Removals boss and teacher partner ‘built Grenfell Tower effigy mocking 72 killed to win contest’  – The HabariTimes Online
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Removals boss and teacher partner ‘built Grenfell Tower effigy mocking 72 killed to win contest’ 

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Removals boss and teacher partner ‘built Grenfell Tower effigy mocking 72 killed to win contest’ 

Bull (pictured) and his partner, a teacher, are believed to have made the effigy as part of a competition 

Bull (pictured) and his partner, a teacher, are believed to have made the effigy as part of a competition 

Bull (pictured) and his partner, a teacher, are believed to have made the effigy as part of a competition 

A 55-year-old removals firm boss and his partner are believed to be the creators of the Grenfell Tower effigy set alight in a vile Bonfire Night video.

Steven Bull reportedly built the replica alongside the teacher as part of a competition at the November 5 celebrations in south London.

Footage of the model – which had a woman wearing a niqab depicted on its side – being burned caused outrage when it circulated online.

One person in the video referred to ‘little ninjas’ in the model and others joked about how residents hadn’t paid their rent at the tower before the fire killed 72 people last year.

After six people handed themselves into police, The Sun reported that Bull is the man seen lifting the replica onto a fire in the video.

A woman is seen helping him position it as one voice shouts ‘we’ve definitely got a winner’. 

Six suspects, aged 19, 19, 46, 49, 49 and 55, were arrested and released under investigation.

They were all arrested under section 4a of the Public Order Act after attending a police station in Croydon, South London. 

It is thought the group were driven out of the back of the police station custody suite in two unmarked vans that went in different directions to a secret location. 

This is the horrifying moment a group of friends torched an effigy of Grenfell Tower on Bonfire Night which had faces on the side 

This is the horrifying moment a group of friends torched an effigy of Grenfell Tower on Bonfire Night which had faces on the side 

This is the horrifying moment a group of friends torched an effigy of Grenfell Tower on Bonfire Night which had faces on the side 

Bobbi is understood to have handed himself in to police along with his father Cliff (pictured together)

Bobbi is understood to have handed himself in to police along with his father Cliff (pictured together)

Bobbi is understood to have handed himself in to police along with his father Cliff (pictured together)

A police statement said: ‘Six men arrested on suspicion of a public order offence in connection with an investigation into a video posted online that showed a model of Grenfell Tower being burnt have today, Tuesday November 6, been released under investigation.

‘The men, aged 19, 46, 49, 49, 55 and 19 were all arrested under section 4a of the Public Order Act after attending a south London police station.

‘The Met’s Grenfell Tower Investigation Team continues to lead enquiries.’ 

Suspects included 19-year-old scaffolder Bobbi Connell and his 49-year-old father Clifford Smith, a welder.

Connell’s mother, Louise, told the news site that she had been shaking since she found about the actions of her son, who is from a previous relationship. 

Bobbi Connell, 19, pictured with his father Clifford, has been named by his grandfather as being in the shocking Grenfell Tower bonfire video

Bobbi Connell, 19, pictured with his father Clifford, has been named by his grandfather as being in the shocking Grenfell Tower bonfire video

Bobbi Connell, 19, pictured and circled in the video, has been named by his grandfather as being in the shocking Grenfell Tower bonfire film

Mark Russell is in the video. It is not known if he is in police custody.

Mark Russell is in the video. It is not known if he is in police custody.

Mark Russell, who lives around a two miles away in West Norwood, is in the video (pictured). It is not known if he is in police custody.

Mark Russell, who lives around a two miles away in West Norwood, is in the video (pictured). It is not known if he is in police custody.

Mark Russell, who lives around a two miles away in West Norwood with his wife Debbie (together left), is in the video (right). It is not known if he is in police custody.

