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An important judicial decision on police powers

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Morninglover, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. Morninglover

    Morninglover Lead commenter

    At least I think so!

    Harry Miller: Police probe into 'transphobic' tweets unlawful

    "The police response to an ex-officer's allegedly transphobic tweets was unlawful, the High Court has ruled.

    Harry Miller, from Lincolnshire, was visited by Humberside Police at work in January last year after a complaint about his tweets.

    He was told he had not committed a crime, but it would be recorded as a non-crime "hate incident".

    The court found the force's actions were a "disproportionate interference" on his right to freedom of expression.

    Speaking after the ruling, Mr Miller said: "This is a watershed moment for liberty - the police were wrong to visit my workplace, wrong to 'check my thinking'."

    His solicitor Paul Conrathe added: "It is a strong warning to local police forces not to interfere with people's free speech rights on matters of significant controversy."

    'Orwellian society'

    Mr Justice Julian Knowles said the effect of police turning up at Mr Miller's place of work "because of his political opinions must not be underestimated".

    He added: "To do so would be to undervalue a cardinal democratic freedom.

    "In this country we have never had a Cheka, a Gestapo or a Stasi. We have never lived in an Orwellian society."


    "In one tweet Mr Miller wrote: "I was assigned mammal at birth, but my orientation is fish. Don't mis-species me."

    This tweet was among several others which were reported to Humberside Police as being allegedly transphobic".

    TheoGriff, nomad, Jamvic and 3 others like this.
  2. Ellakits

    Ellakits Senior commenter

    The judge ruled that the recording of non-crime hate incidents is lawful. These do not have to be revealed to the accused, there’s no right of challenge and they show up on an enhanced DBS.

    Harry Miller is apparently going to challenge this in an appeal.

    The concept of a NCHI is terrifying, and clearly open to abuse.
  3. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Which the courts have ruled can go straight to the Supreme Court.
    nomad likes this.
  4. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    Have none of these people read 1984? We now have thought crimes as an actual thing. Thank goodness for brave people like Harry Miller who are standing up for all our rights.
    Jamvic likes this.
  5. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    We live in a strange world, where a person can be criticised for saying a woman is a woman, and another can be above comment for saying that a woman is s man.

    I find the idea of 'hate' crime ridiculous. What are other crimes then? 'Like' crimes? Isn't most crime committed from a position of at best indifference and at worst hate? A crime should be a crime, and not-a-crime should not be a police matter.
    towncryer, alex_teccy and nomad like this.
  6. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    I found this quite chilling, from the link in the OP.

    He said only one person, known in court as Mrs B, had complained about the tweets and they had been recorded as a hate incident "without any critical scrutiny...or any assessment of whether what she was saying was accurate".

    So based on that one, unexamined complaint the police visited this man’s workplace and made statements about potential future prosecution. Do the police not actually investigate things in any meaningful way any more?
  7. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Established commenter

    Jamvic likes this.
  8. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    I can kind of see why they might record such non-crimes, though I'm not entirely convinced.

    However, I really don't see why they should become part of people's DBS checks, given they are not crimes nor even cautions.
    Jamvic and Morninglover like this.
  9. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    It is particularly alarming when a scientifically true and straight forward statement, such as "women don't have penises" can be considered "hate speak"
    vannie, border_walker, Jamvic and 2 others like this.
  10. Ellakits

    Ellakits Senior commenter

    Under the guidance there doesn’t have to be any proof of any hate, nor in fact that the incidents took place at all. They are non-crimes of perception, based entirely on one person’s interpretation. If someone perceives something to be motivated by hate, then it is. Regardless of whether that was actually the case or not.

    It doesn’t have to be a comment, it can be a look, a movement, a sound, a facial expression.

    Give a disparaging look to someone getting too close who hasn’t washed for six months? If that person is disabled and decides that the disgusted look on your face is because they’re in a wheelchair and reports this to the police, then that is recorded as a non-crime hate incident.

    As the accused is not routinely informed of the accusation and so has no opportunity to refute it, it’s obvious NCHIs aren’t investigated for their veracity at all.
    Corvuscorax likes this.
  11. Morninglover

    Morninglover Lead commenter

    It's a lot easier for a police officer to 'action' something like this, and claim they have been successful (good for the stats) than actually solving a mugging, burglary etc.
    Ellakits likes this.
  12. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    And there doesn't necessarily have to be any real perception. Because so-called hate crimes can be recorded anonymously on the WWW, without evidence, it has long been suspected that the system has been used maliciously to accuse ex-husbands and ex-wives who are in dispute, landlords and teachers who are disliked, and anybody who someone bears a grudge against.

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