What if the PSNI were to charge Orangemen with incitement?

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 22.01.24Newton Emerson column hones in on the law [text removed].. the possibility of arresting senior Orangemen for incitement prior to the Ardoyne violence…

The effects could be cathartic… Or indeed in one or two other controversial cases

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  • sectarianheadcount

    Incitement to walk past a few nondescript shops? What next from Emerson? Bring back the Special Powers Act? Internment without trial maybe? Perhaps writing ridiculous newspaper articles could be made a criminal offence?

  • Sp12

    Cathartic for who?
    The guy or girl standing on the front line raising their shield to fend off number 16 of a set of 1000 bricks to be aimed at their head from 5 feet away?
    The guy or girl watching UTV or BBCNI news at night wondering why they have to wade through this shit in the morning on the way to work and when they are returning home to their family through the same climate of fear and hate afterwards?
    The English caller on Nolan’s 5 Live radio show wondering why they are financing this farce when the NHS needs 30 billion to survive?

    To be honest Mick (and Newton), we all know the law doesn’t apply here in equal measure for the most part.

  • aquifer

    Newton nailing it again.

    Lets have the bowler hats off and the heads down for sentencing.

    They clearly deserve their chance of speeches from the dock, hunger strikes, expensive lawyers on legal aid, cups of tea in paper cups, all the trappings of indignant perpdom.

  • michael-mcivor


    ” it [the PSNI] cannot act without receiving a complaint “-

    Newton says he has seen a chink in the law but then asks residents and representatives to explore that option ?- in other words Newton is to afraid to go to the PSNI himself about a law which he said was broken-a fine example for a newspaper columnist to set-to what I say not as I do springs to mind-

  • Smith O Brien

    From an orange perspective, (I happen to be a nationalist but can see their point of view) it does appear though that republican violence is rewarded though as the march has been cancelled this year after years of rioting by the ardoyne young and unemployed. Perhaps it is time for a new tactic. Don’t let the orange order down this year and place severe restrictions on next year by letting them down the road with no music or drumbeat on the condition that if the rules are flouted they will be banned for the following 5 years. that way the Orangemen get to march and no offensive music is played. perhaps a big screen could be erected alongside the shops so no ardoyne residents will be forced to watch the Orangemen parade. To maintain order perhaps instead of hiring extra police from the mainland draft a special act to hire off duty garda in garda uniforms to police the ardoyne. I think republican youths will think twice before attacking their ‘own’ police force. Everybody wins

  • Mick Fealty

    I assume you have provide witness in order for the PPS to take you seriously, not opinion Mickey…

  • Morpheus

    Membership of the OO is now less than 2% of the population and they do not have the clout (save the hugely disproportionate number of MLAs who are part of the Loyal Orders) they once had so if an Orangeman broke the law then they deserve to be brought before the courts. In reference to your final line, the same applies to everyone, be they rioter, protester, Reverend or MLA.

    As a positive for the OO anyone who gets a criminal record is automatically expelled (supposedly) so maybe it could be used as an excuse to get rid of certain undesirables. Will they help the PSNI?

  • Kevsterino

    Morpheus, regarding your question “Will they help the PSNI?” I have not seen any news of the Orange identifying those wearing orange regalia throwing stones and hacking with swords at Her Majesty’s policemen.

    That would be a big help, I’d imagine.

  • michael-mcivor


    ” I assume you have to provide witness in order for the PPS to take you seriously “-

    Yet Newton asks Residents and representatives to explore that option who were at none of the 12th fields when those speeches were made-or no-where near where the orange leaders statements were made-yet the
    media were at all those events-why did Newton not ask those who were there to go to the police?- [ ie-the media ]

  • Mick Fealty

    To be Mickey, its a well wrought argument which starts with the CCs own words and suggests he follows them up by taking action in line with his own views… but it is subs locked and I’m nervous of quoting too much…

  • Comrade Stalin


    It has now been in the news several times over that people in the Orange Order attempted to bring disciplinary action against senior unionist politicians who were members of the Order on the basis that they had broken the rules by attending Catholic funerals. David Trimble faced this allegation when he attended the funeral of the Quinn children during Drumcree; recently Tom Elliott and Danny Kennedy faced similar charges for attending the funeral of Constable Ronan Kerr. In the end it was all quietly dropped.

    It’s a matter for a private organization to enforce whatever rules it has, but it would certainly be interesting if the members who brought the recent complaints against Elliott and Kennedy were to show similar zeal about the other rules in the book – I’m sure there must be something that says they’re not supposed to attack the police or get involved in riotous behaviour ?

    RE the article … the burden of proof around incitement is very high – necessarily so because this could quite easily become a serious problem for freedom of speech.

    There is certainly an issue in that there is a fear among the police about lifting elected representatives (irrespective of which party). Willie Frazer got arrested for blocking roads, but the several DUP councillors and MLAs who did the same thing were not touched. This is a problem.

  • Alias

    It sound like political policing: using law as a political tool.

    And under what law – other than non-applicable incitement or conspiracy laws – could you arrest a ‘Grand Wizard’ for an offence committed by a third party? You may as well arrest Gerry Adams for beating Robert McCartney to death…

  • DC

    Maybe the Orange Order should look into the law concerning Malicious Communications offences?

