This is ridiculous.
Daniel Thomas is a bigot and a moron, but he wrote a stupid, bigotted comment on a social networking site.
He did not engage in violence, nor did he incite violence.
I think that after the riots of last summer the police have decided that Twitter is dangerous and that anything deemed offensive will mean that you get arrested.
Watch now how bigots far more dangerous than this imbecile footballer will use his arrest as evidence of how gays are destroying freedom of speech.
I cannot believe how stupid the police are being.
as a police officer I can see the obvious problems here. ANYONE can complain about a hate crime, it does not have to be the victim/recipient. The problem the police are going to have at this point is that they have a malicious communications offence (mal comms act has been in place since 1988, it is hardly new) which is now a hate crime. Ethical crime reporting means that that crime must be recorded, no ifs or buts – recording a hate crime will also attract internal policies that stipulate certain investigation standards.
Can you imagine the victims thoughts, the public perception and the press uproar should the police turn around and refuse to investigate a hate crime? It is no different to a race/religious/disability hate crime – it should be investigated and as it is a hate crime will be reviewed by CPS before prosecution, they might decide it not in the public interest to prosecute.
The police are not sitting browsing twitter all day looking for someone to lock up.
But what he did was post a stupid, bigotted comment.
He did NOT commit a hate crime.
The perception now will be that the police (on behalf of the Big Brother state) are becoming the thought police.
This is a truly disgraceful arrest. Do the police have nothing else to do?
how are you sure it was not a crime?
Any person who sends to another person….any article or electronic communication which is, in whole or part, of an indecent or grossly offensive nature. S1 Malicious Communications Act.
“If there is any consolation for finishing fourth at least Daley and Waterfield can go and bum each other #teamHIV.”
If you look at the definition of indecent I would say you have met that. The courts test is that of a reasonable person, would a reasonable person say that comment was indecent? I would say probably yes.
You can think what you want about the arrest but it does not mean he has been convicted and locked away, I would arrest in the same circumstances as there are certain legal powers that can only be done after arrest (perhaps a search for a computer, to prove where the tweet came from).
Have the police got nothing else to do? No. The moment you mention hate crime (which you say it is not, quite simply it is) you see my sergeant panic.
Clearly the police have nothing to do then.
You refer to the “Big Brother” state sanctioning the arrest of someone who carried out a homophobic hate crime by verbally abusing a complete stranger.
So this Big Brother state that is overreacting to homophobia … who is in charge of it? Could it be the Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron? You know: the leader of the party that you denigrate as being largely populated by “neo-fascist bigots”? And they are running the heavy-handed “Big Brother” state that is having people arrested for homophobic acts that you think should go unpunished?
What a complicated picture you paint. Any chance there might be some inconsistency in that picture of yours?
It was not a hate crime – it was a mean and abusive comment.
By making his comment into a hate crime it trivialises real hate crimes.
It is accurate to describe a politician who is responsible for public policy and who thinks a law abiding minority deserves less civil rights than everyone else a ‘neo-fascist bigot’.
However this foorballer is not an elected public representative and the medium in which he insulted Daiey was Twitter.
Can you grasp the difference?
But he didn’t just think it.
Its time the police took a fair and reasoned approach to tackle that behaviour which is irresponsible and perpetuates a message that racism and homophobia are acceptable.
I find it disgraceful that LGBT people, albeit probably not intentionally, seek to encourage such irresponsibility in their quest for freedom to insult others.
Its a horrifically inhumane and irresponsible attitude and is condoning homophobia.
And as a police officer, you should be dealing with REAL crime, you (the police in general) have left this person (in my comment below) absolutely scared out of her mind about her safety and her childrens safety for a year now, all because you cant prove anything .. because its on facebook and twitter mainly .. when really, as you prove with this ‘Celebrity’, you could have, you just really cannot be arsed to do anything for any normal people any more.
It seems the only time we hear of the police doing their job is when a celebrity is involved oh not forgetting when they go all power mental and start beating up people at riots, people who do nothing, just because they can.
It’s appauling, the police should all be sacked, re-interviewed, vetted and started over with people who do it for the right reason!
Well don’t I appear to have stirred the pot up.
What is your definition of a “real” crime? I would be interested to know, behind every crime is a victim who for whatever reasons have decided to report it to the police – for all I and you know they might be distressed at this comment, why is it not a “real” crime to them like it is in your harassment example? It does not have to be Tom Daley that reports this to the police – it could be and is most likely to be someone else in the country.
All I will say is that there are 140,000 odd police officers in the UK, how do you know how I would investigate a facebook harassment like in your example? I have investigated them in the past and indeed have one on the go at the minute, with for the most part good results for the victim – whilst I have no idea what has gone on in your case all I would say is if you feel that it has been inadequately investigated then complain to the forces complaints department or the IPCC.
Well said, a
Ethical crime recording would require any person making a complaint of a hate crime (which malicious communications can be) to have the matter recorded. All relevant investigations should then be carried out expeditiously to try and detect the crime and hold the possible offender to account. Not all investigations will be successful, but efforts should be made to ensure success.
I know I did investigate a number of internet based harassments and malicious communications when I was a police officer, and they are not unusual matters for front line officers to deal with. Of course, like any group of large numbers of people some out of the 100,000 or so police officers will not respond as fully or appropriately as others – and those that do not deserve investigation by the IPCC, their force or other means.
I do think that guidance from the CPS/DPP might be useful in determining what the public interest test might be in these matters – but without that guidance a crime
You’re a polceman.
Like all police your primary loyalty is to the police.
Logic and reason and common sense seem to have abandoned you.
Although considering how institutionally homophobic the police remain perhaps this is a deliberate tactic on the part of the police.
Arrest some idiot for making a mean comment in he full knowledge that the press and public will blame the gay community.
that is alleged needs to be both recorded and investigated. The old tired argument of “don’t you have better things to do eg catch rapists and murderers” just doesn’t wash. Its an argument all police officers will have heard time and again – often from those caught red handed commiting traffic offences or urinating in a public place etc. If people behaved with responsibility then the police would not need to investigate complaints – because the complaints would not be made about social media malicious communications.
I must agree in part. If this was me or John Doe and we went to the police we would be told there is nothing that can be done.
Yes it is horrible what was said but feel it is only being treated in this way because right now the eyes of the greater world are watching . Once the worlds press go away then thing’s will go back to normal .
But on one hand if this had to happen then it is good it happened to celebrities as now at least some focus is being put on gay rights or lack off.
Some media is better then no media !
Well when I was assaulted last year and in hospital for five weeks – not only did I get a very sympathetic response from the police, they although investigated thoroughly and apprehended those who attacked me. They were taken to court and convicted of the assault on me, and other matters.
I still get occasional contact from the police to see if I need any more support.
So, not all police are like you portray them.
I would suggest that given the UK has one of the highest detection rates for homicide in the world, that there is a hefty number of officers who work diligently and professionally – and I am sure it is not just those I encountered or murder squads but many other officers too.
Why should religion be caught up in this? I hate all religion and consider the Danish Cartoonists to be heroes of free expression.
I certainly think that (from what I know of the Danish cartoonists case and others) some of these matters are remarkable examples of display of free expression.
However, whether or not you, I or anyone else agrees with it; there are laws in place that prohibit incitement of hatred on grounds of race, religion, homophobia etc. Targetting the police for investigating crimes that the law stands against is not the correct arena to address it. Campaigns should be targetted towards the law makers not the law enforcers.
There is a balance to be achieved to ensure freedom of expression and freedom of speech – but equally ensure freedom from oppression from others in society.
No idea why anyone is marking this comment down – its a factual and fair comment.