Paul Bussetti, pictured, is also believed to have handed himself in and his family told MailOnline they are scared for their safety after the joke 'got out of hand'

Paul Bussetti, pictured, is also believed to have handed himself in and his family told MailOnline they are scared for their safety after the joke 'got out of hand'

Paul Bussetti, pictured, is also believed to have handed himself in and his family told MailOnline they are scared for their safety after the joke ‘got out of hand’

‘In a million years I never thought any of them would be involved in anything like this,’ she said. ‘It’s disgusting, absolutely disgusting. I’ve been shaking since I found out.’

The video was filmed at the address of Smith, who is a buy-to-let landlord, in south Norwood. 

Louise said that her son is not a racist and expressed fears that he won’t be able to live in his local community following the controversy.

‘Making the effigy was obviously premeditated, and by the sounds of things it was all racial,’ she said. ‘But this is not Bobbi. He’s never racially abused anyone. I don’t understand it.’ 

Paul Bussetti, 46, and Mark Russell, 49, were identified as appearing in the footage. A second teenager was the last of the group to hand himself in today.

Mr Bussetti and his family, whose £500,000 home in West Norwood has a ‘party animals’ plaque in its porch, are scared for their safety after the joke ‘got out of hand’ having had ‘a few too many drinks’. 

Police have removed evidence from the South Norwood Home that hosted the offensive bonfire party where a Grenfell Tower effigy was burned

Police have removed evidence from the South Norwood Home that hosted the offensive bonfire party where a Grenfell Tower effigy was burned

Police have removed evidence from the South Norwood Home that hosted the offensive bonfire party where a Grenfell Tower effigy was burned

A close relative sobbed as she told MailOnline: ‘We’re in so much danger now. They didn’t want it to go this far. They are not racist. 

‘It’s been blown out of proportion. It was horrible what they’ve done. Let them try and forget it’. 

Friend Mark Russell, 49, who lives around two miles away in West Norwood with his wife of 27 years Debbie, was also in the film. 

A friend of the Bussetti family claimed they were all in attendance at vile Grenfell party and took part in the burning of the effigy of the tower.

The friend said 19-year-old Daniella Bussetti, her mother Gemma and brother Charlie were also at the party.

It is not thought they have been arrested while Paul Bussetti was among six people being questioned by police.

The friend identified both the voices of Daniella and Gemma, saying: ‘When I watched the video I recognised the voices.

‘I know the others in the video as I have seen them around and would drink with them at the Conservative Club. It makes me sick to think about what they did, and it is so disgusting.’

The friend, who asked not to be named, said Paul Bussetti worked in the scaffolding business along with his son.

He drives a black Range Rover with a personalised number plate while his daughter has recently taken delivery of a new Fiat 500 car.

Police officers examine the contents of bins outside the house in South Norwood this afternoon

Police officers examine the contents of bins outside the house in South Norwood this afternoon

Police officers examine the contents of bins outside the house in South Norwood this afternoon

The friend added: ‘They are very much into their parties and get very drunk. They do no need an excuse to drink.’ 

At least ten people including two women were at the party, but it is still unclear which of the men in the crowd have handed themselves in after watching the ‘Grenfell Guy’ burn. 

Earlier today five suspects, aged 19, 46, 49, 49 and 55, have all been arrested on suspicion of a public order offence.

Several of the men are said to be regulars at the local Conservative club in South Norwood. 

The garden belonging to Bobbi's father Cliff in south London has ashes on its grass this morning (pictured centre) - believed to be from Saturday's bonfire party

The garden belonging to Bobbi's father Cliff in south London has ashes on its grass this morning (pictured centre) - believed to be from Saturday's bonfire party

The garden belonging to Bobbi’s father Cliff in south London has ashes on its grass this morning (pictured centre) – believed to be from Saturday’s bonfire party

A member of staff muttered ‘oh God no’ when told Clifford Smith and Paul Bussetti had been arrested. 

He also looked visibly shocked when shown a photo of another man taken at the party – then quickly denied he recognised him and slammed shut the front door to the building. 

