Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Sentenced to £500 fine @ £20 a month for harmless tweets

ABERDEEN SHERIFF COURT, 21st February 2017

Sheriff Morag McLaughlin, presiding

Court 1 in Aberdeen Sheriff Court, Sheriff Morag McLaughlin informed me that she had read my reply to the Social Enquiry Report (published in my previous blog post).

I offered to speak to my points and read out -

"Deletion of posts on the internet is an expected and proportionate response to instances of immoderate language. I've always been happy to delete or moderate my tweets, posts as required on-line and would do so too for police, prosecutors, sheriffs, social-workers etc.

There was absolutely no good reason to escalate my tweets to a court case. I'm certainly going to do my part to ensure there is no repeat, co-operating with the authorities to that aim."

I then said that the Social Enquiry Report described a number of disposals and I've offered to co-operate with them so as to avoid a prison sentence.

Sheriff Mclaughlin said that she was not proposing to impose a prison sentence and I said I was relieved about that.

She said she was imposing a financial penalty and I offered to pay £20 a month and explained that now I was only in receipt of housing benefit because the DWP had decided that I was fit to go back on Jobseekers Allowance and therefore had stopped my Employment and Support Allowance; I was appealing that decision but meantime had no income but could pay £20 a month from my savings.

Sheriff McLaughlin said she was imposing a £500 fine because it was a serious breach of the peace to be paid up at £20 a month, which was confirmed by the clerk of the court and then I was able to leave the dock the way I wanted to, not in handcuffs nor in custody, which was nice.

Another court official handed me a form to fill out with details to allow them to administer the fine, name and address, National Insurance number, bank details etc, which I did and handed-in before leaving the court room.

I enquired at the Fines Office if I could pay my first £20 there and then but I was told to await a letter from the court about paying the fine.

Not "justice" certainly but as far as miscarriages of justice go, it could have been a lot worse.


Man fined £500 for Twitter threats against Queen

21 February 2017 - NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland
Dow was found guilty

A man found guilty of posting abusive and threatening messages about The Queen on Twitter has been fined.

Alastair Dow's home in Aberdeen was raided by police after intelligence officers saw the posts made during the Commonwealth Games.

He went on trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and claimed there was no intended threat behind the posts, but was found guilty last month.

Dow, 56, has now been fined £500 for the offence.

One tweet was said to have read: "It's not a little rest I need but to see your Queen's brains blown out and her body splattered over the ground."

Aberdeen activist who threatened to shoot the Queen on Twitter sentenced

by JOSHUA KING February 22, 2017, 6:09 am

A political activist who sparked a major terrorism investigation after posting tweets threatening to kill the Queen has admitted he is “massively relieved” to avoid a jail sentence.

Alastair Peter Dow took to Twitter during the Commonwealth Games in 2014 to say he was a “man at war for my freedom” and suggesting his “army” would shoot the monarch.

Yesterday, the 56-year-old was fined as punishment for a “serious” breach of the peace. Dow had denied the allegations made against him and claimed his messages had been “blown out of proportion”.

Police in Aberdeen raided Dow’s Hollybank Place address on July 26, 2014, responding to reports he had threatened to harm the Queen in a social media post.

During proceedings, Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard detectives set up a specialist unit to combat terrorism during the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

One of Dow’s public messages said he wanted to see the “Queen’s brains blown out and her body splattered over the ground”.

Another said: “As a man at war for my freedom against the imposed monarch, I want my army to put a bullet in the Queen’s head.”

Representing himself in court yesterday, Dow said he was always happy to “delete or moderate tweets”.

“In my opinion there was no reason to escalate my tweets to a court case. I would co-operate with anything to avoid a jail sentence.”

Sentencing Dow, Sheriff Morag McLaughlin said: “I’m not going to impose jail. I think it would be disproportionate. Since this happened in 2014, there’s been nothing else.

“We will always disagree about the seriousness, but I consider it to be a serious breach of the peace.”

Dow said it was a “massive relief” that he will not be forced to spend time behind bars.

He was fined £500 to be paid at the rate of £20 per month.
Evening Express
BY RYAN CRYLE, 22 FEB 2017 06:53


A man convicted of a breach of the peace after posting threatening tweets about the Queen has been fined.

Alastair Peter Dow was handed a fine of £500 when he appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court for sentencing, having been found guilty after trial.

In one message Dow, 56, of Hollybank Place, Aberdeen, said he was “a man at war for my freedom” and he wanted his “army” to put a bullet in the monarch’s head.

Last month he was convicted of causing fear and alarm by putting offensive, abusive and threatening material about Her Majesty online.

