A SCOTS anarchist is planning a 'freedom of speech' appeal after being convicted for displaying a political poster in his window which said "F*** Off You Tory C***s".

David McHarg, a member of the Class War Scotland anarchist group was twice arrested during the 2017 UK parliamentary elections after police officers conducted a home visit at his house, claiming they received a complaint over abusive use of language.

He was charged with abusive behaviour in connection with the A4 poster displayed three up in his Dennistoun tenement window.

He has already raised hundreds of pounds in a fund-raiser to challenge his Glasgow Sheriff Court conviction through an appeal. He is also seeking help from Amnesty International and is prepared to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights.


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"This is Scotland 2018 where you cannot express, even offensively, your political expression.  I stated to the judge that I believed he had set a dangerous precedent for Police Scotland.   

He added: "Is it a crime to offend someone? My political expression is my political expression. They have no right to dicate that.

"This is a direct challenge on freedom of speech as far as I am concerned. The words are used on a daily basis on social media, the television and in many art forms by comedians and in song."

Mr McHarg says that during his trial he invoked his Article 10 right to ‘freedom of expression’ under the Human Rights Act 1998.


Class War said the defence was based on the premise that if activists are targeted for protesting or expressing their political views without having offended "then we have a case where the justice and the penal system actively constrains people’s freedom of speech".

The group said the same images of the 'offending' posters were used in their own newspaper and had been on their Facebook site for months now without any action taken or any complaint.

It said people needed to support – activists like McHarg who put their liberty on the line because they believe in "direct action, free speech and in challenging the state".

McHarg was convicted on two charges under Section 38(1) of The Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2012 and sentence was deferred for good behaviour till December 4.

Someone commits an offence under the Act section if they behave in a threatening or abusive manner and that it is behaviour that is likely to cause a reasonable person to suffer fear or alarm.


In a video of the arrest over the display of a poster in a window, police officers told Mr McHarg: "Someone has phoned us about the language that is on the posters. Under Section 38 of The Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2012 you need to remove the signs because... I am asking you nicely to remove your signs..

"Someone has taken offence to it and it is abusive behaviour. If you don't remove the signs, you will be charged with a breach of the peace...due to the language.

"I understand you are trying to get your point across. That's abusive behaviour.

"I have asked you to take the signs down and you've refused to do so."

The police officer told McHarg that he was being arrested for 'obstruction' by not providing her with his details.

Class War Scotland said that it had taken "a bit of a kicking" as a result of the conviction.

"Our member David McHarg was found guilty on two counts – minor offences, if expressing your political freedom in your own living room is even a criminal offence," the group said.

"Despite giving a stunning self-representation, and challenging the prosecution on many levels successfully - David lost the case. CWS (David) will appeal this ruling, as the case should have been 'no case to answer’.

"To be a criminal offence, the complainant has to have been placed in a state of fear or alarm – to which under oath in court the complainant (he waited a week to officially report David to the police, such was his disgust) stated he was 'not put in a state of fear or alarm'.

"In fact one of the officers attending the scene didn’t even see the poster as it was evening and dark!


"We can’t say too much about the proceedings – other than it was the usual judicial pantomime – a one-sided affair, stage-managed by the state……… as we expected!

"But we’re not down and out! CW Scotland will continue to fight this case and seek to overturn David’s conviction while getting justice for the wrongs (and there are many in judicial practice, police procedure, complaint - the list of wrongs against David is endless)!"