One member entering the club told Mail Online: ‘If they are members here and they took part in that party they will not be welcome. I think it is appalling and would hate to think I’m a member of the same club.’ 

The bar manager refused to confirm Smith and Bussetti – who lives half a mile away – were members and slammed down the phone when contacted by Mail Online. 

A neighbour of Clifford Smith said she heard the raucous party when she went into her garden to smoke a cigarette with one of the partygoers putting on a fake Jamaican accent.

Police officers let themselves into the property with keys and are understood to have taken photos of the ash-covered and scorched lawn

Police officers let themselves into the property with keys and are understood to have taken photos of the ash-covered and scorched lawn

Police officers let themselves into the property with keys and are understood to have taken photos of the ash-covered and scorched lawn

She said: ‘They were very loud and you could hear lots of cheering. I heard someone putting on a Jamaican accent. I’m married to a Jamaican man so recognised it. 

‘I didn’t pay any attention to what I heard until I saw the video and realised what was going on. It makes me sick to think I’m living close to people like that. 

‘What sort of person takes the time to build a model of Grenfell Tower and then burn it while mocking those who died.’

One neighbour of Clifford Smith said she understood he worked in the building trade.

Responding to today’s arrests, campaign group Justice 4 Grenfell said: ‘Public outrage regarding their behaviour and the gravity of what they did demonstrates that these acts of hatred will not be tolerated and have no place in our society,

‘Our thoughts and prayers are focused on the bereaved families and survivors who have been further traumatised by such a heinous video; especially at this time when many of them are giving evidence to the Grenfell public Inquiry.

Police officers look at bins outside the house where a model of Grenfell was burnt on a bonfire

Police officers look at bins outside the house where a model of Grenfell was burnt on a bonfire

Police officers look at bins outside the house where a model of Grenfell was burnt on a bonfire

‘We leave it to the police and Crown Prosecution Service to look at the evidence and investigate this thoroughly.

‘We do not want to jeopardise any future prosecution process; so are making no further comment on any charges that these despicable perpetrators may face.’

Detectives will also consider if they can be put in the dock for hate crimes and if the men could be prosecuted under the Communications Act 2003.

This is when someone breaks the law by sending ‘grossly offensive or indecent, obscene or menacing messages’ online, on social media or via text.

Someone at the party sent it to a wider group on WhatsApp, which led to it being viewed thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter.  Yesterday, police were searching bins outside the home of Bobbi and Cliff.

A black Jaguar X-type with an England flag emblem on its front registration plate and with Queens Park Rangers FC branded hanging accessories was parked on their home’s front porch.

Aerial images of the property appeared to show charred patches of grass along with an England flag lying across the rear of the garden.

A similar flag was visible behind the Grenfell model in the video.

The scorched remains of what is likely to be the bonfire and the Grenfell Tower effigy they burned on Saturday

The scorched remains of what is likely to be the bonfire and the Grenfell Tower effigy they burned on Saturday

The scorched remains of what is likely to be the bonfire and the Grenfell Tower effigy they burned on Saturday

According to his Facebook page, teenager Bobbi, who lives there with his father, attended Harris Academy in South Norwood and now works for Ralph Lauren, having previously been employed by JD Sports.

But a spokesman for Ralph Lauren said he has never been employed by them.

He supports his local Premier League football team Crystal Palace.

Bobbi’s grandfather David Connell told MailOnline: ‘It’s an appalling thing to do given the tragic loss of life. 

‘It’s in dreadfully bad taste and utterly shocking and I don’t condone it at all. I don’t know what they were thinking.’

The Guy Fawkes revellers have caused revulsion having laughed as they burned a home-made Grenfell Tower effigy, complete with screaming victims at its windows.