Dow had denied the allegations and claimed the wording of his messages had been “blown out of proportion”.

He said although he composed the posts they should not have been taken literally, but seen as “rhetoric”.

The court previously heard police were sent to Dow’s address in the city’s Hollybank Place on July 26, 2014. They had been responding to “intelligence” claiming material had been posted threatening to harm the Queen.

The court heard the messages had been sent by Dow to users he had not previously met.

However, they could be seen publicly on the microblogging site.

One message stated he wanted to see the “Queen’s brains blown out and her body splattered over the ground”.

Another said: “As a man at war for my freedom against the imposed monarch, I want my army to put a bullet in the Queen’s head.”

Appearing for sentencing before Sheriff Morag McLaughlin, Dow said he had always been happy to “delete or moderate tweets”.

He went on to say: “In my opinion there was no reason to escalate my tweets to a court case. “There are various sentencing options listed in the report – I would co-operate with anything to avoid a jail sentence.”

Sheriff McLaughlin told Dow: “I’m not going to impose jail. I think it would be disproportionate. Since this happened in 2014 there’s been nothing else.”

Fining him £500 the sheriff said: “We will always disagree about the seriousness – but I consider it to be a serious breach of the peace.”


Dave.S said...

Haha that smirk isn't of a guilty man, relieved? What a joke - wasting public resources, pursuing this over two years for such a paltry sentence...

Anonymous said...

A few questions Peter before I submit my article on this:

(a) Are your social media restrictions now lifted?

(b) Will you be back on Twitter in the near future?

(c) Are you planning a new Youtube video for your followers to update them on events?

(d) Are you planning to appeal your conviction?

(e) Are you planning to submit an FOI request to ascertain exactly how much this prosecution cost the taxpayer from arrest to sentencing hearing?

Roger, PA

Peter Dow said...

No, that photograph of me was taken on 26th January 2017 the day I was found "guilty" and when I was bravely looking down the barrel of up to 1 year in prison and a perhaps even my death in custody because I may have been murdered in custody as some prisoners have been to the terrible shame of this United Kingdom.

So that is the smirk of Braveheart looking death in the eye but not flinching, as per William Wallace, when as an innocent man he was martyred and executed by Longshanks for doing his duty as Guardian of Scotland.

Scots Wha Hae viewed Peter Dow's profile video

Scottish republican socialist Peter Dow, author and protester


Peter Dow said...

@Roger PA,

As many questions as you like Roger. I can always make time for the press.

(a) Are your social media restrictions now lifted?

Well presumably the social media restrictions specified in the bail conditions lapse with the end of the case?

(b) Will you be back on Twitter in the near future?

Hopefully yes. All through the case since my first meeting at the Sheriff Court with Mr McLeod, my lawyer in July 2014, I offered to delete the tweets which had caused offence but the prosecutors asked for a bail condition to prevent me accessing Twitter and for that reason I could not delete the tweets while the bail conditions prevented me from accessing Twitter.

At no point in this case since my arrest have I been asked to delete the offending Tweets.

No police officer involved in the case, no lawyer of mine, no prosecutor prosecuting this case, no sheriff hearing this case, no social worker allocated to my case work, NO-ONE IN AUTHORITY has asked me to access Twitter and delete the tweets as I offered to do.

That remains the case today. Although I offered to officialdom to delete the tweets, officialdom has not yet asked to me to access Twitter and delete the tweets.

So maybe I will write to all those officials and ask them about that.

Will officialdom now finally deputise an official, preferably a woman because I much prefer meeting with the ladies, perhaps a woman police officer, a woman prosecutor, a woman sheriff, Sheriff McLaughlin perhaps, or a woman social worker to supervise me in the process of deleting offending tweets, telling me which tweets in particular to delete and perhaps rewarding me with a kiss and a cuddle afterwards for being a good boy?

If on the other hand, officialdom couldn't care less whether or not I delete the offending tweets but are happy for those tweets to stay on Twitter then I will leave them where they are.

(c) Are you planning a new Youtube video for your followers to update them on events?

I have "followers"? I don't even have a girl-friend. LOL.

People can get updates on the court case events via this blog. https://peter-dow.blogspot.co.uk/

A new YouTube video by me may be of more interest to viewers if it not quite so navel-gazing as to discuss my own court case, but is offering leadership on the great political questions of the time - Scottish independence, membership of the European Union and so on.

(d) Are you planning to appeal your conviction?

I am a feminist who believes in women's rule
Women Rule! (video)
therefore I would only wish to appeal the decision of a woman sheriff to other women, legally to a women's court or politically to women generally, to ask the ladies please to exercise the women's prerogative to change their minds.

