Joined: Aug. 01
Hi - I've move the discussion here as it could have taken over the guest book..
Having found the report in 2 tabloid type papers, I was really surprised to see that the Times reported the story as:
'Obscenity' was sign language
By Hannah Hennessy
A DEAF and dumb man who was arrested for making an obscene gesture was actually using sign language to tell police that he could not hear.
Shaun Phurprate, 22, was out celebrating his birthday with his brother, Michael, 20. PC Steve Hawkins told Sunderland Magistrates Court that his patrol car was forced to stop by Mr Phurprate, who had mouthed an obscenity then raised his fingers in an obscene gesture. PC Hawkins told the court that Mr Phurprate had also sworn at him.
Willie Johnstone, for Mr Phurprate, said that his client had made the British sign language signal for I am deaf: lifting two fingers to his ear. Mr Phurprate has been deaf since birth with no speech, so could not have sworn, Mr Johnstone said.
The magistrates took just seconds to clear Shaun Phurprate, of Downhill in Sunderland, of being drunk and disorderly. A charge against Michael Phurprate of causing harassment, alarm or distress was also thrown out.
Even the, what shall I say, more upmarket, papers have used the same offensive phrase.