Cliff Smith is believed to have hosted the shocking bonfire party at his south London home (pictured)

Cliff Smith is believed to have hosted the shocking bonfire party at his south London home (pictured)

Cliff Smith is believed to have hosted the shocking bonfire party at his south London home (pictured)

The sick joke has caused a national outrage and sparked condemnation by the Prime Minister and the families of the 72 people who died in the inferno last June.

A woman who answered the door of suspect Paul Bussetti in South Norwood confirmed he had handed himself in to police.

The family member said: ‘Every year we have fireworks. They all make guys of each other. A few too many drinks have happened.

‘We’re in so much danger now. So much danger. They didn’t want it to go this far.’

The relative said the group has intended this year’s to be the effigy being Guy Fawkes.

In tears, she added: ‘It’s not what it was. They are not racist. It’s been blown out of proportion. I admit it’s stupid, so stupid. The comments that were made were just not nice. It’s so bad. He’s going to be devastated. They knew it was wrong, that’s why they came forward.

Mr Bussetti and his family, whose £500,000 home (pictured) has a 'party animals' plaque in its porch, are scared for their safety

Mr Bussetti and his family, whose £500,000 home (pictured) has a 'party animals' plaque in its porch, are scared for their safety

Mr Bussetti and his family, whose £500,000 home (pictured) has a ‘party animals’ plaque in its porch, are scared for their safety

‘We fear for our safety. There’s nothing to understand. It was horrible what they’ve done. It was horrible. It was stupid. Let them try and forget it. They know what they have done. They are going to be paying now aren’t they.’

Another older woman, who did not want to be named, sobbed: ‘They regret doing it. They are not that sort of people.’

She added: ‘They’re hard working people. It was stupid and distasteful. There was no malice in it. When they’ve had a drink they’ve videoed it and passed it onto friends and it’s escalated’. 

Bobbi Connell’s grandfather said he was surprised his grandson had appeared in the footage.

David Connell said Bobbi, who is the son of his daughter Louise, was a ‘nice lad’ who he wouldn’t ‘expect to get involved in something like this.’

Bobbi Connell's grandfather David has said he is appalled by the video, which shows his grandson

Bobbi Connell's grandfather David has said he is appalled by the video, which shows his grandson

Bobbi Connell’s grandfather David has said he is appalled by the video, which shows his grandson

He said Bobbi’s father Cliff and his daughter split ‘years ago’ and saw his grandson once a year at Christmas.

The retired property manager, who says his health was broken when he contracted pneumonia through swine flu a few years ago, said: ‘I’ll be getting in touch with my grandson. It’s not on. I hope they haven’t committed a crime by doing this. It’s just in very bad taste.’

He said Bobbi was ‘not a bad lad’ and that he always had a job though he did ‘this and that’. 

Neighbours could not see the party but said it lasted throughout the evening and ended at about 9.30pm. 

The pair are thought to have pulled down their St George’s Flag and laid it in their back garden because of the public outrage to the video.

A 77-year-old neighbour said: ‘They are the only ones on this street with a St George’s Flag. I recognise them. They are clowns as far as concerned. 

‘There was about ten or a dozen people – there was a family there with kids and it sort of all ended about 9.30pm’. 

The men, who are in custody at a south London police station today, have not been identified but many are calling for them to be named and shamed. 

This is the horrifying moment a group of friends torched an effigy of Grenfell Tower on Bonfire Night which had faces on the side 

This is the horrifying moment a group of friends torched an effigy of Grenfell Tower on Bonfire Night which had faces on the side 

This is the horrifying moment a group of friends torched an effigy of Grenfell Tower on Bonfire Night which had faces on the side 

A fallen England flag lies on the grass of Mr Smith's garden today and it can clearly be seen in the background 

A fallen England flag lies on the grass of Mr Smith's garden today and it can clearly be seen in the background 

A fallen England flag lies on the grass of Mr Smith’s garden today and it can clearly be seen in the background 

The scorched earth of the garden where the bonfire party is believed to have taken place

The scorched earth of the garden where the bonfire party is believed to have taken place

The scorched earth of the garden where the bonfire party is believed to have taken place

In the video, the group of friends are seen holding the ‘tower’ – complete with paper figures at the windows – over a naked flame until it caught alight – howling with delight as it was engulfed.

