Showing posts from June, 2018

Reporting on criminal cases

Since the arrest and imprisonment of Tommy Robinson for contempt of court there has been a lot of complaints from members of the public both in the UK and abroad who are concerned that a “journalist” could be imprisoned for doing their job in the UK. Americans seem particularly shocked at what has happened, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to investigate the law and consider why it is as it is.
What is the law in the UK?
Criminal contempt is a common law offence that involves a serious interference with the administration of justice or creates a real risk that the administration of justice will be prejudiced. It cannot be a mere non-compliance with court orders.
Insofar as journalists and other publishers of news content go, section 1 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 is very important because it tells us that where information is published with the intention of it being consumed by the public at large then that publication will be a crime if it tends to interfere with the course of j…

Is there twice as much violent crime in the UK versus the USA?

I came across a screenshot of a Twitter post while on Facebook this morning. The original post now has 11,000 retweets and 23,000 likes on Twitter. As you can see from the picture somebody called Charlie Kirk, who is a right-wing American commentator, claims that there are 933 violent crimes in the UK per 100,000 people. This is more than double the rate he claims for the USA where he says there are only 399 violent crimes per 100,000 people. The UK doesn’t feel that violent to me, so is it true?
We’re all gonna die
According to the FBI, in 2016 there were 1,248,185 violent crimes committed across the whole of the USA. That is an increase of 4.1% on the 2015 figure but still represented only 386.3 violent crimes per 100,000 people. So, Mr Kirk appears to be slightly overestimating the violent crime in the USA. I should say that I am using the 2016 figures as those are the latest available on the FBI website, so maybe he has slightly different ones.
The Office for National Statistics repo…