Tom Hickman, barrister, Blackstone Chambers

Olympic rights and wrongs

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  • Interesting article; though the suggestion that the courts are saying that a "right to sport" trumps freedom of expression is a bit simplistic and unfair. Even without the Olympics, freedom of expression does not mean the right to trespass or to protest by breaking the law. The Olympics is a huge event that huge numbers of people have put heart and soul into - not just the athletes but also the thousands of ordinary Londoners who are giving up their time by volunteering. Tom H's article doesn't mention them, but there's a real issue here about the insatiable anger and disruptive potential of a small minority spoiling things for the vast majority who are proud that London is hosting the Games and want to enjoy them.

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  • Tom Hickman’s article mentions that the ASBO served on Simon Moore "followed the efforts of three protesters to prevent the erection of a temporary basketball court by the Olympic Development [sic] Authority on Leyton Marsh in Hackney."
    For balance and context (and this is reported), the ASBO was served by the police following Mr Moore's breach of a High Court injunction prohibiting unlawful activity, which led to his arrest for offences under the Public Order Act, of which he was convicted in the Magistrates Court.

    Pieter de Waal
    Head of Legal
    Olympic Delivery Authority

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  • "That this has been done in the name of the Olympic Games - and ­indirectly at least the ’human right’ to engage in sport - is a regrettable further manifestation of the tension between the Olympics and one of the most venerated democratic rights."

    The irony of the Olympic Games touting sport as a human right..... but at the same still allowing the all-male Saudi Arabian team to participate. There is no female Saudi team. The Saudi's don't think that women have a human right to sport!

    I think the Olympics haven't quite reached the grasping-greed-and-corruption levels of FIFA yet but they're not far behind.

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  • Anyone interested to see the legal lengths that the ODA (Odious Destruction Authority [sick] ;) will go to intimidate the local community who oppose this development can visit the the Save Leyton Marsh Campaign website:

    http://saveleytonmarsh.wordpress.com/

    The Evening Standard paper edition reported the potential £335,000 of costs leveled against a local dog-waker who was named as a defendent (although she was unaware of the existence of the injunction) for sitting under a blocked lorry with her son.
    A nasty shock to think you could lose your house for making an impetuous (but ultimately harmless) decision based on a genuine concern for what is happening to local green space you care about.

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  • I have spent the last couple of days digging into the myriad rules and regulations restricting business activities during the Games (sorry, large sporting event involving a number of nations). The 'association' criterion is incredibly broad in scope.
    I entirely understand the need to preserve the Olympic brand for the benefit of the movement and the sponsors/licensees who are footing 97% of the bill, however asking a lingerie shop in Melton Mowbray to take down a window display because the mannequins were wearing Olympic-coloured hula hoops is stretching it! A bit of perspective wouldn't go amiss...

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