Some shout ‘help me, help me’ while queuing for a selfie and one of the men is heard exclaiming: ‘That little ninja’s getting it now’ – an apparent racist comment about a Muslim woman in a burka depicted on its side.

Another replies: ‘That’s what happens when you don’t pay your rent’ and then a person shouts, laughing: ‘We can go rob the bottom flats’.   

These men crowded around the cutout and took photos. Do you know them? Email tips@dailymail.com

These men crowded around the cutout and took photos. Do you know them? Email tips@dailymail.com

These men crowded around the cutout and took photos. Do you know them? Email [email protected]

These men helped move the tower at the start of the film and could face police action if proved to be a hate crime

These men helped move the tower at the start of the film and could face police action if proved to be a hate crime

These men helped move the tower at the start of the film and could face police action if proved to be a hate crime

These men helped move the tower at the start of the film and could face police action if proved to be a hate crime

These men helped move the tower at the start of the film and could face police action if proved to be a hate crime

The Grenfell Tower blaze and the plight of its victims has shocked Britain and the Bonfire Night joke will also shock the nation

The Grenfell Tower blaze and the plight of its victims has shocked Britain and the Bonfire Night joke will also shock the nation

The Grenfell Tower blaze and the plight of its victims has shocked Britain and the Bonfire Night joke will also shock the nation

The arrests followed Theresa May damning the yobs, branding the video ‘despicable’ and their actions ‘unacceptable’.

On Twitter, the PM said:  ‘To disrespect those who lost their lives at Grenfell Tower, as well as their families and loved ones, is utterly unacceptable.’ 

A mother-of-two and retired primary school headteacher, 58, who has lived on the street for 14 years, said she saw the video this morning.

She said: ‘It was awful really – it’s horrible to think it’s people living really close to you. I know they’ve got the England flag – St George’s flag in the back garden. It’s the only one I’ve seen in the whole street 

The headteacher, who wished not to be named, was concerned children would see the video on social media.

She said: ‘I would not want a child to see that and that’s why we have keep educating them at school about what it’s about to live in the world together.

‘They just come across as being really callous, ignorant and in a sense you would want to ostracise people like that. They don’t seem to be part of our community – they seem like outcasts to me behaving like that.

‘It just keeps reminding you we need to instil our children with common decency. It’s just disappointing and every now and again you come across people like this. I never, never noticed anything like that since I’ve been here.’

A total of 72 people perished as a result of the blaze in the west London block on June 14 2017, prompting an inquiry into how and why the disaster happened.

Is the sickening Grenfell bonfire video a hate crime? 

Scotland Yard have said the shocking video of Grenfell Tower being burned as a bonfire guy may not be a crime.

But critics including MPs say the group – when unmasked – should face the full force of the law.

Once the perpetrators are identified police are likely to speak to them. 

The law says: 

Crimes committed against someone because of their disability, transgender-identity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation are hate crimes.

Hate crime all into one of three main types: physical assault, verbal abuse and incitement to hatred.

First: Physical assault of any kind is an offence. If you’ve been a victim of physical assault you should report it. Depending on the level of the violence used, a perpetrator may be charged with common assault, actual bodily harm or grievous bodily harm.

Second: Verbal abuse, threats or name-calling either in public are a crime.

Third: The offence of incitement to hatred occurs when someone acts in a way that is threatening and intended to stir up hatred. That could be in words, pictures, videos, music, and includes information posted on websites. 

Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy, who is leading the investigation into last year’s inferno, said he was ‘frankly appalled by the callous nature’ of the video.

He added: ‘So many people lost so many loved ones, and many more have been deeply affected. To mock that disaster in such a crude way is vile.

