Deaf man fined for calling police officer ‘pig’ in sign language

Reuters / Stringer
​A deaf man has been prosecuted for calling a police officer a ‘pig’ in sign language while drunk in a branch of McDonalds, a court heard. Unfortunately for him, the officer understood the gesture.

Police were called to a McDonalds branch in Kendal, northwest England, following claims of a man “causing difficulties,” South Cumbria Magistrates Court heard.

Linley Hassan, 25, of Cumbria, started to get “confrontational” with police, after repeatedly refusing to leave the fast food restaurant.

Prosecutor, Peter Kelly said: “He was making a sign that the officer, who understood sign language, knew to mean ‘pig’."

His defense, John Batty, said “Hassan had a volatile existence of late,” adding the offender had been going to “great lengths” to reduce his alcohol consumption.

The charge has split opinion on social media, with some users calling the case “increasingly ridiculous.”

One user tweeted: “Where is freedom of speech?” adopting the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie, used in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Another user said: “Excellent. Equality before the law.”

What are the odds that the police officer would know what this means?” one user asked.

Insult a policeman in sign language and you’ll be fined too,” another warned.

Hassan, who pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly, was fined and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £30 toward court fees.