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London Police ‘Pushing the Envelope’ over Grenfell Tower Video, Says Former Chief Prosecutor

London's Grenfell Tower, where 71 people were killed in a fire a year ago, was illuminated in green © AFP Tolga Akmen
Tolga Akmen/AFP

A former regional chief prosecutor has said that London’s Metropolitan police were “pushing the envelope” after arresting six people for setting alight and filming the burning effigy of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster.

“As abhorrent and disgusting as it is, it is probably not criminal,” former chief crown prosecutor for northwest England Nazir Afzal said, according to The Times.

“I can’t for the life of me see how [a crime] is made out on what I’ve seen so far,” he added and said London’s police were “pushing the envelope” for arresting the six men, all of whom were later released under investigation.

Mr Afzal added that “something that is grossly offensive is not always an offence,” and argued that for it to hit the threshold for prosection it would be necessary to show that the video, initially shared privately on WhatsApp before being circulated on social media, was intended to cause offence or distress.

The men handed themselves in shortly after the video came to light and were charged under the Public Order Act.

London’s police, which boasts having 900 specialist “hate crime investigators,” searched a house where the cardboard model of the tower block was burned on Monday, November 5th — the night traditionally when Britons burn effigies in remembrance of the failed gunpowder plot to blow up Parliament.

Police took away two bags of what the BBC described as containing “gaffer tape and white tags” after a two-hour search of the property in South Norwood, south London.

Seventy-two people died in the tower block inferno last June, including children, with survivors urging police to investigate Monday’s incident as a hate crime.

Prime Minister Theresa May called the footage “utterly unacceptable,” while the Justice4Grenfell campaign group said they were “disgusted and shocked at the inhumanity and callousness of those involved in this video.”

However, social commentator Brendan O’Neill warned that “the Metropolitan Police’s promise to investigate the Grenfell Tower bonfire video [may be] more chilling than the video itself.”

“Living in a society that criminalises people for what they say in their own back gardens would be worse, infinitely worse, than living in a society that has small numbers of prejudiced twats who think mocking the Grenfell calamity is funny,” he wrote.

Breitbart London’s James Delingpole added that “Britain is now ruled by virtue-signalling twonks who, in their eagerness to appease the Guardianista chattering classes, have long since abandoned all sense of justice or proportion.”

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