Offensive Language charges Case Study

A case study by a criminal defence lawyer

The Facts:

A pretty young woman with short skirt was arguing with her boyfriend on the mobile phone and startled when ‘tooted’ by police as she slowly moved across the street. She responded with words like: “Fuck off, I am arguing with my fucking boyfriend”. It was late at night and she was intoxicated. Police wanted to talk to her, instead of letting her wander off into the night. She was arrested and charged with Offensive Language. Police should have issued a field court attendance notice, or perhaps not have bothered with her in the first place.

The Result:

We took the case to the local court for a defended hearing. For a start, the woman should not have ben arrested. By arresting her, given that she had identification with her, amounted to a serious abuse of power. The language was not offensive within the legal meaning as determined by many cases and decisions handed down over the years. Police should have known better. The police charges were dismissed. The fact that this woman was prosecuted should lend support to calls for this offence to be decriminalized. Let’s not forget that the penalties include the potential for a criminal record and a fine.