Sure. Encourage society to allow bigots to continue abusing people – including complete strangers – with homophobic language, without any threat of sanction from the law. That’s really great for LGBT people, especially children putting up with the homophobic language and bullying that is rife in schools. Of course, this kind of language and abuse is entirely unconnected with the fact that LGBT children and adults have a significantly higher experience of depressive and anxiety disorders, and a higher suicide rate, than our heterosexual peers.
The Police are absolutely right to make an arrest, and the law is absolutely right to empower them to do so.
Oh, and they are doing so under the Coalition Government, by the way: where the majority are Conservatives. You know, that “nasty” party that you think is populated by so many “neo-fascist bigots” who would feel so much more at home in the BNP. Strange, that.
Such an intellectual contribution.
What is wrong?
Why is it wrong?
What is your evidence to support this proposition?
How did you reach these conclusions?
Or are one words of gut feeling all you are capable of?
Such clear and dynamic eloquence and intelligence – not!
Why would I agree to debate a person incapable of seeing another point of view. You are resigned to your own moral righteousness and you are also CONTRIBUTING to bullying and homophobia.
“He did not engage in violence, nor did he incite violence.”
You might think this but by LAW he did. You dont make the Law, I dont make the Law the courts do. You dont seem to understand that the police act according to the Law. Your being very judgemental without any regard for the facts nor understand of what the law is and what police do or from what systems they work from.
Your views are your views . But this is mine !!
Well said, Lance
The law clearly says malicious communications are a criminal offence – whether you, I or anyone else agrees with that or not.
Not only do none of the armchair commentators on here (including you and me) make the law, they do not decide how to enforce it. The police have a duty to enforce laws (even those they disagree with).
We do not know the full facts (indeed the police investigating may not know the full facts as yet – and they have the benefit of extra analysis that media reports will not give!).
The full facts may be that this matter is more significant that the medi, and any of us, are currently aware. It may not.
Regardless, an allegation has been made and the police must record and investigate it.
I agree Lance, with one exception – laws are made by Parliament, not by courts; courts may decide to ‘interpret’ laws Parliament has made, I agree.
Thanks to both. Bill yes House of Lord and so on make Laws but precedence is set in courts …that in itself is laws being made .
actually Parliament makes the law – the courts implement it
moot point, its always being debated if the courts are merely implementing laws or if they are in fact creating laws by interpreting it past the paper its written on.
I’m all for tactless a-holes being banned from Twitter (or, indeed, just from ever opening their mouths or having access to a keyboard :D ) but how is this malicious?
Likely untrue re their sexuality? Probably (alas!)
Likely untrue about their HIV status? Almost certainly.
So, other than being bloody annoying, where’s the menace?
After first tweet the reaction form other people was to send death tweets . I dont use tweeter . But his the footballer’s comment insight violence. Before any one says well the individuals that sent the death threats are that are problem…in Law it was because they reacted to the first comment from the footballer .
It is precisely this type of activity that lead to one of my two friends who were bullied and committed suicide to take their life.
If you feel such behaviour is acceptable and that the death of my friend is a reasonable cost to ensure freedom of speech, then you malign humanity and you teach my friend as dirt.
You disgust me.
I disagree, obviously the police can’t intervene every time someone posts something hateful online but when it is such a high profile person with so many followers I think it is right and proper for the police to get involved, it sends a clear message that his actions were not appropriate.
It sickens me (much as I like Tom) that one person makes one comment to him and he gets arrested, whilst I know someone who is and has been stalked for nearly a year now, had their cat killed and laid out in their garden after a profile of it was made on facebook, having her kids threatened, Being basically harrassed on a daily basis and the police do SOD ALL!!
But because Tom is in the public eye, someone says one thing, and it’s insta-arrest !?
I’m sure Danny Boyle will get the offenders to do some jazz hands style apology at the closing game- its all about “being inclusive n’ stuff”.
Well if you can do a better job
This is pathetic.
They are doing the right things, but for all the wrong reasons.
There is a huge divide between calling somebody a few names and a true ‘hate crime’.
This really is political correctness gone mad, and somebody needs to put the brakes on or we will end up like some countries where one is afraid to say anything in public for fear of offending the wrong people and getting banged up.
Thank you Spanner!
people are allowed to say most things except in the few occassions where it is reduced or prevented by law. When you call someone ‘a few names’ because you hate that section of society such as black people, muslims, those that suffer from persecution often even if they have done nothing wrong then that is a hate crime. There is no need for it.
So if I say that I believe homosexuality is against my religion, so I do not support it, does that make me a) homophobic? b) Malicious or hateful?
There is a big difference between an insult and a personal opinion, and it seems that many people choose to blur this distinction.
There certainly is a distinction. That is why CPS/DPP guidance would be useful.
However, whilst it is important to ensure freedom of expression, freedom of speech and indeed freedom of (and from) religion – it is also important to balance into this mix freedom from oppression of others. Too often people utilise their claimed rights to free speech or expression to oppress others by using their “rights” irresponsibly.
@ David . The law was broken in 2 part .He broke it under the :The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
“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.”
The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.
The amended Part 3A adds, for England and Wales, the offence of inciting hatred on the ground of sexual orientation.
Both Act’s being in places well before the riots .
There is also a difference in “Hate crime ” acts and “Hate speech” acts of Law. This is a hate speech …as a Hate crime is seen in law as a physical act such as physical assault, damage to property . If it was offensive graffiti on say a garden wall it would be both ” Hate Speech” and “Hate crime” .
Every one seem’s to be for getting that Tom was one person in this …what about the other diver who was insulted ???
There’s another diver??? :P
There is no such thing as a “hate” crime or “hate” speech.
Clearly you are not an expert in the law of England & Wales then, colonelkira – because I can assure you hate crime and hate speech very much do exist.
No they don’t. But keep on telling yourself that.
Well the Crown Prosecution Service and Director of Public Prosecutions disagree with you:
Other leading agencies and individuals in law also believe hate speech and hate crime exist:
Ministry of Justice
I tend to agree with them that hate crime exists – as does hate speech. I do not need to keep telling myself it does – because it is a fact.
You keep beliieving in a world without responsibility, if you must.
The CPS and the DPP can disagree with me all they want……they simply do not exist! It’s a creation of an overeager, politically correct society.
And please do not use an emotional knee jerk response by way of creating something that simply does not exist. I never stated anything about a world without responsibility, and you bely your true nature, and ineffectiveness in debating a topic by stooping to such sad levels.
Please evidence how your legal knowledge is superior to that of the CPS and DPP.
Furthermore, I was not resorting to “emotion” as you put it. I was resorting to philosophical argument. Rights do carry responsibilities. Your finding of certain absolutes in rights (which do not exist in legal reality) appears to be absolving some of responsibility. If not, then perhaps you could address this or perhaps your debating prowess is not as good as you conceive it to be.
There would be no point Stu, what you fail to realise is that you are just as bad, if not worse than the people who hate us. You make it harder for our community, not better.
I also find it more than a little comical and ironic that for someone who indeed seems to possess at least a modicum of intelligence is unable to grasp this simple fact and that it is you who are speaking in absolutes, not I.
You are trulyy the source of a great deal of our concerns as a community, and the sooner you realise this the better off we as a whole will be, but you only care about yourself.
So I take it you accept you are not more of a legal expert that the Director of Public Prosecutions or Supreme Court judges, then – since you attempt to evade that question by deflection and making false and untrue accusations against me.
I certainly care about society, often to my own detriment.
Whereas the evidence of your caring I see on here with your spiteful answers and inarticulate one word attacks coupled with personal attacks which lack evidence, makes me have no concern for what you personally think of me.