‘I can’t imagine the distress this video will undoubtedly cause to bereaved families and survivors.’

He said the Met’s Grenfell Tower investigation team is ‘taking this matter very seriously’ and that any offences committed ‘will be fully investigated’.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said it was ‘too early’ to state what type of offences could have been committed.

Khadijah Mamudu, whose mother and younger brother escaped the fire, said she was stunned by the footage.

‘I really don’t know what to say, for once I’m honestly lost for words,’ she said. ‘The community is stronger together and even this vile act by flag-waving, intellectually challenged, brainwashed sheep won’t derail the fight for justice, nor will it knock us off our stride as we walk forward, in dignity, in unity, in solidarity.’

London’s most senior firefighter has joined victims and their families in condemning the ‘appalling and disturbing video’.

London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton, who told the inquiry she is receiving therapy after suffering significant memory gaps after being at the scene of the harrowing blaze, said: ‘This is an appalling and disturbing video.

‘To intentionally use and mock the Grenfell Tower fire in this way will cause deep pain and offence to the bereaved, survivors, the local community and all of the emergency services who will never forget that night. It cannot be justified on any level.’

The shameful home video begins with laughter as the effigy is taken into the back garden with people queuing to take pictures of it. 

They then moved it on to a specially constructed plinth on top of a roaring bonfire

This yob got close to take a photo of it in distressing scenes sickeningly lampooning Britain's worst residential fire

This yob got close to take a photo of it in distressing scenes sickeningly lampooning Britain's worst residential fire

This yob got close to take a photo of it in distressing scenes sickeningly lampooning Britain’s worst residential fire

The shocking video shows the collapse of the tower and will horrify many people, especially those touched by the tragedy in west London

The shocking video shows the collapse of the tower and will horrify many people, especially those touched by the tragedy in west London

The shocking video shows the collapse of the tower and will horrify many people, especially those touched by the tragedy in west London

Raucous laughter can be heard off-camera, with several bystanders speaking with southern English accents. 

One can be heard saying: ‘Didn’t it start from the tenth floor, though?’, while others mockingly add: ‘Help me! Help me!’ and ‘Jump out the window!’ Another says: ‘Here we go’ as the fire takes hold.

At the end of the clip, someone else can be heard saying: ‘That’s what happens when they don’t pay their rent.’

One witness is heard to refer to the model as being in ‘really bad taste’, something sarcastically agreed by another person off-camera, who appears to count seven others stood around watching.

The video ends as the model is completely consumed by the fire, with one bystander saying: ‘Perfect.’ 

Campaigners described the video as a ‘sickening act of hate’.

Natasha Elcock, from Grenfell United, said: ‘It’s a disgusting video. We hope that the police are taking this seriously’. 

Justice4Grenfell said the video ’caused great alarm and distress’, and called on police to investigate.

A spokesman added: ‘This was an unnecessary sickening act of hate against those who, through no fault of their own, have experienced the worst since 14 June 2017.

‘This is clearly a hate crime and as a society we should never tolerate these types of blatant acts of hatred.’

Police have been urged to investigate it as a hate crime 

Police have been urged to investigate it as a hate crime 

Police have been urged to investigate it as a hate crime 

London mayor Sadiq Khan said: ‘I utterly condemn this sickening video. The horrific Grenfell Tower fire was one of the most devastating tragedies our city has ever suffered – and I urge social media companies to do the right thing and remove this content immediately.’

Labour MP Emma Dent-Coad, whose Kensington constituency contains Grenfell Tower, told MailOnline: ‘To recreate a very recent atrocity where people saw their own families burnt to death is reprehensible and criminal. These people should be subject to the criminal justice system.

‘I cannot imagine why anybody would find that funny. It is absolutely despicable.’ 

