Hate Crime plans would erode free speech

Dec 22, 2020 by

from Christian Concern:

Dr Carys Moseley comments on why new proposals to expand the law on hate crime in England and Wales would be disastrous for free speech.

The Law Commission has a consultation open on simplifying and expanding the law on hate crime in England and Wales. These proposals would have a significant negative impact on free speech and freedom of religion. They are just as bad as the proposals in the Scottish Hate Crime Bill tabled by the Scottish Government. They include consolidating existing hate crime law into a single Hate Crime Act and creating the post of Hate Crime Commissioner.

The Law Commission’s consultation document runs to 544 pages. This in itself is unfair as most people, including most churches, will not have the time and energy to respond to everything in it. As the government tends to listen to the Law Commission, there is a real risk that these proposals could become law sooner rather than later. We have responded to this consultation and provide a guide for you to respond as well.

The problem with hate crime legislation

There is a problem with hate crime legislation. The same crime is punished more harshly if courts find they were motivated by hatred on grounds of a small number of characteristics. This means offenders are treated unequally by the law. This sends out the wrong message to criminals. Victims are also treated unequally as a result. Some are effectively given greater protection in law than others. The principle of equality before the law is undermined. Those who are not deemed to have protected characteristics will justifiably feel inadequately protected by the law. The very notion that ‘hate’ motivated a crime rests on perception of victims or others. This is subjective and very hard to prove consistently.

Read here

See also:

Ofcom widens definition of hate speech to include intolerance of transgender issues and other people’s political ‘or any other’ opinionsfrom Mailonline

Free speech includes the right to offend, judges rulefrom Christian Today: Two judges have cleared a woman in a misgendering case that could have far-reaching implications for freedom of speech and policing. Lord Justice Bean and Mr Justice Warby at the Court of Appeal ruled that “free speech encompasses the right to offend, and indeed to abuse another”, The Telegraph reports.

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