And here we go again……I will type this slowly…….VE-RY SLOW-LY………..I………never……….wrote………that………I……….am……….more……of……….a………..legal……….expert………than………..they………..are……….
Did you understand me typing slowly?
Keep projecting your own insecurities and making inaccurate statements based on statements that were never made.
How does this guy not see he is the root of the problem?
In case you don’t understand Stu, that is what we call a QUESTION………NOT an attack.
I have no idea why you suspect I have insecurities in this subject, because I am assured by my knowledge and experience and that my views tie with those of legal experts. Perhaps you are projecting your own insecurities, when challenged to justify why you believe your view to be more informed and correct than that of the Director for Public Prosecutions etc, you state you do not claim to be an expert – however, earlier you stated that you did not care what the CPS thought (the organisation the DPP is responsible for) as your opinion was the correct one not theirs. Legally, I regard their opinion as more reliable than yours.
You can type as slow as you like (some people need to think slowly, when they get to your age – thankfully, some – perhaps not you – do not slow down as age creeps by). I do understand you – but that does not change the fact that legally you are wrong.
Shame you find being irresponsible as something acceptable. Speaks volumes of your morals.
You accuse Stu of being emotional, he says he isn’t and I have no reason to dispute this.
I am emotional and I make no apology for it.
People who engaged in the sort of behaviour that you seek to ensure can occur – guaranteeing freedom of expression and speech regardless of the level of responsibility shown – are those who I perceive murdered my friend. Your supporting such unabridged freedoms is (in my eyes) tantamount to supporting other future bullies and enabling them to coerce others into suicide. Your attitude is disgraceful and your arrogance and lack of compassion is beyond grotesque. You disgust me.
Yet another person who lacks the ability to read. I never stated any of the things you write I did, nor did i mention support for any freedoms anywhere either.
Rest assured sir, it is you who is disgusting, not I.
Well you clearly lack clarity in what you say, you vile disgusting piece of excrement, colonelkira
Well aren’t you just a clever one.
well done – a clear and sensible post. It looks rather like the idiot footballer broke the law, but the court will decide.
Leave the lad alone why don’t you, if he’s Gay he;ll make it known when HE wants, if he;s not then he wont, it’s as simple as that! It’s unfortunate that he didn’t win a gold medal but he did brilliantly, and so did his diving partner. The bloke that sent this awful message needs to be taken OFF the internet and sent on a fact finding course, to HIS cost. I’m a Gay man myself and can never see the point of this type of hate mail/tweet etc. I shall continue to support both of the lads anyway.
He didn’t win gold on the synchronised. You do know that he still has a chance to get gold in the individuals?
Well said Vince both the boys are giving their sport, family and country their all. I respect and admire them for and and they appear to really decent guys. I too am gay but I get annoyed by the people within the bay community trying to pigeon hole them. Leave ‘em alone!
The Government, the CPS, the Director of Public Prosecutions, need to stand up and clarify to the police what is criminal and what is not regarding these internet ‘crimes’.
Just look at the money wasted on Paul Chambers Twitter joke.
Freedom of speech must always be allowed no matter however disrespectful. distasteful, disgusting, homophobic, racist or sexist it is, the only restriction being on threats of violence or the incitement to take part in violence.
Its pointless blaming the police for investigating a crime.
Some of the twitter crimes etc do need to be dealt with (and there are some good examples of this happening), some perhaps need words of advice (eg a harassment warning) and others need no action – although public condemnation often is worthwhile!.
The police do not decide whether or not to charge, or which crimes to investigate. They have a duty to consider all matters brought to them (and if they fail to do so, they are possibly in breach of either disciplinary regulations or even criminal law).
To get a fair approach to this there needs to be guidance from the CPS as to how the public interest is served (as it will be on some occasions to prosecute for malicious communications, harassment etc in these matters – although in some cases it will not). CPS already give guidance on public interest and approaches in a variety of areas eg assault, sexual crime, public order, dangerous driving etc This could
easily be rectified with this sort of guidance. Without it, blaming the police for investigating is unfair – they have a duty to investigate.
Thank you DCBrighton! Absolutely right!
I would add harassment to DCBrightons list.
I would also agree that inciting violence, violence or harassment could be aggravated by hatred.
Harassment is a difficult one for me, it’s subjective, how would we define harassment in legal terms?
I think the Protection of Harassment Act 1997 and associated case law defines it well:
(3)Subsection (1) does not apply to a course of conduct if the person who pursued it shows— .
(a)that it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime, .
(b)that it was pursued under any enactment or rule of law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any enactment, or .
(c)that in the particular circumstances the pursuit of the course of conduct was reasonable.
1 Prohibition of harassment..
(1)A person must not pursue a course of conduct— .
(a)which amounts to harassment of another, and .
(b)which he knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other. .
(2)For the purposes of this section, the person whose course of conduct is in question ought to know that it amounts to harassment of another if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct amounted to harassment of the other. .
(3)Subsection (1) does not apply to a course of conduct if the person who pursued it shows— .
(a)that it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime, .
(b)that it was pursued under any enactment or rule of law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any enactment, or .
(c)that in the particular circumstances the pursuit of the course of conduct was reasonable.
Harassment might be difficult to define in law (although a pretty good job has already been done in some UK legislation).
However, just because something is difficult to deal with does not mean it should not the subject of legal protection.
People have a right (yes right ) to live a life free of unjustified harassment – and sometimes this trumps freedom of speech, particularly that exercised without responsibility.
I actually think freedom of speech is exercised far too freely it allows vile scumbags like the BNP, EDL, homophobic Westboro Baptist curch and other anti-gay Bible Belt groups the right to say what they want. I think what was said to Tom Daley was unnaceptable and I am glad the Welsh footballer got sent down. If we allow the racists, Homophobes, facists and the evil to have their Freedom of Speech which is harmful then we are no better than them. Someone once said to me “Sticks and Stones will break my bones but words won’t” That is a lie.
This is a tricky one. Very interesting comments above. I think it’s silly to ask “have the police got nothing better to do?” Following up big crimes should not prevent them dealing with small ones. This is a small crime, as things go, but the high profile nature of this will send a strong message to those considering sending homophobic tweets. Anyone using the N word seems to get pounced on pretty quickly. Dean’s story involving the cat is horrific. Surely the police should have acted on that.
What crime was committed?
Making a nasty comment is not (or at least should not) be a crime unless there is incitement to hatred or violence involved.
There clearly was not in this instance.
If you look a wee bit above your post here dAVID you’ll see that Lance has given a pretty good explanation of what crime(s) were committed
You might not agree with it, but someone has alleged that there was a malicious communication – which is a breach of section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988. That breach may or may not have occurred – but clearly for the police to arrest there has been an allegation that they are duty bound to investigate. The CPS will determine whether that breach is likely to be proveable in court and what (if any) action is necessary.
The law clearly shows that making aggressive and offensive, malicious comments is a criminal offence. I would personally perceive there (in most cases) needing to be a repeated nature to make out harassment but that is not totally necessary.
The police are following their duty of investigating an allegation of criminal conduct and they and the CPS will determine the action that may or may not be taken.
CPS guidance on charging standards and public interest guidance would be useful. At the moment without that guidance police hands are largely tied and
they have to be seen to act. If they do not in other cases then legitimate complaints can be made to the IPCC, individual force or via other means.
Would you have cared whether a crime was committed or not, clearly your previous ability to exercise freedom of speech (whether responsibily or not) is more important than others freedom from oppression. You disgust me. My friend who was bullied into suicide by irresponsible people exercising their freedom of speech was worth a million of you.
ARRESTED?!?! That’s ridiculous!!
Indeed – it’s beyond moronic.
