By Hamish Mackay
A Scottish weekly newspaper editor facing prosecution under Britain's anti-racism laws has had the charges dropped by the Crown.
Buchan, publisher and editor of the Aberdeenshire-based North East
Weekly free newspaper, said the decision was a victory for commonsense,
the freedom of the press and the right to free speech.
Buchan, 46, was arrested in August in connection with the publication
of an editorial in the June issue of the newspaper - headlined
'Perverts and Refugees'.
The article highlighted growing local
concerns that the redundant military base at RAF Buchan could become
the site of Scotland's first refugee camp.
And Buchan claimed
that people in rural England were rebelling against the establishment
of large refugee centres holding up to 5,000 immigrants "because they
were fully aware that their communities would be swamped and turned
into cesspools and ghettos where murder, rape, robbery, assault,
break-ins and numerous other crimes became prevalent".
charged under Section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986 which gives the
police powers to arrest any person whom they suspect of publishing or
distributing written material that is threatening, abusive, or
insulting and intended to stir up racial hatred.
Crown Office has now ruled: "After careful consideration of the
evidence, the decision has been taken not to proceed in this case."
whose publication has a circulation of around 10,000, told Press
Gazette: "I am obviously relieved. The outcome could have been a prison
sentence. It was a daunting situation and I could have lost my business
and everything else.
"But the dropping of the case, even before it went to trial, can only be seen as a victory for commonsense and free speech.
I had been prosecuted, it would have stopped not just me, but the whole
of the press and media, from raising justifiable concerns about issues
Buchan said he bitterly resented being branded a racist.
people who know me up here know I am not a racist. I have very good
relations with all the local community - the Chinese and Asians - and
anybody who sat down and spoke with me would know I don't have a racist
bone in my whole body."
He said he had been inundated with messages of support from across the world following media coverage of his arrest.