Archive for the ‘Law Court Censorship’ Category

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A Propos of Lady Chatterley's Lover and other Essays The obscenity trial over DH Lawrence’s novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover was a national sensation. The 1960 case was also a watershed moment in Britain’s cultural history, when the legacy of Victorian morality was finally overtaken by the liberal attitudes of the Swinging Sixties.Now that book — complete with notes by his wife — has been barred from export because of its cultural significance. The book sold for £56,250 last year and the new owner had planned to take it abroad. UK buyers now have until October to match that sum.

Sir Laurence Byrne and his wife Dorothy made annotations on the copy, marking out sexually explicit passages Sir Laurence Byrne and his wife Dorothy made annotations on the copy, marking out sexually explicit passages

Arts minister Michael Ellis said he hoped a buyer could be found in order to keep this important part of our nation’s history in the UK.

But not to worry, this government is dreaming up lots of new censorship ideas, and no doubt this will lead to lots more trials and prosecutions, and historically significant censorship decisions.

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Old Bailey A man investigated by police over a poem about transgenderism is launching a landmark High Court case to overhaul unfair police rules on hate crimes.Harry Miller is to seek a judicial review of the hate crime guidelines followed by police forces across Britain, claiming they are unlawful because they inhibit freedom of expression.

He argues that the current guidance, published by the College of Policing in 2014, the body responsible for training officers, promotes the recording of incidents as hate crimes even when there is no evidence of hate beyond the opinion of an accuser.

Miller’s legal team has highlighted a clause in the rules that state such incidents must be recorded by officers irrespective of any evidence to identify the hate element.

Miller is also challenging a decision by Humberside Police to record his re-tweeting of the poem as a hate incident — despite officers concluding that no crime had been committed.

He was quizzed by Humberside Police in January after posting the verse about men who transition to be women, which included the lines: You’re a man … And we can tell the difference … Your hormones are synthetic. He said he was dumbfounded by the exchange and furious when he found out that his sharing of the verse had been recorded as a hate incident.

Explaining his reasons for launching legal action, the businessman told the Mail on Sunday:

It is about the ability to have freedom of speech within the law and being allowed to have a debate without one group being able to call on the police to shut another group down.

Free speech is being closed down by a climate of fear and secrecy and the police are contributing to this Orwellian culture.

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count dankula pug video A man who suffered a miscarriage of justice after being convicted for a joke has been refused permission to appeal against a conviction for supposedly causing gross offence.

Mark Meechan, who blogs under the name Count Dankula, was fined £800 in April after being found guilty under the Communications Act over a  video joke in which he trained his girlfriend’s dog to perform Nazi salutes.

A letter from the court claimed the appeal was not arguable and in each of its elements is wholly misconceived. It also dismissed arguments made by Meechan’s lawyers over the judge’s handling of witness evidence at Airdrie Sheriff Court in March and the meaning of grossly offensive. The letter said:

The appeal against conviction is without merit. Likewise the appeal against sentence is not arguable — this was a deeply unpleasant offence in which disgraceful and utterly offensive material was very widely distributed by the appellant, it said. This was to the considerable distress of the community in question and — just as disturbingly — to the apparent approval of a large number of persons who appear to share the appellant’s racist views.

Indeed it must be observed that in the circumstance the appellant was fortunate that the learned sheriff was not considering custody as an option.

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1011 intent to survive video Five gang members caught with machetes and baseball bats have been banned from making drill music glorifying violence.Members of the 1011 gang were jailed or detained for conspiracy to commit violent disorder, in Notting Hill.

The Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs), thought to be the first of their kind, bans the group from mentioning death or injury in songs or on social media. Three leaders will also be required to inform police of new music videos and upcoming performances.

Recorder Ann Mulligan at Kingston Crown Court issued the three-year CBOs, following an application by the Metropolitan Police’s Trident gang unit.

Mic, a rapper and producer form north London, said the order sets an ugly precedent. He said:

There is a censorship problem in the country. There are a lot of young musicians in this country whose only outlet for expressing themselves is music. It might be violent but what do you expect in the Britain we’re in right now?

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alison chabloz videoA woman has been convicted for performing offensive songs that included lyrics denying the Holocaust.Alison Chabloz sang her compositions at a meeting of the far-right London Forum group.

A judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court found Chabloz had violated laws criminalising offence and intended to insult Jewish people.

District judge John Zani delayed her sentencing until 14 June but told the court: On the face of it this does pass the custody threshold.

Chabloz, a Swiss-British dual national, had uploaded tunes to YouTube including one defining the Nazi death camp Auschwitz as a theme park just for fools and the gas chambers a proven hoax. The songs remain available on YouTube.

The songs were partly set to traditional Jewish folk music, with lyrics like: Did the Holocaust ever happen? Was it just a bunch of lies? Seems that some intend to pull the wool over our eyes.

Adrian Davies, defending, previously told the judge his ruling would be a landmark one, setting a precedent on the exercise of free speech.