BEYOND beyond moronic!
I think the police are guilty of institutional moronophobia.
Mocking such a serious subject is detestable.
Not ridiculous good, the homophobe deserved it, you say something hateful you should pay the price
Well done the police for doing the right thing.
Whether this needs criminal charges etc, I do not know (as I do not have all the facts to make a judgement – as I suspect is the case of many armchair commentators on here).
I do know that as the current guidance exists the officers involved in this have fulfilled their duty to investigate.
The grey areas of this kind of conduct could be made clearer by CPS guidance.
Finally you actually wrote something credible and halfway intelligent. Well done!
Absolutely the police have done the right thing, and I urge them to continue to do so – more unnecessary deaths may be prevented.
if Daley wore his speedos any lower they would in fact be called socks. Wonder if I’ll get the fuzz after me for posting that?
I am very pleased he has been arrested. If it was someone else who used his phone, as he claims, then he will have the opportunity to provide evidence for that.
Homophobic harassment is not a victimless act. Many LGBT people end up suffering depression and a disproportionate number commit suicide as a result of people’s mocking, denigrating and hateful comments, particularly during childhood.
It is high time the same amount of attention was given to stamping out homophobic abuse as is given to stamping out racial abuse. Homophobic abuse is still rife in schools, and LGBT children still suffer. When society says a clear “NO” in this way, it sends out a clear message, and empowers those who are trying to make schools – and society at large – a safe and equal place for LGBT people to thrive in.
Tom Daley was not harassed by the footballer.
He was harassed by some teenager.
He subsequently had some third division footballer make a dumb ass comment. I think the teenager you’re talking about was arrested at some ridiculous hour of the morning earlier this week. Quite frankly if a person uses twitter to communicate to hundreds of thousands of people they don’t know then there’s gonna be a few wrong ‘uns in the mix ready to fire back a comment or whatever. Daley needs to shut the funk up and get off twitter and concentrate on diving – its what his sponsors are paying him for.
I don’t think Daley has actually commented on it other then the initial reply to the 17 year old.
Read the article, dAVID, and Google the news. There were two separate incidents.
And you know this how ???
Exactly right Gazza
There are multiple victims of homophobic bullying, but some disgusting people on this thread think their ability to insult others is more important than tackling bullying that can coerce others to commit suicide. Such support of irresponsibility is (in my eyes) similar to aiding and abetting murder.
Repeat: This is NOT bullying. it is a one-off occurrence.
As the result of a “one-off occurrence”, in which I was punched in the mouth by an older and much bigger boy, I lost a front tooth.
Was that not bullying? Or have I mis-understood you, Spanner?
He has been arrested. At this point it is being investigated. No charges have yet been brought let alone a conviction, still less a sentence. It’s a difficult thing to get the right balance but the law doesn’t stop when you pick up your mobile. If the police did nothing it would have sent a message that sending such tweets is OK. Which it isn’t.
This is nuts, plain and simple. Offensive speech should not be a crime. The police should use common sense and release this person now – if the only tweet he sent was that revolting remark, that is.
Actually, why is ‘hate’ a crime? It’s a natural human reaction, sometimes necessary.
Would you find harassment acceptable?
Well written AdrianT……….Most crimes committed against a fellow human being that involves a violent act are crimes plain and simple. The “hate” adjective is not required at all. An act of violence is either a crime or it is not.
If you prefer to live in a world that believes that racism and homophobia should be accepted – it speaks more of you than it does of those who seek to confront, condemn and challenge hatred.
Indeed Stu….if it wasnt for people willing to stand up to the bigots then we would still be in the ‘closet’….its only because people did do that that we the freedom we do…
Again, nobody wrote anything about living in a world that believes in racism or any hatred.
And as I never wrote anything about it, it speaks VOLUMES as to your inability to seperate emotion from fact.
I never wrote that we should not confront such things either.
I was fighting for the rights of the disenfranchised when you were a twinkle in your parents eye, unlike you I have always done so INTELLIGENTLY.
When you grow up enough to debate a topic logically, get back to me.
People have written (specifically YOU) that hate crimes and hate speech does not exist or should not be dealt with by the police. The logical extrapolation of this is that such speech is allowed to go unchecked. If you feel it is appropriate to allow such speech and associated actions to go unchecked, then you tacitly endorse such racism, homophobia etc. I prefer not to.
I certainly do not bow down to people on basis of how long they have been campaigning or age. I give no false sense of superiority on grounds of age. So your level of argument (baseless) linked to your age compared to your perception of mine is a logical fallacy and irrelevant.
No….that is not a logical extrapolation….it is an person who is flooded with adrenalin and emotion unable to comprehend a simple statement without finding a conspiracy within that statement to create an argument which simply does not exist. You should either learn to read, or keep your mouth shut!
Indeed the very fact that you wrote the words logical fallacy is a testament to how banal and pithy you really are.
You are unable to read simple sentences and understand their meaning.
Do not fool yourself, you are at the very core of a great deal of the problems we face.
I also never wrote that crimes should not be punished by the police and I defy you to find a post in which i did.
Are you so simpleminded and short sighted and filled with so much anger and hate yourself that you cannot see what you are doing?
I feel sorry for you……I truly, truly do.
You sound very agitated and expressive in your comments – and yet you accuse me of emotion (whereas I am calm).
Your logical fallacies stand.
You say what I have written is not a logical extrapolation – please elucidate what you meant then, as you clearly lacked the ability to communicate sufficiently that the reader would appreciate the message you were seeking to convey given that you state I misunderstand you (or rather you lapse into emotional bile to attack me rather than calmly consider whether your pithy words actually said what you intended).
Calm down, adrenaline shots you clearly have must be affecting your old ticker or the grey matter because you clearly are not what you perceive you are in terms of your ability to say what you mean.
This is the guy who accuses ME of attacking HIM.
I suggest you go and re-read my comments because I have not made such an accusation.
It makes me laugh to think you believe you threaten me ROFL
I swear this guy just makes this stuff up as he goes along……….he just invented yet another thing i never wrote! And yet he doesn’t get it!
I swaer this bloke doesnt realise what he has written – often the sign of early dementia (although perhaps not early in the case of the colonel – given his advanced years!)
Thanks for proving my point for me……twice.
What is the relevance in this case, Stu? This is nothing to do with harassment, which, if you consult a dictionary, involves repetition and threats. This lone, stupid tweet did neither. It is a matter for Twitter and his Club. Not the Police. This is almost as stupid as when the West Midlands Police committed treason by attempting to prosecute the Channel 4 Dispatches ‘Undercover Mosque’ programme.
I am fully aware of what harassment is and require no education on that basis, indeed if you read my comments above you will see I give a lengthy legal definition of harassment.
Unless you know the full details of what has transpired here then neither you nor I are in a position to judge that this is not harassment. There have been some media reports (which you may wish to search for at your leisure) that there were multiple similar tweets – hence repetition. There is no requirement for threats for harassment (in law) to be complete – harassment can be with or without fear of violence. (See Protection of Harassment Act 1997).
I am sure the police, following their duty to investigate an allegation of a criminal act will consider (as will the CPS in due course) what criminal offences have been committed (if any) and logically consider communications and harassment as options.
Stu, read my post properly before you post. ‘If that was his only post’ I wrote, quite clearly. If Thomas made multiple posts, well, we probably have no argument. Actually, even if this person did make multiple posts like this, it is still not strong enough case to make an arrest. By the way, I am all for driving Thomas out of football, and bringing shame on his club, whose reaction was weak as hell. Besides,, we know very well that we cannot trust ‘media reports’ very much. And we also know the police make stupid decisions, to wit the Channel 4 case. Show me screen shots of the posts, and I might be satisfied
I did read your post properly. I was commenting on your presumption not necessarily being correct.
