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.

BBC NEWS

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

ABERDEEN MAN, 56, FINED £500 FOR OFFENSIVE TWEETS ABOUT QUEEN’S DEATH

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.”

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Social Enquiry Report (lacks insight) - with Peter Dow's insights annotated

I have recently attended at 74-76 Spring Garden, Aberdeen for a few meetings with one of Aberdeen City Council's social workers, a Mr Brian Hourigan, to co-operate with the production of his "Criminal Justice Social Work Report" which I am publishing today, with the addition of my own annotations in red "ink" which offer my clearer insights into the harmless non-threatening hyperbole of my republican rhetorical tweets in contrast to Brian's report which lacks insight doggedly claiming that my tweets were somehow "threatening", which they weren't, of course.


















I am appearing in Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Tuesday 21st February for sentencing.

           Accused Details          Court Ref No            PF Ref No        Court Room
20 Alastair Peter DOW    SCS/2015-060310    AB14008188     Court 1

Friday, 27 January 2017

'Freedom fighter' threatened Queen - front page news

The Press and Journal

Terrorism investigation sparked after political activist threatened to “blow Queen’s brains out” on Twitter

by REBECCA BUCHAN January 27, 2017, 4:45 am


A self-styled political activist sparked a major terrorism investigation after posting tweets threatening to kill the Queen during the Common Wealth games.

In one message Nationalist Alastair Peter Dow said he was “a man at war for my freedom” and that he wanted his “army” to put a bullet in the monarch’s head.

Yesterday, the 56-year-old was convicted of causing fear and alarm by putting offensive, abusive and threatening material about Her Majesty online.

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

He said that although he admitted composing the posts they should not have been taken literally, but instead seen as a piece of “rhetoric” reflecting his political views.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard yesterday that police were sent to Dow’s address in the city’s Hollybank Place on July 26, 2014.

They had been responding to “intelligence” which had been received claiming offensive material had been posted on Twitter threatening to harm the Queen.

Giving evidence, Detective Sergeant Martin Thomson said a specialist unit had been set up around the time to combat terrorism during the Commonwealth Games.

He said that because of the content of the messages he was instructed to execute a warrant at Dow’s house as there was a “genuine” perceived threat.

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 that 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.”

Dow, who represented himself, told the court he had not meant the messages to be taken literally.

He said any reasonable person should have known he did not have an army at his disposal.

He said: “Where did the police expect me to be hiding this army? In my cupboard or in my garden perhaps?”

The court heard he was opposed to the monarch being head of state and that he believed the country should be ruled by an elected body.

He said when he was talking about the Queen in his tweets he was speaking metaphorically about the demise of the monarchy in general.

Dow claimed he may have used “colourful” language while engaging in political debate but denied he intended to cause anyone fear or alarm.

He said: “The tweets were rhetoric, not threats. There was no way that tweet was threatening to the Queen.

“I do not want people to think I am a nutter who is going to attack the Queen. I’m not a terrorist, I am a political activist. It was not a threat.”

Dow said he did not hold a personal grudge against “Lizzie” and said: “I am sure she is a lovely old lady and a wonderful granny.”

Sheriff Morag McLaughlin said that although he argued his point well, she believed his rants had been “offensive” and that given the timing of the posts she could understand why they may have caused alarm.

Sentence was deferred for background reports and Dow will return to court next month.
____________________________________________________
Evening Express

ABERDEEN MAN CONVICTED FOR OFFENSIVE TWEETS ABOUT QUEEN’S DEATH

BY REPORTER,  27 JAN 2017 08:42
A self-proclaimed political activist has been convicted of a breach of the peace after posting threatening tweets about the Queen.

Alastair Peter Dow, 56, had been on trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court accused of causing fear and alarm by writing offensive, abusive and threatening material about Her Majesty.

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

Alastair Peter Dow appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

He said, although he admitted composing the posts, they should not have been taken literally and instead should have been seen as a piece of “rhetoric” which bolstered his political views.

During the day-long trial yesterday, the court heard officers were sent to Dow’s address in Hollybank Place, Aberdeen, on July 26, 2014, after they received “intelligence” he may be threatening to harm the Queen.

