| Love your neighbour…
Not gays, obviously
Harry Taylor left home made posters at Liverpool John Lennon Airport three times in November and December 2008.
The self-styled philosopher was convicted in less than an hour by a unanimous jury.
Among the posters, one image showed a smiling crucified Christ next to an advert for a brand of no nails glue. In another, a cartoon depicted two Muslims holding a placard demanding equality with the caption: Not for women or gays, obviously. Islamic suicide bombers at the gates of paradise were told in another: Stop, stop, we’ve run out of virgins. One image showed a pig excreting sausages with insults to Islam, and others linked Muslims to attacks on airports.
Unemployed Taylor, on medication for depression, said it was preposterous to suggest people could be incited to violence by cartoons.
It emerged that Taylor was previously convicted of similar offences. The previous December he was arrested handing out offensive leaflets in Waterstone’s book store in Deansgate, Manchester. Police discovered he had also visited a nearby Tesco and unplugged the Christmas music because he found it offensive.
Taylor had also visited two city centre churches, St Ann’s Church and St Mary’s, known as the Hidden Gem. Inside he left leaflets including a picture of a monk making a finger gesture with the caption Father Fucker.
Judge James told him: Not only have you shown no remorse for what you did but even now you continue to maintain that you have done nothing wrong and say that whenever you feel like it you intend to do the same thing again in the future.
He was sentenced to six months in jail suspended for two years, ordered to perform 100 hours’ of unpaid work and pay £250 costs. He was also given an Anti-Social Behaviour Order banning him from carrying religiously offensive material in a public place.
Background: Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006
Based on article from opsi.gov.uk
29A Meaning of “religious hatred”
In this Part “religious hatred” means hatred against a group of persons defined by reference to religious belief or lack of religious belief.
Acts intended to stir up religious hatred
29B Use of words or behaviour or display of written material
(1) A person who uses threatening words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, is guilty of an offence if he intends thereby to stir up religious hatred.
29C Publishing or distributing written material
(1) A person who publishes or distributes written material which is threatening is guilty of an offence if he intends thereby to stir up religious hatred.
29J Protection of freedom of expression
Nothing in this Part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents, or of any other belief system or the beliefs or practices of its adherents, or proselytising or urging adherents of a different religion or belief system to cease practising their religion or belief system.
25th April 2010. From freeworld on the Melon Farmers Forum
IMHO having read about this man`s activities and what the legislation actually says, I cannot see how he could have been “safely” convicted under it. He was not being threatening, that is what seems to have to be established for his actions to be illegal under the law, in fact, what he was up to the legislation says is acceptable and not illegal at all-
“Nothing in this Part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents….”
The judge is wrong (are we still allowed to say that?), so were the jury. Such cases starkly illustrate the danger of having imprecise adjective strewn opinion/thought crimes…where does “abuse” or an “expression of antipathy” become the same as a “threat”? A law which you cannot be sure if you are breaking or not/going to be convicted by with the full approval of the judge, should not be a law at all. We now have a number of them. A number of us spent much of our time desperately trying to stop the creation of thought/opinion/taste crime and campaigned against these terrible laws mostly to public indifference.
This case seems to illustrates how important it was that the Waddington amendment was not removed from the “sexual orientation” hate crime legislation, thanks to the House of Lords (the Lords now set for abolition and replacement by commons mark 2 by NL). Straw and sadly I think some of the Lib Dems, wanted this safeguard removed on the grounds that the wording of the law was such that only true “hatemongers” could possibly be convicted through the legislation. The more “safeguards” actually written in the better for an appeal-so I hope the man appeals in this religious case.
Update: Distressed by Catch All Law
26th April 2010. From Harvey on the Melon Farmers Forum
Are we sure that Mr Taylor was convicted of an offence under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act?
The reports suggest the offence was that of intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress, which would be under Part 1 of the Public Order Act 1986.
4A Intentional harassment, alarm or distress
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he—
(a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or
(b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,
thereby causing that or another person harassment, alarm or distress.
It is not necessary for there to be a racial or religious aspect to the offence, but if it is racially or religiously aggravated, it becomes triable in Crown Court and the maximum sentence is increased from 6 months or a fine to up to 7 years.
The Blair government added the racially aggravated aspect in 1998 and extended that to include the religiously aggravated offence in 2001, but the Public Order Act was introduced by the Thatcher government.