fully an individual's right to free expression and the right to take part in public debate, and that Twitter is used by many people for that purpose. However, Art 10 rights are not unfettered and I do not find your communications to be part of a debate, they are merely personal comments aimed at Ms Hayden. We teach our children to be kind to each other and not to call each other names in the playground and there is no reason why, simply because some thing is on social media, we should not follow that rule as adults and think about what is being written before sending messages, and not send 'stupid throw away comments', as described by you in xx.
 I am asked by your counsel not to criminalise Twitter and shut down free speech. That is not my intention, there should be no restriction on proper debate, but I do not find that what you did was in furtherance of any debate as I hope I have explained."
Lord Justice Bean:-
(i) (s 127(1)) sending or causing to be sent a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character;
(ii) (s 127(2)(a) and (b)) sending or causing to be sent a message known to be false for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another;
(iii) (s 127(2)(c)) persistently making use of a public electronic communications network for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another.
Note 1 “… a magistrates’ court shall not try an information … unless the information was laid … within six months from the time when the offence was committed.” [Back]
Note 1 “… a magistrates’ court shall not try an information … unless the information was laid … within six months from the time when the offence was committed.” [Back]