Giving evidence, Detective Sergeant Martin Thomson said a specialist unit had been set up around the time to combat terrorism during the Commonwealth Games.


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

One message stated how he needed to see the “Queen’s brains blown out & 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.


During evidence Dow, who was representing himself, told the court he had not meant the messages to be taken literally.

He said when he was talking about the Queen in his tweets he was speaking metaphorically about the demise of the monarchy in general.

Sheriff Morag McLaughlin said, although he argued his point well, she believed his rants had been “offensive” and, given the time they were posted, she could understand why they may have caused alarm.

Sentence was deferred on Dow for background reports to be carried out.
____________________________________________________

BBC NEWS

Aberdeen man made Twitter threats against Queen

26 January 2017. NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

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

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

His computer was seized and he went on trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

Sheriff Morag McLaughlin told him she had assessed the tweets as offensive and abusive and found him guilty of the offence.

Det Sgt Martyn Thomson had told the court officers obtained a warrant to search Dow's flat.

He said: "Police Scotland had received information to the effect that Mr Dow had posted a threatening tweet against the Queen."

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."

Dow insisted that there was no intended threat behind the posts and insisted that they were just rhetoric and statements made on the spur of the moment.

Representing himself in court, he argued that the case was a bit of a storm in a teacup arguing that it was "very embarrassing" for the police to have made such a fool of themselves.

Sentence was deferred for reports until next month.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Unfair trial tomorrow. Jobcentre the next? Stressed! One day at a time.

I received some bad news yesterday - a phone-call from the Department of Work and Pensions, from "the decision maker", some heartless bitch clerical worker by the name of "Marlene" / "Marlynne" deciding to cut me off my social security of "Employment and Support Allowance" after I had presented myself respectfully enough at my Health Assessment interview in December.

That's what you get for trying to be civil - the bastard-bureaucrats take it as any excuse to cut your social security in half, leaving you unable to pay your bills and to suffer the vindictive sanctions imposed at Jobcentre - the very thing which made me stressed out and forced me to ask for a sick note from my doctor years ago.

THE JOBCENTRE MAKES ME SICK!



So I didn't get a wink of sleep last night stressing out about the Jobcentre interview they have set up for me on Friday - it would have been Thursday, tomorrow but that's the day of my trial, which is perhaps a bigger stress but a stress I've been coping with for 2+ years.

           Accused Details          Court Ref No            PF Ref No        Court Room
20 Alastair Peter DOW    SCS/2015-060310    AB14008188     Court 4

So I will just have to try to take one day at a time.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Case calling in court 6? No. Court 3? No. Court 1? No. Court 5? Yes .. and no.

I attended Aberdeen Sheriff Court today after receiving a letter by post dated 7 December 2016 from "Aberdeen Summary Team" of Aberdeen Procurator Fiscal's Office.
"I can confirm that the case has been accelerated to call on the 14 December 2016 at the Aberdeen Sheriff Court, Castle Street, Aberdeen, AB10 1WP at 10.00 for a new trial diet to be set as the Crown will not be able to proceed on 26 January" (2017, though someone had mistyped "2016").
"Therefore please can you attend the Aberdeen Sheriff Court at the above date and time for a new trial diet to be fixed".
The Aberdeen Sheriff Court rolls, published on the internet, named "Court 6" which I confirmed with the reception at the court building but on sitting in court-room 6 I was approached by a lawyer asking if I was here for another court case? I said I wasn't but for an intermediate diet. The lawyer said that that my case was not calling here in court 6 but try court 3 where all intermediate diets were held.

I cross-checked with the reception and went to court 3. Waiting in court 3, I was told, no, it wasn't there so try court 1. In court 1, I saw Mr Dunbar, the procurator fiscal depute who was prosecuting the case who told me, actually it was court 5.

After informing the reception where I was heading to, I went up to court 5, where the police officer did not have my name "on the list" but the depute clerk said she had up to date information and yes the case was to call here, court 5.

Sheriff McLaughlin took the bench and I was first to be called into the dock where Mr Dunbar presented me with a draft of his proposed joint motion which he invited me to sign, which was a formality which apparently was required to allow the case to be "accelerated", to call in court before the next scheduled date.

I hesitated to sign it because I was not pleased to be appearing in the dock that day and was told by the Sheriff that I was not required to sign it, but that I could take some time to read the proposed motion over, discuss it with Mr Dunbar, which I did outside the court room.

I read it, had a can of Pepsi to drink and some time later Mr Dunbar and a woman police officer met with me outside the court room.

I told Mr Dunbar that whilst I was in favour of postponements, because I had never wanted this case to come to court, on any date, I was not in favour of accelerations and since the document mentioned an earlier date than the scheduled 26 January 2017, not a later date, I was not happy to sign it.

I took the opportunity of meeting with Mr Dunbar to request again consideration by prosecutors of alternatives to prosecution - direct measures, an apology, deleting the tweets, etc. and he said he would mention this to Laura Begg and I asked for an opportunity to speak to her about it.

I went back into court, was called into the dock again and we informed the Sheriff that I wasn't signing the proposed motion and she confirmed that the case would call as previously scheduled on 26 January 2017.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Due in court again Wednesday 14th December

I received a letter by post from Aberdeen Procurator Fiscal's Office, informing me of another calling of this case on Wednesday 14th December 2016, in Aberdeen Sheriff Court "for a new trial diet to be set as the Crown will not be able to proceed on 26 January". 

           Accused Details          Court Ref No            PF Ref No        Court Room
12 Alastair Peter DOW    SCS/2015-060310    AB14008188     Court 6

Friday, 11 November 2016

My computer was finally returned by police after 2+ years

On the 2nd November 2016, I had emailed and posted a letter to the prosecutor in the following terms.
"To: James Dunbar, Procurator Fiscal Depute & colleagues
Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service Office, Procurator Fiscal's Office, AB1, CRIMON PLACE, ABERDEEN, AB10 1BJ
Dear Mr Dunbar and colleagues,
NOW, WILL YOU PLEASE ORDER THE POLICE TO RETURN MY PROPERTY SEIZED FROM MY HOME ON 27th JULY 2014?
 
My primary purpose in signing our "JOINT MINUTE OF AGREEMENT" with Mr James Dunbar, Procurator Fiscal Depute, in court 5 of Aberdeen Sheriff Court, yesterday, 1st November 2016 was to facilitate the earliest possible return from the police of my computer equipment, all of my data contained on it and all other items of my property seized by police from my home at 21 Hollybank Place, Aberdeen on 27th July 2014. 
We've agreed a "JOINT MINUTE OF AGREEMENT" as legally admissible evidence of my authorship of my complained-about tweets.
There now clearly being no legitimate remaining pretext for the police and prosecutors to excuse your continued possession of my property then I am entitled to demand that my property rights in law be respected by all officers of the law and in particular I ask that Mr Dunbar and his colleagues at Aberdeen Procurator Fiscal's Office do now order the police to return to me all my property items seized from my home on July 27th 2014.
 
So please do now order the police, instruct the police, advise the police - whatever is the appropriate form of words - to make the police understand that the Procurator Fiscal no longer has any need nor intention of using any of my property items seized for evidential purposes for trial in the Sheriff Court and that being so, it is now clearly the duty of the police to return my property to me without further delay."
This morning, 11th November 2016, I received a telephone message from Detective Sergeant Martyn Thomson and we arranged for me to collect my computer equipment from Queen Street, Police Station, Aberdeen, which I transported home by taxi and here it is, at long last!


So the police had seized and deprived me of my computer equipment (that they never needed, not for one minute) from Sunday, 27th July 2014 to Friday 11th November 2016.

I calculated the duration I was wrongfully deprived of my most valuable property including irreplaceable science research data using -

Calculate Duration Between Two Dates – Results
From and including: Sunday, 27 July 2014
To, but not including Friday, 11 November 2016

838 days

It is 838 days from the start date to the end date, but not including the end date

2 years, 3 months, 15 days

119 weeks and 5 days

229.59% of a common year (365 days)
So that's one more example of how bad the police state in Scotland is.