A 19 year old man from County Durham has been sent to jail for having some books. He was a member of a vile group of racist would-be terrorists, but as far as I can tell from the report on his sentencing, all the Police could use against him was his possession of electronic copies of books which can be bought from Amazon.
The online bookseller lists The Original Poor Man’s James Bond: Volume 1 and The Anarchist Cookbook for sale as paperbacks. These are the two books mentioned in the report. There’s mention of three charges of “possessing records useful in committing or preparing acts of terrorism”. Perhaps each book counts as one charge, which makes me wonder what the third book was, if it’s so evil it can’t even be named. Mein Kampf, maybe?
If that’s all there was to the charges against Nicky Davison, if the Police were just looking for a way to punish him and latched onto his downloaded reading matter, then it’s very worrying. Less objectionable- and arguably more innocent- people have been charged because of the books they own when Police desparate to justify their actions have run out of other options, but it’s precisely because Davison’s views (or those of his father, which he now claims to abhor) are so objectionable that his case should be the one we start questioning this on. It’s that old free speech maxim- I may hate what you’re saying with every fibre of my body, but I shall defend your right to say it. If there’s no evidence that Nicky Davison was in on his father’s ricin releasing plans then he shouldn’t be sent to jail for having copies of books any of us could purchase.