You may think that if there was more than one tweet of this nature that there are no grounds to arrest – the law specifies differently.
If you read what I said then you will know that I do not have access to the information that the police used to make the decision to arrest, and I presume you do not either (if you do, then perhaps you can provide the screen shots you seek?).
Of course police make mistakes, so do armchair commentators.
So, you have no more information than I do, and no evidence for any repeated tweets. I don’t really care what the law says, or any boring excuses for them. I’ll stick with JS Mill, thanks. Thomas did not threaten anyone. The only reports refer to one single, repulsive, tweet.
I doubt this arrest would have happened if it were directed at a non-celebrity. the UK has terrible laws, such as Section 5, the worst libel laws in the western world, to name but a few. The way to deal with morons like Thomas is to shout back, like everyone did to that 17 year old. Shout them down. The way to deal with this is to Put the hate on YouTube for all to see, drive the sponsors away, destroy their football careers, stage a kiss in, etc. as for making mistakes, you don’t need an armchair to realise West Midlands Police’s attitude toward Channel 4 was criminal. Why were there no resignations? Ditto the collusion with Murdoch.
I emphasise,it delights me that Thomas’s football career is on the rocks.
I will wait and see the outcome of the investigation before jumping to conclusions.
And good for you.
Thank You, Adrian
Always better to base judgements on facts and reason rather than armchair commentary and rushes to judgement – I find.
But PinkNews statistics show, you offer nearly 400 pieces of armchair commentary every week, Stu! We should make this an Olympic sport. You’d push #TeamGB up the table with the Chinese.
Maybe so, but I tend to try to be fair and recognise where facts are unknown and not rush to judgement – unlike some.
Your a nuts plain and simple, AdrianT
You seem to believe that bullying and insulting language is acceptable and that those who are coerced into suicide are mere collateral damage to achieve your aim of free speech and expression (whether responsibly exercised or not).
Your attitude is so arrogant and incompassionate you make me vomit.
Show any post I have made, where I say bullying is ‘acceptable’. This discussion isn’t about bullying. The right to insult is a cornerstone of a mature democracy. Once you close down speech because of how something ‘might’ be perceived, where do you end? When you criminalise offensive speech, and thus the fightback and heated debate that follows, how do you hope to change opinion and extinguish prejudice? You won’t, as the rise of the EDL and the influence of religious fundamentalism in the UK proves. How does making a martyr out of a moron help eradicate homophobia, Daniel? How do you decide whose feelings should be the most protected? Isn’t the call for ‘responsible’ speech, then, quite irresponsible?
Your representations have suggested that freedom of speech should be absolute, that responsibility does not matter. This gives the impression that you think homophobia is acceptable because you think people should be able to offend (and worse) each other. This gives rise to the view that bullying is acceptable, because if people are able to say what they like without fear of recourse then they are free to bully.
This is not about closing down speech or debate – thats the simplistic false argument that those who seek to ensure that irresponsibility is accepted in society frequently use. This is about encouraging debate, but showing that there are consequences for actions and demonstrating that bullying (which often arises from abuses of so called freedoms by being irresponsible) is not acceptable.
How would you encourage responsibility, and where there was not responsibility – how would you deal with it?
How would you help those who are the victims of irresponsibily exercised
I find ‘responsible’ to be a weasel word.
Sure, I’d encourage people to think before they speak and show empathy. But people so often do not do this. I am amazed anyone would assume that I would create an environment where bigots would feel accepted. For instance, when a 17 year old repeatedly abused Daley on Monday, everyone had their say and gave him a taste of his own medicine. He learnt a hard lesson without the need for police involvement. Twitter of course should suspend or remove profiles of members who troll. They have a right to enforce their rules concerning etiquette. And to repeat, threats of violence should result in the full force of the law. Frankly I am suspicious of the police involvement. Were the abuse not directed at Daley, would the police have intervened? I doubt it.
Well the police investigated my complaint about twitter abuse and the courts convicted the person responsible – and I am not famous. So I find your suspicion about (certainly some of) the police to not be grounded in the facts of my experience.
I certainly do not agree with your view that weasel words are what responsibility is. Many academics involved in the study of human rights and associated jurisprudence or philosophy of rights do consider that there is an inevitable link between rights and responsibility.
I find it astounding that someone intelligent can not see that by failing to promote responsibility AND accountability for behaviour there is a risk of damaging the rights of others and this can lead to improper behaviour. Society needs guidelines and failing to hold those to account who do wrong leads to the breakdown of society.
free speech such as that which Daniel states coerced his friend into suicide. Or do you think thats acceptable?
You cannot know the circumstances of Daniel’s death so let’s not rely on that.
Bullying is not just offensive speech, as you should know. I am surprised I have to educate you on the difference. It encompasses targeted harassment and intimidation of an individual, threats, coercion and often physical violence. Of course everyone should berotected against that, and perpetrators face the full force of law. So there is no call to add ‘(and worse)’ in the above sentence, in fact. I have already said where the boundary of free speech lies. I don’t call for it to be ‘absolute’. Once again, read my posts properly.
I won’t encourage ‘responsibility’, I’d give vulnerable people the protections needed, and create the kind of education system that ensures people understand each other better. Our current love of the faith school system ensures the reverse of course. I’ve done articles on this already.
When did I say bullying was just offensive speech?
I certainly dont believe that.
You may seek to misrepresent me, but hey – thats not surprising.
Offensive speech can be an element of bullying (and indeed the main or sole element of some bullying).
Whilst some of your suggestions are very reasonable and I would support and encourage them – I remain disappointed that you would not encourage responsibility.
Homophobic abuse is still rife in schools and sections of society at large.
The lives of LGBT people, from our adolescence onwards, are often marred by homophobic language, bullying and denigration. Our risk of depression, anxiety, and suicide are significantly higher. That doesn’t come from nowhere.
It has taken decades of campaigning to get society to take homophobia seriously. And now it is taken seriously, it is depressing to see LGBT people posting comments to say that such damaging behaviour to all of us should remain a matter of indifference to the law and the Police.
If we as LGBT people don’t support society when it challenges homophobia, then why should society bother?
It makes me despair.
If you are all confused by what defines a hate crime – just change the supposed victim with past scenarios for prejudice – ie Black – Jew – woman –
You’ll see how every homophobic comment is an incitement to hatred -
All this hatred condones others ignorance towards Gays
”If there is any consolation for finishing fourth at least Daley and Waterfield can go and bum each other #teamHIV.”
and the ignorance that HIV is a gay virus – HOW MANY MORE TIMES – Unlike the British public HIV does not Discriminate.
This story reminds me of the tonguetwister- The Neath Police dismisseth us.
I believe Lynne Featherstone states very clearly some of the reasons hate crimes need to be tackled in this speech she made in March:
‘Hate is the most appalling of human emotions: it is destructive, it is ignorant, and it is abhorrent.
‘Last year I attended a candlelit vigil in Trafalgar Square in memory of Ian Baynham, who was kicked to death in 2009 because of hostility to the fact that he was gay.
‘I was shocked by the length of the roll call of others who had been killed. We owe it to every other victim, to keep challenging the idiotic, backwards attitudes that keep hate crime alive. I cannot, literally cannot, understand how any human being can hurt another simply because they are threatened by difference.
‘As individuals, and as a community, we should be embracing each other’s differences, not persecuting each other for them.
To abuse or attack someone because of who they are is inexcusable, it denies the most basic of rights – to live life as who you are.
‘At its core
hate crime undermines the very principles of freedom, equality and inclusion that define modern Britain. And whilst all crime damages society, hate crimes have an impact beyond the individual crime itself, dividing communities and creating fear and suspicion.’
