29 APRIL 1955, Page 7

IN THIS COUNTRY you can say what you like, but

you cannot listen to what you like. The case of the Army officer hauled up before the Bench the other day for the crime of listening to police-car broadcasts is illuminating. This officer was driving along a quiet country road when he discovered an injured woman lying by the roadside. He stopped and gave what help he could; and then he switched on the high-frequency receiver in his car (he had bought this receiver in Germany, where high-frequency broadcasting is common) to find out whether there were any police-cars in the vicinity. In due course a policeman appeared. Whatever he thought of the officer's prompt action in bringing help to the injured woman, he was outraged to hear those forbidden noises coming from the inside of the car. And so the officer duly found himself in court for his pains. Ignorance is no defence, of course (not even against such a nonsensical law as this), but I was relieved to see that on this occasion the Bench pleaded ignorance as great as that of the accused.