Norwood v Director of Public Prosecutions: Admn 3 Jul 2003

The appellant a BNP member had displayed a large poster in his bedroom window saying ‘Islam out of Britain’. He was convicted of an aggravated attempt to cause alarm or distress. The offence was established on proof of several matters, unless the defendant could establish one of the statutory defences. He argued these should be read down to impose only an evidential burden.
Held: The district judge was justified in his findings as to the poster, that it was clearly racially directed and racially insulting. The positioning of the poster was intended to cause alarm and distress. The offence did not infringe the defendant’s human rights and his behaviour also threatened the rights of others.


Lord Justice Auld, Mr Justice Goldring


[2003] EWHC 1564 (Admin), Times 30-Jul-2003




Public Order Act 1986 5(1)(b), Crime and Disorder Act 1998 28 31


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Clive Louden Carass CACD 19-Dec-2001
When a defendant was accused of an offence under the section, and wished to raise a defence under sub-section 4, the duty of proof placed on him by the sub-section amounted to a duty to bring sufficient evidence to raise the defence, and the section . .
CitedRegina v Lambert HL 5-Jul-2001
Restraint on Interference with Burden of Proof
The defendant had been convicted for possessing drugs found on him in a bag when he was arrested. He denied knowing of them. He was convicted having failed to prove, on a balance of probabilities, that he had not known of the drugs. The case was . .
CitedRegina v Director of Public Prosecutions, ex parte Kebilene and others HL 28-Oct-1999
(Orse Kebeline) The DPP’s appeal succeeded. A decision by the DPP to authorise a prosecution could not be judicially reviewed unless dishonesty, bad faith, or some other exceptional circumstance could be shown. A suggestion that the offence for . .
CitedDirector of Public Prosecutions v Clarke and Others QBD 30-Jul-1991
The essentials of the basic section 5 offence require the court to be satisfied as to the accused’s subjective state of mind, namely that he intended that the representation should be, or was aware that it might be, threatening, abusive or . .
DistinguishedRedmond-Bate v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 23-Jul-1999
The police had arrested three peaceful but vociferous preachers when some members of a crowd gathered round them threatened hostility.
Held: Freedom of speech means nothing unless it includes the freedom to be irritating, contentious, . .
CitedReynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd and others HL 28-Oct-1999
Fair Coment on Political Activities
The defendant newspaper had published articles wrongly accusing the claimant, the former Prime Minister of Ireland of duplicity. The paper now appealed, saying that it should have had available to it a defence of qualified privilege because of the . .
CitedCampbell v Spottiswoode 18-Apr-1863
The plaintiff, a dissenting Protestant minister, sought to advance Christianity in China by promoting a newspaper with letters emphasising its importance. The defendant attacked him in a rival newspaper, saying his motive was not to take the gospel . .
CitedPercy v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 21-Dec-2001
The defendant had been convicted of using words or behaviour likely to cause harassment alarm or distress, when she defaced the US flag, and stood on it before a US military officer. She said that the defacing of flags was a common form of protest, . .
CitedHandyside v The United Kingdom ECHR 7-Dec-1976
Freedom of Expression is Fundamental to Society
The appellant had published a ‘Little Red Schoolbook’. He was convicted under the 1959 and 1964 Acts on the basis that the book was obscene, it tending to deprave and corrupt its target audience, children. The book claimed that it was intended to . .

Cited by:

CitedKendall v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 26-Jun-2008
Appeal by case stated against conviction for racially aggravated publishing of threatening abusive or insulting materials. The defendant had put up posters at various places with pictures of people convicted of murder and announcing ‘Illegal . .
See AlsoNorwood v United Kingdom ECHR 16-Nov-2004
(inadmissible) . .
CitedAbdul and Others v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 16-Feb-2011
The defendants appealed against convictions for using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour . . within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress. He had attended a . .
CitedDehal v Crown Prosecution Service Admn 27-Sep-2005
The appellant had been convicted under section 4 of the 1986 Act. He had been accused of attending at Luton Guruwarda and intending to cause distress. He said that he had gone only peacefully to express his true religious beliefs. He had left a . .
CitedJames v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 13-Nov-2015
The appellant challenged her conviction for failing to comply with conditions imposed on a public demonstration. Her demonstration outside the Royal Courts of Justice had brought traffic to a standstill. At trial she had been refused permission to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Crime, Human Rights

Leading Case

Updated: 27 November 2022; Ref: scu.184226