No further action to be taken over Paris Brown Twitter comments
Monday 22 April 2013
Britain's first youth police and crime commissioner, who stepped down from the role over offensive comments she made on Twitter, is “pleased” police are taking no further action against her, her lawyer said today.
Paris Brown, 17, was meant to be providing young people's views on policing but instead had her own mobile phone seized as officers investigated her tweets amid claims they were homophobic, racist and violent.
It has emerged that lawyers representing Miss Brown have written to the chief constable of Kent Police complaining of their "wholly disproportionate" response.
A statement from law firm Olswang today said: "We, her solicitors, are unsurprised by the decision that no further action is warranted. We would regard this as inevitable, given that it was obvious that no criminal offence was committed.
"Paris and her family are pleased this matter has been brought to a close. She has had a difficult time recently, in part due to the media and inappropriate police scrutiny.
"She is glad to put this behind her and move on. Her family asks that the media allow her to do this and to respect the family's right to privacy."
Officers had questioned Miss Brown, from Sheerness in Kent, after the force received more than 50 complaints from members of the public about her tweets.
The teenager, who was to earn £15,000-a-year from the role, previously apologised for causing offence with the messages she posted between the ages of 14 and 16.
She denied being anti-gay or racist, and said she is against taking drugs, insisting that a reference on Twitter to making "hash brownies" was from a Scooby Doo film. The offensive tweets have now been deleted.
A spokeswoman for Kent Police said today: "Whilst some of the language used is offensive, particularly the comments which derogatorily refer to particular social groups, we do not believe that in the context they are grossly offensive on a reasonable objective assessment considering intent.
"We have spoken to the CPS about our findings, and given them our view that this case does not pass the evidential threshold for prosecution; we will make no recommendations to them for charges and will take no further police action having discharged our duty to investigate."
The letter to Chief Constable Ian Learmonth from Miss Brown's lawyers questioned the scope and nature of the investigation.
They said she was visited by a Special Branch officer at her home on April 11, along with a second officer, and asked to surrender her mobile for examination.
Then she was requested to attend an interview under caution on April 14.
She was quizzed for one hour and seven minutes about material posted on her Twitter account which had already been published in the media. Her phone was returned three days later.
In their letter, her lawyers said: "As we are sure that you will readily understand, being subject to a police investigation is highly distressing for any person, but especially so for a teenager, particularly one who has been recently subject to such adverse media coverage.
"In such circumstances, we believe that the police must weigh carefully the extent to which an investigation relating solely to social media activity is merited."
Olswang also referred to the interim guidelines from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Keir Starmer, regarding prosecutions relating to social media.
Kent police and crime commissioner Ann Barnes appointed Miss Brown to the position earlier this month and was to pay £5,000 of the teenager's salary from her own pay.
She praised Miss Brown as a "remarkable young woman" and said her decision not to take up the role, which was due to begin this summer, was "very sad".
The teenager's Twitter account was not checked as part of the recruitment process.
Another youth commissioner will be appointed later this year, but Mrs Barnes said there were "lessons to be learned" before someone replaces Miss Brown.
- 1 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 2 Kate Moss: Previously unpublished nude photo revealed by Mert and Marcus
- 4 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 5 Bad Jews poster 'censored' on London Tube
Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
Becky Watts: Four appear in court charged with hiding body parts after teenager's death
Isis 'bulldozes' Nimrud: UNESCO condemns destruction of ancient Assyrian site as a 'war crime'
Professor Brian Cox brands astrology-believing Tory MP David Tredinnick an 'outlier on the spectrum of reason'
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...
£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...
£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...