But Judge Zani said Chabloz failed by some considerable margin to persuade the court that her right to freedom of speech should provide her with immunity from prosecution. He said:

I am entirely satisfied that she will have intended to insult those to whom the material relates. Having carefully considered all evidence received and submissions made, I am entirely satisfied that the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.

Chabloz was convicted of two counts of causing an offensive, indecent or menacing message to be sent over a public communications network after performing two songs at a London Forum event in 2016. As there wa nothing indecent or menacing in the songs, Chabloz was convicted for an offensive message.

See The Britisher for an eloquent and passionate defence of free speech.

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Old BaileyA businessman fighting for the right to be forgotten has won a UK High Court action against Google.The unnamed businessman who won his case was convicted 10 years ago of conspiring to intercept communications. He spent six months in jail. He as ked Google to delete online details of his conviction from Google Search but his request was turned down.

The judge, Mr Justice Mark Warby, ruled in his favour on Friday.

But he rejected a separate but similar claim made by another businessman who had committed a more serious crime. The other businessman, who lost his case, was convicted more than 10 years ago of conspiring to account falsely. He spent four years in jail.

Google said it would accept the rulings.

We work hard to comply with the right to be forgotten, but we take great care not to remove search results that are in the public interest, it said in a statement:

We are pleased that the Court recognised our efforts in this area, and we will respect the judgements they have made in this case.’

Explaining the decisions made on Friday, the judge said one of the men had continued to mislead the public while the other had shown remorse.

But how is Google the right organisation to arbitrate on matters of justice where it is required to examine the level of remorse shown by those requesting censorship?

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count dankula pug video A man who filmed a pet dog giving Nazi salutes before putting the footage on YouTube has been convicted of committing a hate crime.Mark Meechan recorded his girlfriend’s pug, Buddha, responding to statements such as gas the Jews and Sieg Heil by raising its paw.

It is interesting to note that the British press carefully avoided informing readers of Meechan’s now well known Youtube name, Count Dankula.

The original clip had been viewed more than three million times on YouTube. It is still online on Youtube albeit in restricted mode where it is not included in searches and comments are not accepted.

Meechan went on trial at Airdrie Sheriff Court where he denied any wrong doing. He insisted he made the video, which was posted in April 2016, to annoy his girlfriend Suzanne Kelly, 29.

But Sheriff Derek O’Carroll found him guilty of a charge under the Communications Act that he posted a video on social media and YouTube which O’Carroll claimed to be grossly offensive because it was anti-semitic and racist in nature and was aggravated by religious prejudice.

Meechan will be sentenced on 23rd April but has hinted in social media that court officials are looking into some sort of home arrest option.

Comedian Ricky Gervais took to Twitter to comment on the case after the verdict. He tweeted:

A man has been convicted in a UK court of making a joke that was deemed ‘grossly offensive’. If you don’t believe in a person’s right to say things that you might find ‘grossly offensive’, then you don’t believe in Freedom of Speech.

Yorkshire MP Philip Davies has demanded a debate on freedom of speech. Speaking in the House of Commons, hesaid:

We guard our freedom of speech in this House very dearly indeed…but we don’t often allow our constituents the same freedoms. Can we have a debate about freedom of speech in this country – something this country has long held dear and is in danger of throwing away needlessly?

Andrea Leadsom, leader of the Commons, responded that there are limits to free speech:

I absolutely commend (Mr Davies) for raising this very important issue. We do of course fully support free speech …HOWEVER… there are limits to it and he will be aware there are laws around what you are allowed to say and I don’t know the circumstances of his specific point, but he may well wish to seek an adjournment debate to take this up directly with ministers.

Comment: Freedom of expression includes the right to offend

index logo See article from indexoncensorship.org

Index on Censorship condemns the decision by a Scottish court to convict a comedian of a hate crime for teaching his girlfriend’s dog a Nazi salute.

Mark Meechan, known as Count Dankula, was found guilty on Tuesday of being grossly offensive, under the UK’s Communications Act of 2003. Meechan could be sentenced with up to six months in prison and be required to pay a fine.

Index disagrees fundamentally with the ruling by the Scottish Sheriff Appeals Court. According to the Daily Record, Judge Derek O’Carroll ruled: The description of the video as humorous is no magic wand. This court has taken the freedom of expression into consideration. But the right to freedom of expression also comes with responsibility. Defending everyone’s right to free speech must include defending the rights of those who say things we find shocking or offensive

Index on Censorship chief executive Jodie Ginsberg said: Numerous rulings by British and European courts have affirmed that freedom of expression includes the right to offend. Defending everyone’s right to free speech must include defending the rights of those who say things we find shocking or offensive. Otherwise the freedom is meaningless.

One of the most noted judgements is from a 1976 European Court of Human Rights case, Handyside v. United Kingdom, which found: Freedom of expression206is applicable not only to ‘information’ or ‘ideas’ that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population.

the britisher video Video Comment: Count Dankula has been found guilty

See video from YouTube by The Britisher

A powerful video response to another step in the decline of British free speech.