Ideally, if I can find myself a woman lawyer then I can appeal to her directly and leave the rest of the court action to her. I would not feel comfortable about representing myself and appealing directly to a appeal-court comprised of male judges to overturn the verdict of a woman sheriff.

Perhaps a woman MP, MSP, journalist or political activist can side with my "NOT GUILTY" plea, which would be nice?

Otherwise I think we gentlemen should respect her ladyship's verdict, though it be wrong in law and unjust. These things we suffer for love.

(e) Are you planning to submit an FOI request to ascertain exactly how much this prosecution cost the taxpayer from arrest to sentencing hearing?

I wasn't planning to do that but I would have no objection if someone else wanted to submit such a Freedom of Information request.

Sarah (former law student) said...

Hi Peter,

I believe that unless the Sheriff specified directly, the social media ban (Youtube, Twitter etc) would remain in place until your fine has been paid and therefore the "sentence" is deemed as being completed. Then you would receive a letter of confirmation from the Sheriff Clerk's office discharging you from court after your final payment has been made.

This would also be applicable if you had been given community service or probation. The ban only expires when your sentence is completed.

Hope this helps,

Peter Dow said...


Thanks. A continuing social media ban will be oppressive and unacceptable to me for another 2 years, which is how long it will take me to pay a £500 fine at £20 a month.

Ever since my arrest in 2014, I have suggested and offered that I would be willing to co-operate with the authorities to moderate my own social media posts.

"Moderation" would mean that I would get the benefit of the doubt and have the freedom to tweet or post on social media in the first instance and only afterwards, if there was thought to be a legal problem with a particular post, would I then, on request from the authorities, voluntarily delete my own problem post, to keep the authorities satisfied.

However, I simply can't do my best as a political activist by surrendering to a total ban from social media altogether.

So I'm seeking to come to a working arrangement with the authorities for moderation but I am not willing to give up my rights to my legitimate use of social media for another 2 years.

I hope that you understand my need to post on social media without suffering the stress and the terror of another police arrest.

I can certainly write to the authorities myself again about this, as I have done many times before, but the authorities don't seem to want to engage with me on this question, frustratingly. There doesn't seem to be an established procedure for moderation and the authorities cannot think outside of the box to establish a new procedure.

Sarah, can you intervene on my behalf to try to set up some arrangements with the authorities for moderation?

If you, or any other helpful lady, would be willing to help facilitate my peaceful use of social media then please contact me.

My contact phone number, where you can leave a message on my answering machine is Tel. 01224 583906. Email me to peterdow@talk21.com

Anonymous said...

You should set up a Twitch channel and stream the sh*t out of Company of Heroes bud - kids these days are making a fortune off of it. You'd have that fine paid off in no time...

Anonymous said...

How many polis were there on the day they raided your house? Waste of manpower.

Peter Dow said...

@Anonymous (7 March)

There were lots of police and support staff at the raid.

5 Detectives - 1 Detective Sergeant & 4 Detective Constables
2 door-entry specialist officers (at least) to break in
1 city joiner to secure the door
5 man police search team - an Inspector. a Sergeant and 3 Constables
2 forensic photographers
2 soldiers (at least) from the Army bomb squad


Which I agree was a waste of manpower.

One of the Detective Constables and one of the forensic photographers were women - so not the most efficient way to use women power either.

If the police had not rushed in and had instead taken the time to gather some background intelligence as to who I was before they applied for a search warrant, they should have easily found out that I am a peaceful political activist - and not someone with an army certainly who could realistically threaten the Queen.

A competent police force properly informed could then have investigated more efficiently by not even bothering applying for a search warrant.

The police's best plan would be to deploy the woman detective constable to phone me up and arrange for a meeting, between me and the woman detective constable, perhaps with a WPC or two for back-up if she felt she needed it.

A woman detective could have easily sweet-talked and pussy-whipped a single gentleman and radical feminist like me in no time. I would have been putty in her hands, fully compliant and following her orders soon enough.

She could have told me to delete the tweets (which I would have been happy to do) and then the police or or the prosecutors could have let me off with a caution that would have been an end to it.

A little bit of woman power used on someone like me who loves the ladies is much more efficient than wasting a lot of man power.

Anonymous said...

All that for a £500 quid fine. No wonder Police Scotland are broke.

Probably more officers in your house that day than were on the beat patrolling the whole of Aberdeen city centre.

21st century policing is all about catching people who post offensive comments on Twitter/Facebook and dirty old men who look at pictures of kids.

Sitting behind an office desk with a hot coffee and a computer. Then sending in the heavy squad once you have some evidence of potential wrongdoing. Job done, everybody happy.