‘I think we have come a long way in the years since the tragic murder of Stephen Lawrence. His death, brutal and senseless as it was, was a catalyst for change – not just in Government and law enforcement, but in public attitudes too.
‘But whilst I am delighted that the UK is now recognised as a world leader in this field, we must not think that progress means the problem has been solved. Far from it.
‘More than 48,000 hate crimes were reported to the police in England Wales and Northern Ireland in 2010. That is far, far, too many.
‘Too many people abused or spat at in the street. Too many people attacked. Too many people intimidated by vile threats online. And too many people killed.
‘We owe it to these victims to keep
challenging the despicable, bigoted attitudes that keep hate crime alive.
‘We all have a personal responsibility to stand up and challenge prejudice and hatred. But the Government has a particular responsibility to lead by example and take opportunities to celebrate diversity and highlight the positive contribution that everyone makes to our society.
‘When crimes do take place, we need to ensure that victims feel able to report and that they are supported in doing so.
‘Victims matter because hate crime is still hugely under-reported, particularly for those who feel isolated
Freedom of speech has disappeared in Britain – I’m gay and whatever he wrote I’m sure it was ghastly, and the guy’s probably a scumbag. But you don’t arrest people for saying stupid things, that’s not how a free society works.
Cory: so presumably it doesn’t matter that the outcome of this socially permitted homophobic school and general environment is LGBT children developing depression and attempting suicide, and LGBT adults not being able to enjoy a relaxed evening out without worrying whether some group of drunken bigots is going to ridicule and abuse them in public.
This is the cost of your very liberal attitude towards “freedom of speech”.
And presumably you would apply the same attitude to racist language. Let’s go back to the 1950s-1970s, shall we? Where black people’s lives were made misery by the language of racists, which came at us from all directions, including the “entertainment” media.
So presumably you think exercising freedom of speech is more important than demonstrating responsibility.
With rights come responsibility.
If you choose not to behave responsibily then its understandable that society penalises you.
Freedom of speech is one thing; after all some one could say ‘kill all queers.’ Would you want that?
There is also the aspect that some thing said ‘face to face,’ is a very different creature to some thing that is in effect anonymouse.
So where’s the line between a stupid and thoughtless comment (which all of us are prone to) and comments that are consistently offensive and deliberately malicious?
Speech is not only used to make rational arguments, but to foment hatred and stigmatise powerless minorities. Rather than free speech being egalitarian, it is too often used to oppress those ‘without a voice’.
Speech is never really ‘free’ but has consequences; like all rights, it comes with responsibilities. There is no right to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, if there is no fire. This can be extrapolated to other areas such as speech that incites others to directly harm third parties, which justifies banning certain inflammatory types of
With freedom of speech comes the responsibility not to abuse it. I believe that the right to freedom of expression must not be separated from, or take precedence over, the right to freedom from oppression.
I see no contradiction in refusing to tolerate intolerance.
Slander, libel, plagiarism: these are all used to restrict freedom of speech in this country. It therefore is not incongruous that inciting hatred are not tolerated.
Well said Cory. We need to get Nick Cohen on the case. Once you start talking about ‘responsibilities’ and other indirect consequences like suicides, then you could shut down almost any expression.
You prefer irresponsibility?
Sadly, it does seem that some people believe freedom of speech and / or expression are more important than behaving responsibility which helps ensure the right of all individuals to freedom from oppression from others. Such bullying and harassment can lead to suicide (unfortunately, I have had to attend 2 funerals where gay people have been subject to offensive vitriol, including cyber based).
I find it grossly distasteful that some (supposedly intelligent people) find their desire to be able to insult others (hence their willingness to allow others to engage in similar behaviour) is more important than preventing harassment, bullying and oppression of others. Their attitude is disgraceful and an affront to human dignity.
Their approach to supporting irresponsibility is the equivalent of spitting in the grave of those who have been coerced into suicide by such bullying.
Outrageous that anyone would support the right of others to bully and malign others. Inhumane!
What about right not to be oppressed or harassed by others?
Once you start ignoring responsibilities then people think they can get away with anything, and often do.
Perhaps thats what you want, licence to bully others to commit suicide yoruself.
Your humanity is rank and vile.
My friend died because of vile individuals who irresponsibly exercised their freedom of speech.
You might seek a society where there are no rules or regulation – I prefer humanity and seeking to balance rights – including freedom from oppresion.
Your attitudes stink and demean those who have struggled against bullying from those who exercise those freedoms you yearn for, without responsibility.
One-off insulting comments do not come under the definition of ‘harassment’ or bullying.
Define ‘responsibly exercising speech’. Whom should we be responsible to? What are the limits?
I’m all for being protecting people from intimidation, harassment and oppression, too, as a matter of fact. But undirected, one-off comments are in neither category. I have already explained how to deal with morons such as the Port Talbot player and where the limits of free expression should be earlier. I suggest you learn how to read properly.
I’m very sorry to hear about your friend by the way. But if you must invoke him to make your point, you are implying that the harassment he suffered is no worse than the remark made by Thomas on Twitter, the subject of this discussion. And by doing so, you are cheapening his memory.
I remain unconvinced that this was a one off incident, if media reporting tonight is accurate there were a number of messages from Thomas.
We should be responsible to society and each other.
Free Speech is your Right but Responsible Speech is your Duty
I personally stand committed to the human right of freedom of speech and expression of thought but am of the strong opinion that your right to free speech and expression should not interfere with a person or group of persons right to their beliefs and way of life.
Both private citizens and public officials have the right to speak freely and voice their opinions. However, freedom comes with responsibility. Free speech that leads to violence and harm of others makes the speaker complicit in the deed. If what you say causes someone to harm another person you should be held responsible, albeit to a lesser degree, for these actions.
Thank you for your sympathy regarding the death of my friend, although that was not my reason for
my mentioning him. Nor did I intend to correlate any level of suffering that Nick had compared to this case. You clearly misunderstand my intentions (or seek to misrepresent them?). I intended to address that Nicks experience began with Twitter comments that others said should not hurt him, were to be ignored and he should get over it. Others said that those saying them should be able to and Nick should be able to deal with it. This tweet from Thomas could be (even if it is only one!) the start of a similar process.
I have discussed this with mutual friends of Nick and his brother since you accused me of cheapening his memory. They have said I am doing the right thing in supporting his memory – that Nick would want bullying and precursors to bullying exposed. I feel you have no right to judge and your remarks are callous and arrogant. You have no idea of the memory you seek to claim I damage. Disappointing.
Daniel, if, now you say his experience was not comparable to this, then you had no business bringing him into this discussion in the first place. You say there was more than a one off tweet. you cannot know this. We know of no more than the one tweet already publicised.
I am against criminalising offensive speech. That doesn’t mean bigots should be allowed to insult without challenge. Far from it. It’s vital to do so. Repetitive threats, intimidation targeting an individual is harassment and bullying, and punishable by law. There are numerous other ways of teaching bigots a lesson, other than locking people up. Shout back at them. Name him, shame him, destroy his reputation and career and sponsorship deals. Twitter should be doing more to ensure trolls are removed and actual threats are reported.
People have a right to hold beliefs, but beliefs deserve no protection from being challenged or ridiculed. Otherwise we’d be living in the stone age.
And to repeat, the football player in question was exposed and named and shamed on twitter and pinknews before the police got involved. I rejoice in the fact that Daniel Thomas’s career is in ruins. If Port Talbot FC had taken no action, you can be sure that we would be organising boycotts of their sponsors, and protests outside their HQ, like those anti-abortion loons do on Bedford Quare. Clubs are nothing without their precious sponsorship money from big global brands nowadays, as Man Utd have admitted this weekend.
