A jury took 40 minutes to find a man not guilty of sending grossly offensive emails to a police officer calling her “fatty” and “useless”.
William Beswick was cleared of the offences at Grimsby Crown Court after sending the emails in question to PC Julia Acaster while she was investigating claims he himself was the victim of harassment.
However, PC Acaster’s efforts in the case were deemed ineffective by Mr Beswick, and the exchanges became fraught.
After sending several insults, Beswick found himself in crown court facing charges, something he described as a complete over-reaction and a waste of taxpayers’ money, reports GrimsbyLive.
The policewoman’s indignant objections to the words were branded “nonsense” and she was told she surely would have regularly heard far worse language at football matches and on rowdy Saturday nights in her 20 years of police work.
Mr Beswick, 50, denied sending PC Julia Acaster emails which were grossly offensive in March of this year.
A jury of nine men and three women took barely 40 minutes of deliberations before clearing Mr Beswick.
The quick result to reject the officer’s complaint came as no surprise to anyone in court, especially as some of the jury had been seen grinning and trying to suppress smiles during the case.
Laura McBride, prosecuting, said that PC Acaster was asked to investigate claims from Mr Beswick that he was the victim of harassment but he later became unhappy with the way the matter was progressing and blamed PC Acaster.
He sent what the prosecution claimed were abusive and grossly offensive emails calling her a “fat fool” and a “useless ****” as well as making veiled threats.
In one message, he asked her: “Do you like being abused, fatty?”
The prosecution claimed that the purpose of the emails was to cause PC Acaster distress and anxiety but Mr Beswick did not accept that they were grossly offensive.
Defence barrister Craig Lowe asked PC Acaster how long she had been in the police and whether she had ever had to attend football matches or disturbances in towns on Saturday nights when people were “kicking off” when they were coming out of pubs.
She said she had been in the police for about 20 years and had experience of these situations.
Mr Lowe asked if she was actually grossly offended by emails in which the accused used the C-word and the F-word and called her useless.
“You were grossly offended by them?” said Mr Lowe. “Being called f***ing useless grossly offended you, did it?”
PC Acaster replied: “Yes, it did.”
‘I would arrest them’
Mr Lowe said: “That sort of language is something you encounter fairly often in your role.
“If someone says ‘f***’ or ‘****’, that’s a public order offence, is it? Every time someone says that, it’s committing an offence?”
PC Acaster replied: “If someone said that to me in public, I would arrest them.”
She insisted that it would amount to a public order offence.
“It was giving me anxiety,” she claimed. “I made a complaint against him.”
She claimed that she thought that Mr Beswick was suggesting in the supposed veiled threats that he would stab her.
‘You fat fool’
Mr Lowe asked: “He was basically calling you ‘fatty’. Did that bother you?”
She replied: “Yes, it’s offensive.”
Mr Lowe said: “You get called a lot worse than ‘fatty’ when you are out on the beat.”
He asked her if being called “useless” and “fatty” had thrown her into such a state of distress that she felt she had to tell her inspector about the matter. She was later taken off the case.
He asked PC Acaster how she felt about being called “you fat fool” by Mr Beswick.
She replied: “Offended.”
He told the jury that the words might be unpleasant and abusive but they were not grossly offensive.
He said of the stronger language used: “It’s not an offence to say that. People use it in everyday language.”
Mr Lowe said that the jury might think that the officer’s claims were “nonsense” and claimed of one of the words: “It’s there everywhere, that particular word.”
It was true that Mr Beswick could be “very difficult” and “robust” but in the emails he was trying to “gee up the police to get them to do their job properly” and get them to do something about his complaint because they had supposedly done nothing for several months.
PC Acaster must hear words such as those Mr Beswick used on a daily basis, said Mr Lowe.
“It happens because it’s the real world,” he said.
“All he wanted to do was to gee up the police and get some progress. He wasn’t being grossly offensive.”
What Mr Beswick said
After the jury’s decision to clear him after only a short period of deliberation, Mr Beswick told the jury: “May God bless you all. Thank you very much.”
He smiled as he told the judge: “Justice has been well done. That’s put a little bit of faith back in justice for me.”
Outside court, he said “It was a farce. She should be more resilient as a police officer.
“I was being harassed. The police did nothing about it so I ended up in court.
“I have been found not guilty. What a waste of taxpayers’ money.”
He claimed: “They came four-handed to arrest me and dragged me out of bed.”