A former local newspaper journalist claims he has been “gagged” after being given a ten-year anti-social behaviour order for writing ‘offensive’ blogs about members of his local community.
Christopher Perry, 65, who told reporters he used to work for the Liverpool Daily Post and St Helens Reporter, appeared at Hull Magistrates Court on Friday following an application by Humberside Police.
Judge Fred Rutherford said the public needed protecting from him and imposed the ten-year order which bans him from talking to his local Methodist minister among others.
Speaking after the full day hearing Mr Perry, of Wetwang, said the order had effectively ‘gagged’ him and he will now consult with his barrister about the possibility of pursuing a judicial review.
He told the Hull Daily Mail: “This is a gagging order that goes far beyond an Asbo. I think it gives a sign to other people not to complain about things or challenge anything.
“Unfortunately, because of the Leveson inquiry and what happened at the News of the World, all journalists are being tarred with the same brush.”
Mr Perry, who could face five years in prison if he breaks the ban, had told Methodist minister Robert Amos: “I’m going to bring you down by the power of journalism.”
Police got involved days after he published excerpts on local website woldseyeview.com from a document called The Thin Yellow Line, written by a traffic warden in Driffield which accused officers from Humberside Police of covering up a traffic offence committed by a councillor. The site has now been taken down.
The order means he is banned from causing harassment, alarm or distress, entering any private land without permission of the landowner and contacting Richard and Diane Wood, Steven and Myra Poessl, William Buckle and Deborah and Polat Akcicek and the Rev Amos, of Driffield Methodist Church
He was also given a map with an exclusion zone of areas he is not allowed to enter and was made to pay £5,760 in costs to the police.
The Driffield Times and Post reported that despite Mr Perry’s barrister, Brigid Baillie, putting forward an argument for the freedom of expression under article 10 of the European convention of human rights, Judge Rutherford said: “It’s a nonsense to try to hide appalling actions behind article 10 and I have in mind within that ruling the protection of the rights of others from such obvious anti-social behaviour.”
Mr Perry said he spent the last part of his career as a crime researcher, but had previously worked as a local government reporter on the Liverpool Daily Post.