John Pilger: A Nod and a Wink TV -
A law made before the Middle Ages and never sanctioned by parliament has been dug up quite recently to be used virtually unchanged as a tool of suppression. Let’s be quite clear. This law can affect us all ... At your trial you can be convicted on rumours, on who you are, on how you live, on what your friends are. Conspiracy, an English judge said recently, can amount to a nod and a wink. John Pilger, A Nod and a Wink, ITV 1975
At dawn one morning last October the Special Branch raided the London offices of Peace News: they found a pile of leaflets and a member of the staff John Hyatt asleep. The leaflets belonged to the British Withdrawal From Northern Island Campaign. And Hyatt was arrested and eventually charged along with thirteen others of Conspiracy to Incite Disaffection Against Soldiers. ibid.
These laws are a dragnet, a perfect weapon to use against critics of the prevailing order and political opposition ... A great many lawyers are appalled by the use of the conspiracy laws ... used to intimidate and silence all kinds of dissent ... The conspiracy laws can in effect by used to invent new crimes. Indeed the application of these laws is unlimited, and they are in my view bad laws. ibid.