I had every right to bring up the case of Nick. His is the sort of case that can result from twitter abuse and harassment. For harassment to occur, there has to be a single message initially – otherwise there can not be a second, third etc that shows continued conduct. If it can be nipped in the bud, so much the better – some people might not then die by being coerced into suicide (although I perceive from your writing that this is not something you care about in the slightest).
I was listening to talksport yesterday who were discussing this matter and said there were at least three tweets from Thomas. So, unless you have certain knowledge that is different – I will accept the information that Talksport said came from sources within South Wales Police – until proved otherwise.
How would you co-ordinate your punishments to ensure consistency of approach? How would this be regulated? How would you ensure that the shouting in return did not veer into bullying itself? How would
you punish someone without sponsorships, income etc?
No one on here that I am aware of has suggested that a custodial sentence is the appropriate mechanism to deal with Thomas (if he is guilty – that should be for the police/CPS and courts to determine). I would suggest prison may well be a disproportionate penalty in this case. You suggesting of “locking up” is exaggerating the likely scenario.
When was the last time you addressed a protest outside a football club about a tweet? I find that response laughable – it would not happen and people would not be held to account.
My goodness, now you are even trying to shut down counter-protest. Shame on you. Protests, heated debate etc have been the route to greater freedom since the Boston Tea Party.
I would suggest you find those ideas laughable because of your lack of imagination. But those very tactics are tried and tested methods. A football player from Oxford City in fact has been sacked. It got that far because of the indignation on twitter, which resulted in it making the local news, the LGBT press and local radio.
Your suggestion about ‘nipping in the bud’ any single comment that could remotely be perceived as hurtful sounds chilling; the route to fascism, and far from inspiring understanding and acceptance of others, only inspires ridicule. A sure-fire way to ratchet up sales of the Daily Mail. You present no solution to ending discrimination or increasing social inclusion. You are hurt by the loss of a friend; I am sorry. But I find your appeals to emotion in this argument distasteful.
Incidentally, I’ve seen from your repetitive, inflammatory posts, accusing people you disagree with of being ‘ignorant tw*ts’, ‘aiding and abetting murder’, or not caring ‘in the slightest’ for people who commit suicide – you don’t really practice what you preach, do you?
I support the National Secular Society’s campaign to remove the word ‘insulted’ from the Public Order Act. With electronic media such as it is, we could all end up arrested for the most innocuous comment made online or elsewhere. Nobody should be protected from being insulted. Incitement to violence or violent threats should be dealt with appropriately, as for this moron’s comment I personally do not think being arrested is proportionate and believe this move has been motivated by the ‘status’ of Tom and his diving partner. I have been on the receiving end of homophobic abuse and harrassment and quite frankly the police were worse than useless. I want to be able to criticise religious bigots and their like without the threat of being arrested.
This has nothing to do with section 5 public order though. This was a malicious communications offence – or possibly harassment (but I do not have the full facts from which to form a judgement).
So, you are passing judgment, after all, Stu. You have already decided it’s either ‘malicious’ (so what?) and / or harassment (which, by definition, it wasn’t). I am going to be following this case and its cost. It might hurt their feelings to say what I think, of course. And no doubt I’ll get a knock on the door too.
Well said, Tim. You are surrounded by toy town Hitlers on this page.
No, read what I said, AdrianT
I do not have the full facts from which to form a judgement
I may have missed out a “may” in my typing (I recall you commented on one of my articles how typos can be easily missed when working on a piece all day, in my support, the same can be true in comments).
I remain convinced this had nothing to do with section 5, so that argument does not wash and the debate about that is separate to this matter.
It may be a malicious communication or harassment matter – as I have repeatedly and consistently said on these comments I do not have the facts to judge and it is correct that the police investigate when an allegation is made that criminal law has been breached. That does not mean any action will be taken involving criminal penalty.
You can throw in your repeated distractions about times the police have made errors (and I could probably quote more than you can) but that does not malign the good job the vast majority of the police do legally.
Investigate a single tweet.? This is bonkers. They could have looked at it, rolled their eyes and got on with some proper work. Seems this will go the same way as that pathetic tweet about Robin Hood Airport near Doncaster (the best thing that happened to that airport of course, was a film called ‘Threads’). The joker in that case won his appeal and I hope he gets compensation.
You state it was a single tweet. I do not know this, do you?
I agree the Robin Hood airport episode was misjudged (both by CPS and anti terrorist police given that there was evidence that the initial investigation of the tweet by both the airport and police was that it was not a serious threat). This misjudgement has no impact on this specific case, unless you know otherwise?
Now sure, as I have consistently said on these comments guidance by the CPS/DPP could help guide officers into how to handle these matters (as exists in other areas of criminal law). Without that guidance police risk complaints, disciplinary action and criminal sanction if they do not investigate reports that allege criminal conduct.
There have been far more successful criminal convictions/cautions for abusive, threatening, harassing or malicious social media messages than there have been issues such as that of the Robin Hood airport.
Its the lack of responsibility that society seem willing to
accept, including those who seem to suggest that being oppressed and harassed is acceptable. Shame on them.
correction to part 2
accept, including those who seem to suggest that being oppressed and harassed is acceptable; that concerns and worries me. Shame on them. Their moral fibre is seriously lacking.
Well the Robin Hood Airport incident just shows we have Twitter police waiting to pounce at any opportunity. But, there you go again, implying that, by not locking up offensive, non-threatening speech, we are saying harassment and oppressing people is ‘acceptable’.
Actually, perhaps you are being irresponsible, by denying others right to express bigotry, you deny heated debate, and thus deny people the right to change their minds. You end up protecting bigotry and thus, homophobia. Maybe we should have you arrested for expressing support for ‘irresponsible’ ideas?
So how would you tackle harassment then AdrianT, or is that an acceptable cost of ensuring “heated debate”?
Did my friends have to die to ensure you are able to have such strong debates?
Its disgraceful that people would mark down comments such as the one above by Daniel258
Daniel, You have my sympathy for the loss of your friend. Bullying surely is a multivictim event – those directly affected and those they are close to.
I strongly support freedom of speech – but people need to be aware that their speech may well have consequences. Those consequences in some circumstances need to be real. I find it disturbing that some on here can not see that responsibility is crucial in protecting others from harm.
Paul Hutton LESS THAN A MINUTE AGO REPORT both the boys are giving their sport, family and country their all. I respect and admire them for and and they appear to really decent guys. I too am gay but I get annoyed by the people within and outside the gay community trying to pigeon hole them. Leave ‘em alone!
Bullying is bullying. Full Stop!
It should not be permisable, and anyone doing it by what ever means, should be punished in some way or other.
This is not bullying. This is simply a random one-off insult.
Good! I think it’s long overdue that more of these trolls who use social media websites to abuse people are exposed and shamed. They can think what they like, but like all good children, they need to learn that we cannot go around the world saying every little though that enters our pretty heads. If this guy had shouted this out at Tom Daley in the street, and there were witnesses, it would have been classed as verbal abuse. They think that because they are posting, tweeting or ‘faceing’ their disgusting thoughts, they can get away with it. Like all cowards, they wouldn’t dare say such things in company or to your face.
whats happened to freedom of speech….
Our defence of freedom of speech and expression shouldn’t be half-hearted. But it’s idle to pretend that it’s an unabridged right.
In Britain dealing in child pornography is an offence and pleading freedom of expression isn’t an answer to the charge. Not many people would want the law changed. So we defend freedom of speech best, when we acknowledge that it’s a cherished right, which democratically elected MPs occasionally restrict for what they believe are good reasons.
