25 February 2007

Rory Bremner and Margaret Becket

The papers have been full this weekend of the "sting" on Margaret Becket by Rory Bremner who duped her into thinking he was Gordon Brown before she went on to say a number of mildly degrogatory things about some of her cabinet colleagues.

The stories I have seen have focussed on Ofcom's refusal to allow this to be broadcast, as it breaches its guidelines. Guidelines, indeed. What about the Fraud Act 2006 (which has, in this respect, replaced the Theft Act). Section 2 reads:

"2 Fraud by false representation
(1) A person is in breach of this section if he-
(a) dishonestly makes a false representation, and
(b) intends, by making the representation-
(i) to make a gain for himself or another, or
(ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.

(2) A representation is false if-
(a) it is untrue or misleading, and
(b) the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading.

(3) "Representation" means any representation as to fact or law, including a representation as to the state of mind of-
(a) the person making the representation, or
(b) any other person.

(4) A representation may be express or implied.

(5) For the purposes of this section a representation may be regarded as made if it (or anything implying it) is submitted in any form to any system or device designed to receive, convey or respond to communications (with or without human intervention).

As much as I like Rory Bremner and would hate to see him prosecuted over this, I would have thought he is bang to rights if anyone thinks of making a complaint to the boys in blue. Presumably he gets paid for his work, so he was (potentially) intending "to make a gain for himself" - and if the statements made were more juicy, he could be found to have "caused a loss to another". The false representation bit is beyond doubt.... Maybe Rory might be a bit more careful in future - and if I am right, it could be the end of Sasha Baron Cohen's career as well.

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