Ganesh Sittampalam (hsenag) wrote,
Ganesh Sittampalam

Stupid legislation

I'm sure many people have already picked over the Terrorism Act 2000 in much detail, but I only just now noticed how stupid some of it is.

I was reading this news story. A has been charged with having B's name and address, which apparently is a crime because B is a soldier and A has a Muslim name (OK, the "A having a Muslim name" bit isn't mentioned in the charge, but the rest is..)

It seemed like a bit of a sweeping offence, so I went to consult the relevant section, and indeed possessing any information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism is a crime. Eeek! I'd better destroy any records I have of the address of my friend in the RAF, then. Oh, wait, clause (3): "It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that he had a reasonable excuse for his action or possession." So as long as I'm happy with being considered guilty until I can prove myself innocent, I'm probably OK. Great.

Actually, I'd better be careful about having any information at all. After all, if I have a record of where the nearest supermarket is, a terrorist might be able to use that to get some food, which would certainly be useful to him or her.

Scrolling on down to sections 59-61, yet more stupidity. The section essentially says "It's a crime to incite someone to do something outside the UK if it would be one of a certain set of crimes in the UK." Obviously they then thought that this might get the Armed Forces etc in trouble, so they added clause (5): "Nothing in this section imposes criminal liability on any person acting on behalf of, or holding office under, the Crown." So anyone who holds office under the Crown can do what they like in terms of incitement, whether or not they are acting on behalf of HMG at the time.

I'd love to know what idiot wrote this law.
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