fotdmike | 16.11.2010 13:07 | Repression
One point that may be worth making is that the advice offered in the article that has been the excuse used by the police for closing down the fitwatch site was to 'suspects', not 'offenders'... a crucial difference, whereas this present police action (without a Court Order be it noted) suggests they've already decided that everyone attending the demonstration is guilty from the start.
Moreover, according to my understanding, "perverting the course of justice" consists in one of three acts:
* Fabricating or disposing of evidence
* Intimidating or threatening a witness or juror
* Intimidating or threatening a judge
(Quoted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perverting_the_course_of_justice
which, in fairness, isn't always the most reliable reference)
Be that as it may, it seems to me that a far more sensible course for the police to have pursued would have been, in the first instance, to have approached the registrant direct (let's not pretend the police don't actually know who that person is, or how to contact them) with a request to remove the "offending" article.
That they chose not to do this and instead preferred to use the more heavy-handed approach of closing the entire site down suggests to me that they're more interested in attempting to neutralise fitwatch as "payback" for all the occasions that fitwatch have proven to be a thorn in their side.
And the question still remains of course, why was a Court Order not secured first... and indeed why did the hosting provider accede to the police request absent a Court Order?
Text of email follows:
Hi [recipient's name deleted],
We received a request to close an account the site mentioned below is hosted on:
Request from Metropolitan Police in London Uk to remove website used
for criminal purpose - fitwatch.org.uk IP 18.104.22.168
APPLICATION FOR CLOSURE OF A UK BASED DOMAIN NAME
Fitwatch.org.uk - IP 22.214.171.124
To whom it may concern at Singlehop
In connection with our criminal investigation into registration or use
of the domain name set out in this letter, we hereby confirm that:
• The domain is being used to undertake criminal activities.
Attempting to Pervert the Course of Justice, contrary to Common Law
We hereby request Singlehop to de-host this website for a minimum
period of 12 months.
Please note that this request will be also sent to the domain name
registrar for the website.
You should provide the following contact phone number, email address
and reference number to the registrant: 0207 230 8100
REASON FOR CLOSURE
This website are committing offences of attempting to pervert the
Course of Justice under Common Law.
The website is providing explicit advice to offenders following a
major demonstration in Central London. The demonstration was marred by
violence and several subjects have already been arrested with a major
police operation underway to identify and arrest further offenders.
The person controlling these websites has posted material held to be
contrary to Common Law within the UK.
Therefore to prevent the domain names from being used in crime we
request that the domain name is suspended for a minimum period of 12
months (or until expiry of the domain name if earlier).
This common law offence is committed where a person or persons:-
(a) acts or embarks upon a course of conduct
(b) which has a tendency to, and
(c) is intended to pervert,
(d) the course of public justice.
Registrant Information for fitwatch.org.uk
Registrant : [registrant't name deleted]
All other personal details withheld
Registered on : 17-Nov-2008
Authority to close the website and IP address given by
Will Hodgeson, Acting Detective Inspector
CO11 Public Order Branch
Many Thanks in Advance
DI Paul Hoare
Police Central e-crime Unit (Computer Crime Unit)
SCD6 Economic & Specialist Crime Command,
1st floor, Indigo Block, Cobalt Square
1 South Lambeth Road,
0207 230 8100
[Senders' name deleted]