Student arrested for ‘offensive’ banner protest walks free as case dropped

'Offensive': a similar banner to the one held by Adam Barr.
‘Offensive’: a similar banner to the one held by Adam Barr

A student arrested for waving a banner calling politicians “wankers” has been let off as prosecutors dropped a case against him on the eve of his day in court.

Adam Barr, 24, who studies at the SOAS in London, was arrested by Tower Hamlets police last April for holding a banner with pictures of David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage and the words “All Fucking Wankers”.

The protest in east London was against developers building “poor doors” for social housing tenants who shared a building complex with wealthier residents near the City.

He was arrested and taken to Bethnal Green police station after a primary school teacher complained, saying children could repeat the swear words on the banner.

Mr Barr was charged with holding an “offensive” protest banner under section five of the 1986 Public Order Act, but refused to accept a £90 penalty notice and insisting on appearing in court, where he pleaded not guilty to the crime.

But last week Mr Barr was told by the Crown Prosecution Service that it was dropping the case against him due to lack of evidence.

According to the Guardian newspaper, Mr Barr said: “I didn’t believe it was illegal. I was making a political point. It may have been crude, but it was also meant to be humorous.

“It was about not respecting people in authority just because they get elected in a bent and corrupt system.”

He added: “I’m relieved the case has been discontinued. It’s amazing it got so far without someone at the CPS realising it breached my freedom of speech.”

Mr Barr’s lawyer Simon Natas of ITN Solicitors said: “Freedom of speech is the lifeblood of democracy and is protected by the law, even when some might find the language used offensive.

“My client should not have been arrested for exercising his right to free speech and he should certainly never have been prosecuted.”

During the ten-month case, Mr Barr was told that Tower Hamlets police had accidentally destroyed his banner.

  1. SEPaterson on Wednesday 2 March 2016 at 2:59 pm

    The right to freedom of expression prevails. Good.

  2. Class War on Thursday 17 March 2016 at 9:46 pm

    "Fucking Wankers" banner prosecution dismissed as cops prove they are cunts again


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: