The camera doesn’t lie, but …
In 1948, when George Orwell wrote his novel, “1984”, he had a vision of the world where Big Brother was watching everybody. The world now has cameras from Big Brother. There are numerous dash cams, doorbell cams, CCTV cameras, bicycle helmet cameras and everybody is walking around with a high-quality smart phone video camera in their pocket. So, we are all now potentially being recorded by a series of little brothers and little sisters.
It looked bleak for our client when he was recorded by his next-door neighbour’s camera muttering some nasty abuse. The neighbour sent the footage to the police and our client was interviewed under caution.
He arranged for our Public Order Act and pub quiz expert, Jim Buckley, to advise him at interview. Taking legal advice at the police station is the most important way a suspect can protect themself. Suspects who are unrepresented can cause themselves real difficulties with injudicious comments made in interview. Our client was advised to remain silent in his interview.
He was later prosecuted for intentionally causing distress to his neighbour by using abusive or insulting words to her camera.
However, at trial was argued on his behalf that it could not be proved that he knew that the camera was a genuine article and not a dummy. The police argued that there was a sign next to it saying that it was recording live footage, but we could argue that nobody installing a dummy camera would put up a sign saying “don’t worry burglars, this is only a dummy camera”!
Because it could not be proved that he knew the camera was real or that it had a microphone attached, or that anyone was listening to the device at the time, our client was acquitted.
If the police want to speak to you, always get a solicitor. If you are ever prosecuted, get a solicitor who will consider all the possible defences.