  • I don’t know what the UK law says but we have anti-hate/incitement laws in Canada and they have resulted in successful prosecutions. All of the cases I recall were those against those inciting hatred against those of a Jewish persuasion. One individual got deported back to his native country, Germany, and I believe he was prosecuted there also and sent to jail.
    The burden of proof should be high in all criminal cases. It’s generally termed as “beyond reasonable doubt”.

  • Newton Emerson

    Mick has posted the last part of an article I have written, but has blogged about an article I have not written.
    Nowhere have I suggested using incitement law against Orangemen rioting at Woodvale.
    Obviously, there’s not much point commenting on this or replying to your comments so far.

  • Mick Fealty

    Sorry Newt… I hope the new wording above is more accurate…

  • Alias

    You’re getting flak from all directions this week, Mick. I can only admire your stamina for a gig that doesn’t come with any financial reward…

  • DC

    it’s still wrong. take it down. shouldn’t be up. subs etc 🙂

  • Newton Emerson

    It is still debatable if senior orangemen could be charged with incitement to violence, as I wrote in the article.
    The main point is that they could very easily be charged with inciting (actually “encouraging”) a breach of a Parades Commission ruling, which is an specific offence under the Public Order Act, punishable by up to six months imprisonment.

  • Newton Emerson

    Whereby Public Order Act I mean, of course, the Serious Crime Act… Good night.

  • odd_number

    As Newton points out in his article, Jamie Bryson was charged with encouraging others to offend and a good barrister could make that case against the OO. With Bryson, the case is unlikely to go anywhere but is ultimately designed to take the wind out of his sails. As the Orange Order are currently running themselves into the ground it’s probably unnecessary at the moment but I would not doubt it’s a card the authorities will play if the OO try to really ratchet up the tension.

  • Sweetcheeks

    ‘…the Orange have laid an intelligent gauntlet down to the Parades Commission by using their wits to follow the spirit of the ruling but to breach its letter.’
    – Mick Fealty, 22nd June.

    Now he talks about punishing deviant Orangemen as potentially “cathartic”. Interesting.

    Newton – I’m not entirely sure myself, but do you mean the Public Processions Act 1998?

  • Sp12

    “The main point is that they could very easily be charged with inciting (actually “encouraging”) a breach of a Parades Commission ruling, which is an specific offence under the Public Order Act, punishable by up to six months imprisonment.”

    Charged by who, following complaints by who?

    We have seen persons charged and convicted for declaring on a social network that a certain MP needs ‘one in the back of the head’. Others have advocated everything from murder of an individual to full scale ethnic cleansing on the same social network with no repercussions.
    Some get arrested and charged for burning one dearly held symbol in a grainy video, others have no such worries.

    What’s your point?
    That this law is applied inconsistently?
    Sure we knew that already.

  • aquifer

    “As a positive for the OO anyone who gets a criminal record is automatically expelled (supposedly) so maybe it could be used as an excuse to get rid of certain undesirables”

    Many Orangemen are deeply worried about paramilitaries within their membership, and could be wary of dealing with them internally.

  • Mick Fealty

    Good to see someone holding me to account for something I have said rather than something they think I have.

    I was in favour of an intelligent gauntlet in the first circumstance because in challenging the PC ruling the OO could demonstrate their capacity for restraint and, thereby, make a political point. A point which has now been incinerated in a grand bonfire of Orange ire.

    The use of the incitment law would involve the state authories reminding us that the civil and criminal law is binding on us all.

    As for whether we have already decided that’ the settlement involves blind or “all too seeing” justice does not mean that we should not be reminded that a more direct route is available to the PSNI, the PPS or indeed residents groups should they choose to take it.

    It’s unlikely to happen because no one in NI (or anywhere else for that matter) ever does anything that might check themselves later in the game.

  • Newton Emerson

    Sweetcheecks – it’s the Serious Crime Act 2007 that now defines incitement (as “encouraging or assisting” an offence).
    The Act specifies those offences it is a crime to encourage, here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2007/27/schedule/3

    Breaching a Parades Commission ruling under the Public Processions Act is one of them, you’ll note.

    This is a remarkably obscure and minor thing to pick out from every statute in all thee UK legal jurisdictions – especially when the rest of the list is mostly concerned with very serious offences like murder.

    It looks like the government foresaw a need to consider this option some time ago.

  • cynic2

    Agree that it looks fairly clear cut…but will PSNI dare and will they have a defence that their collective IQ is so low they could not form the necessary means reas

  • streetlegal

    The laws which have been used against Willie Fraser and the other flag protest organisers could be applied to Mervyn Gibson and the other leaders of the Orange Order in Belfast – if Matt Baggott wanted he could lift them all and put them before a court tomorrow morning. Anyone seen Jamie Bryson lately?

  • Barnshee

    A bit of double edged sword — Could be applied to any situation I would have thought

  • sectarianheadcount

    I don’t like the Orange and my place for them would be in a united Ireland, but it’s depressing on here seeing the lack of support for freedom of expression. Instead, most of the posters on here want them locked up for having the temerity to have a 5 minute parade past a handful of shops in Ardoyne. Take a bow Smith O’Brien for at least arguing a way forward beyond the garbage lock-em-all-up/incitement to violence stuff spouted on here- because criminalising people was so, so successful over the last 4 decades of conflict of course…

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