A sandwich shop owner endured eight hours of questioning by police and had his computer seized for three weeks – after making tasteless Nelson Mandela jokes on the internet.
Neil Phillips, who runs Crumbs in Rugeley, Staffordshire, says he was also finger-printed and DNA-swabbed after officers received complaints about what he insists were harmless gags.
In one online post, the 44-year-old wrote: ‘My PC takes so long to shut down I’ve decided to call it Nelson Mandela.’
‘When they took my computer, I thought, “what the hell are they looking for?” To be questioned would have been over the top, never mind arrested.’
You can question the taste, but they’re not hateful. I told the police they got plenty of “likes”. What happened to freedom of speech?
What did happen to freedom of speech? The left happened to it. And it did to freedom of speech what it does to everything else.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Tim Jones was so incensed by the one-liners, aired at a time when Mandela was critically ill, that he made an official complaint.
He commented under one tasteless joke: ‘Attacking a 94-year-old man who is probably dying. Does the far right have an ounce of human decency?’
He said: ‘They are vile and deeply offensive, anti-Muslim, anti-disabled.’
Staffordshire Police declined to go into detail about the nature of their interview with Mr Phillips. But a spokesman said: ‘We can confirm a man was arrested in Rugeley on September 10.
‘He was bailed pending further enquiries.
‘When he answered bail on September 30, he was informed that there would be no further action based on CPS decision of there being insufficient evidence to support a prosecution.’
Freedom of speech 1. Lib dems 0.