Westminster north MP Karen Buck tweeted: ‘Imagine how utterly lacking in human empathy you would have to be to do this. How incapable of understanding another person’s pain and fear. What a depressing, shameful episode’. 

Men can also be heard making fun of the fire service’s infamous advice given to residents of the tower when the fire first broke out to stay in their flats.

A man said: ‘Stay in your flat we are coming to get ya’ while another counsels the flat residents to ‘jump out the window’. 

The video has caused revulsion online with MPs and celebrities calling it shameful and disgusting

The video has caused revulsion online with MPs and celebrities calling it shameful and disgusting

The video has caused revulsion online with MPs and celebrities calling it shameful and disgusting

The video was first posted on Twitter by Kay Oldroyd who is furious at what has happened after it was sent to her via WhatsApp.

Sickened Ms Oldroyd has asked the Met Police on Twitter if it can be reported as a hate crime.

She said: ‘I want these beasts prosecuted. Flying the English flag and enjoying a good old laugh at the expense of 100’s of lives who died in the most horrific way.

‘This is the sick mentality of racist, bigoted individuals. As much as I hate to share this video I want them identified.’

Piers Morgan said: ‘My God, what am I watching? This is unbelievable. Who are these disgusting vermin’. 

‘As disgusted as I am, offensive is not necessarily criminal’: Ex-law chief says Grenfell Tower ‘pranksters’ should not face hate crime trial – so what COULD they be charged with?  

With six people released under investigation after the Bonfire Night burning of an effigy modelled on Grenfell Tower, a former chief of prosecutions has cast doubt on whether those responsible will face court.

Six suspects, aged 19, 19, 46, 49, 49 and 55, handed themselves in to police after public outrage over the stunt in south London.

Among those arrested were teenager Bobbi Connell, his father Cliff and their neighbour Paul Bussetti.  

Video footage of Britain’s sickest bonfire showed people suggesting that the victims of the blaze – which killed 72 people last year – hadn’t paid their rent, as one person dubbed a crude cartoon of a Muslim woman on the effigy a ‘ninja’.

Nazir Afzal (pictured) has said that just because the video is disgusting it doesn't mean those responsible have committed a hate crime 

Nazir Afzal (pictured) has said that just because the video is disgusting it doesn't mean those responsible have committed a hate crime 

Nazir Afzal (pictured) has said that just because the video is disgusting it doesn’t mean those responsible have committed a hate crime 

But as police were spotted bagging up evidence at the address today, former chief prosecutor for the north-west, Nazir Afzal, says mounting a prosecution may be difficult.

He said on social media that current hate crime laws might not cover the vile incident.

He tweeted: ‘As disgusted as I am by bonfire of an effigy of Grenfell Tower, I recall how a bonfire of a Gypsy Caravan was not prosecuted for incitement. Something that’s grossly offensive is not always an offence.’

However the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) may bring charges under the Malicious Communications Act. 

The blaze in west London last year killed 72 people and those in the bonfire night video could be heard mocking the victims 

The blaze in west London last year killed 72 people and those in the bonfire night video could be heard mocking the victims 

The blaze in west London last year killed 72 people and those in the bonfire night video could be heard mocking the victims 

This is when someone breaks the law by sending ‘grossly offensive or indecent, obscene or menacing messages’ online, on social media or via text or WhatsApp. 

Mr Afzal added: ‘There is an offence under the Communications Act which shows that basically by posting something that’s offensive you could face consequences in relation to that.

‘Whilst that isn’t hate crime related specifically it certainly is a crime that can be prosecuted in these circumstances.’ 

In 2011 Emdadur Choudhury was prosecuted under the Public Order Act for burning poppies on Armistice Day – but the offence happened in the street rather than at home. 

