Liberty to impose conditions

The approach taken in the UK was enunciated by Mr. Justice Collins in Percy v. Director of Public Prosecutions [1995] 1 WLR 1382 in which it was held that unless there is a risk of violence in any public gathering it would not constitute a breach of the peace. It was sufficient to show that there is a reasonable apprehension that the conduct of the organizers and the crown could incite violence in others.

Considering the recent events in which a car bomb had been planted at Wulfrun, Bio Medic’s location and that the march intended to go through that area, there is a reasonable suspicion that unless conditions and restrictions are applied, violence could erupt. • Moreover, in R v Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall, ex parte Central Electricity Generating Board [1982] QBD 458 Lord Denning explained that a breach of the peace could give rise to restrictions and conditions on a public procession.

Lord Denning explained that breach of the peace would occur if the conduct was such that it prevented a person going about his lawful activities. Based on the authorities cited, the chief constable was at liberty to impose conditions on the march. However, it is unlikely that the march could have been banned since Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights protects the right of the individual to conduct peaceful marches. Question 3 • Whether or not the arrest of Phillip, Henry and Emma was lawful turns on whether or not the police had reasonable grounds to suspect that a breach of the peace was likely to occur.

In Phillip’s case it seems logical for the police to assume that a breach of the peace was about to occur had Phillip not been taken into custody. Emotions were running high between Phillip and William and the recent acts of violence and protest lends itself to the likelihood that a breach of the peace might occur. • It was held in Singh, R v Chief Constable of West Midlands Police [2006] EWCA Civ 118 that police had a general duty to keep the peace as well as to ascertain that when individuals exercised their fundamental rights and freedoms, the exercise of those rights were not disproportionate to the rights and freedoms of others.

Although Phillip had a right to express his feelings about the research ethics of Bio Medic, he did so in a way that compromised the freedom of movement of others. The graphic depictions of mutilated embryos were not necessary for conveying his opposition to the research and was offensive to bystanders. Even if the depictions were not offensive, Phillip did in fact engage in confrontation with a bystander and this gave rise to a reasonable suspicion on the part of the police that a breach of the peace might ensue.

Emma and Henry’s speech however did not give rise to incitement and did not appear to create a disturbance. • The right to free speech is protected by the European Convention on Human Rights and the ensuing arrest was therefore arbitrary and a further violation of Convention rights against unlawful arrest. • According to the ruling in R (Laporte) v Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Constabulary [2007] 2 WLR 46 even a dispersal order in such circumstances was a violation of Article 10 of the Convention which guarantees the right to free expression.