Police are now seeing whether they can take further action against the people who mocked those who died in Grenfell Tower (pictured) 

Police are now seeing whether they can take further action against the people who mocked those who died in Grenfell Tower (pictured) 

Police are now seeing whether they can take further action against the people who mocked those who died in Grenfell Tower (pictured) 

Barrister Nigel Booth of St John’s Building Chambers in Manchester told MailOnline that for a Public Order offence to take place, it need not be the survivors of Grenfell that were caused harassment, alarm, or distress, but could be people unconnected to the inferno.

And he pointed out that Public Order offences can still be committed in private places, if there are at least two people who can see the act in question taking place. 

‘This could be an offence under section 4A of the Public Order Act: displaying a visual representation which is insulting,’ he said. ‘The main insult here is the extremely distasteful burning of the effigy which seems to mock victims of a terrible tragedy.  

‘The prosecution would have to prove that someone was caused harassment, alarm or distress (there and then) by the act of burning itself and that the person doing the burning intended to cause someone harassment alarm or distress. 

‘If the burning was done only in the company of ‘friends’, who were all taking a perverse enjoyment in the spectacle, then perhaps the Prosecution would struggle to show that the person doing the burning intended to cause someone harassment alarm or distress?’  

But Mr Booth believes that the strongest case against the group would be that they outraged public decency.  

‘People think that this is an offence for sexual behaviour, and it can be, but doesn’t have to be,’ he said. ‘The offence was successfully charged in the late 1980s when someone attached three-month old freeze-dried foetuses as earrings to a sculpted head for an exhibition at a gallery. 

‘If the burning took place in a private garden that might be a barrier to this charge, but not necessarily – what matters is that at least two members of the public were present and were capable of witnessing the burning, even if they didn’t actually see it.’

He added that anyone posting the video online runs the risk of being prosecuted for publishing an obscene article. 

‘Whether something is obscene depends on whether its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt people who are likely to see the footage, whether the footage is posted openly or to a private group of ‘friends’,’ he said. ‘I should imagine a prosecutor would be arguing that the survivors and relatives of those who died in the Grenfell disaster are the victims of the publishing offence.’

Mr Booth also said that if the person who published the material was motivated – even if only in paprt – by hostility toward a person’s actual or perceived membership of a racial or religious group then it could be an aggravated racial offence. 

The key questions the CPS will consider are: 

Could the burning of the effigy be a public order offence?

The Public Order Act is used to prosecute people for rioting, violent disorder and affray. It also deals with offences that causes victims ‘alarm or distress’. 

There are around 1,000 of these cases a year in the UK – usually related to race. The act protects freedom of speech and the right to say something offensive in your own home.

But if it something shared with the public online or by text this could be an offence – satisfying the ‘public’ element of the Public Order Act.

Can it be an offence if the ‘victims’ are not present?

Yes. It can be an offence to display any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting – even if it is inside your home. 

Police must prove the men created a ‘visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting’. 

Police must also prove this caused a person or a group ‘harassment, alarm or distress’ – and crucially it was intentional.

But the men arrested could be released if they can prove there was ‘no reason to believe that the words or behaviour would be heard or seen by a person outside their home’, according to the act.

However an aggravating factor could be that the video of the effigy burning was shared outside the group via WhatsApp and then published online by a whistleblower, reaching the group it has offended.

Can a public order offence be committed in your own private garden?

Yes. Any offence may be committed in a private place. But again a valid defence is to argue the person arrested had no reason to believe a person or group it could offend would ever see it.

Can it be an offence if it’s not the ‘perpetrator’ that put it on social media?

Yes.  Sharing a video on social media can be a public order offence, if the prosecution can prove there was intent to offend someone by posting it publicly, including on WhatsApp if it was shared to a large group of people.

Is it a hate crime? 

Possibly. The term ‘hate crime’ is one someone does something motivated by hostility towards a victim or group’s disability, race, religion or sexual orientation.

This includes verbal abuse, intimidation, threats. The use of a Muslim woman stuck to the side of the tower could be an issue for the arrested men. But to be successful it usually requires offended person to be present. 

 

 

 

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