The great American Supreme Court judge, Oliver Wendell Holmes gave a classic illustration of what I mean. Mr Justice Holmes said it was legal for a man to go into a large empty field and shout “fire” at the top of his voice even if there wasn’t a fire.
But if he mischievously shouted “fire” in a crowded theatre he was acting illegally. In Western society freedom of speech doesn’t extend to behaving in a way that deliberately puts other people at personal risk.
- 3….better watch watch i say …i may be arrested….
If someone calls me a f****t then that is not a hate crime. It is an insult.
If someone says ‘You are a f****t and therefore you are lesser than other people and I think people should beat you up for being a f****t’ then that is a hate crime.
The football player insulted Tom Daley.
“If someone calls me a f****t then that is not a hate crime. It is an insult.”
Read and interpret S4a (or S5) of the Public Order Act (it is on the internet). It could very well be a crime depending on the context and situation.
Certainly fits the definition of the Public order offences, in certain scenarios.
Yes, but it isn’t a hate crime.
Or is it? If I call a police officer an insult, I can get charged, if I insult a black person, I could be charged with racial abuse (because I can see he is black) – or if I know somebody is gay and then call them a fckwit, does that make it homophobic abuse? Or do I have to specifically refer to him as a “gay fckwit” for that statute to swing into action?
There are far too many grey areas in all of this.
Thats why I think some better guiidance would be useful.
Is it a hate crime calling someone a fckwit who is gay. Probably not, on face value. But thats why investigation is important because we need to perhaps understand the background, the lead up to the incident, what was intended – much of this may not be able to be determined (but it might) and it may form a hate crime. More than likely (in most cases such as those you describe) if the incident occurred on the street then unless there was overt evidence of hatred then any criminal sanction would be, at worst, a public order offence charge, more likely a fixed penalty notice or words of advice. However, there will be cases where other evidence is available and which justify alternatives.
There is no longer a point in arguing sense dAVID…….people filled with a their own sense of righteous indignation and hate and fear will never see the light.
Ah, so hate can exist when you want it to?
Again……slowly ……for the reading impaired
Ignorant twat doesn’t even know what he wrote
How do these two guys not see that all throughout this thread they have done to me and to others EXACTLY what they are arguing against others doing to us?
Does anyone have the local constabulary’s number at hand?
What a joke this has become. As someone already said, I think this will lead to more persecution due to resentment from people who believe they cannot make such comments without incurring the wrath of the law.
In work people make jokes about homosexuality all the time, but there’s no malice in it. I actually enjoy the banter.
Whilst what has been said is obviously a criminal act, i don’t think it should be. The law is going too far in these cases. It’s a slipperly slope, and we’re losing our grip.
In the abstract, freedom of speech is desirable and essential to our way of life. Who can argue against it? History has taught us that civilisations and human relations advance when accompanied by the free exchange of ideas, information and intimacies.
Look at the recent uprisings in north Africa. After decades of repressive regimes, a desire for freedom of speech, the essential prerequisite of all other civil and political rights, helped animate the courageous people who flocked to the streets.
The information in the WikiLeaks cables showed that the on-the-street assessment of the corruption of the old regimes was shared by the diplomats of the dominant superpower. Access to this information emboldened brave people to more fully assert their rights as citizens. They amplified their struggle by swapping news and manifestos online, bypassing the compromised traditional media, to share their perspective with the world.
Look at freedom of speech as it is exercised in that same
dominant superpower, the one with a first amendment to guarantee it. There it verges on becoming corrosive. Exercised by an unconstrained media, voiced by commentators who seek to incite reaction with ever more inflammatory words, or by those tapping away behind screens of anonymity – hideous, hurtful things are said. This can make people fearful, angry and defensive. It does not turn the level of civilisation up.
Finding appropriate boundaries to frame freedom of speech is one of the constant struggles. Judgment is essential. The right needs to be balanced against the damage that its unfettered exercise may cause. There are issues of security and personal safety, the value of truth and honesty, the need to treat others with respect. It is not true that only sticks and stones can hurt; ignorant, dishonest, malicious, corrupt words can also do enormous damage.
It is quite right that there should be a perpetual struggle to push the boundaries of what can be said in a civilised
society. What and when are the two key variables. As are questions of how children, reputation, national security, social cohesion, truth and privacy be protected.
Legal restraints operate in conjunction with social norms that change with the times. They cool an absolute freedom, which could otherwise become toxic. Testing the limits while preserving security and respect is a useful enterprise. Freedom of speech is not absolute, but essential – we need to recognise that there are justifiable restrictions on that freedom and requirements to exercise responsibility with that freedom.
We can write publicly what we believe in. We do not have strictures on what websites we may visit, for instance. Our government does not interfere with what we are allowed to know about the world. Such freedom from censorship must be protected, but this must occur within reason.
When we conceive of this freedom as a right without a corresponding responsibility requiring eternal vigilance and hard work,
freedom of expression can be deployed in a way that is anti-democratic and unconscionable. Our media networks can be used to vexatiously destroy reputations and disseminate misrepresentation to assist the agenda of the rich and powerful.
WHEN everyone agrees with a proposition, you have to fear that it is meaningless. Freedom of speech is a case in point. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, signed by almost every country, guarantees freedom of expression.
The problems are in the fine print because even the covenant limits the scope of this right. Restrictions are possible for the respect of the rights or reputations of others as well as for the protection of national security, public order, public health or morals.
So it is easy to be for free speech in principle. It is far less obvious what this will mean in practice.
Some exceptions to free speech are straightforward. Nobody should have the right to cause a mass panic by crying ”fire” in a packed theatre
But beyond that?
There are numerous cases where it is not so clear to determine where the balance should lie between the protection of free speech and the protection of other rights.
Take advertising, for example. Free speech does not only apply to political opinions but to commercial ones as well. Nevertheless, we would probably agree that especially advertising aimed at young children needs limits.
That’s fair enough. But what about advertising to adults? In opinion polls, most people say they are personally never conned by advertising. However, the very same people also believe that others regularly fall for misleading ads and therefore strict regulations were necessary.
It’s the same story with political speech. In some countries there are limitations on political opinions. In some European states Holocaust denial is illegal. In Turkey a ”denigration of the Turkish nation” can land you in jail.
You would only support such restrictions on free speech if you believed that
society could not handle it. However, in a society in which we all regularly have to make myriad decisions, why should we not also be able to decide how to respond to unpleasant or objectionable statements? Instead of banning them, we might choose to ignore or ridicule them.
Realistically, freedom of speech cannot be limitless. Yet instead of relying on laws, perhaps we should trust common sense and civil society.
The bumming part of the tweet wasn’t very nice and if that’s all he said it might be different but it was the #teamHIV that made it malicious. So nasty. No sympathy.
One of the reasons I feel so strongly about irresponsible exercising of so called “freedom of speech”
I think one has to delineate between a single insulting remark, and a barrage of harassment. They are two entirely different things.
In 99% of cases I would absolutely agree with you.
I would agree with Spanner and Stu that common sense is important – but we need to be able to tackle those that do behave with significant irresponsibility. Society has a duty to prevent harm to others.
I have seen the twitter feed, he messaged daley several times – and he has a foul mouth/fingers nearly every tweet he sends out is abuse. What a sad and pathetic individual he is. I wonder if other people he has messaged are willing to help the CPS.
sorry wrong article
I am glad, that this scumbag was arrested! He deserved it!
If someone can get a 6 month jail sentence for racist hate crimes for telling someone to “go and pick some cotton wog” (Liam Stacey) then I wonder how the courts would treat this where it was originally said and not in retaliation. It should be similar, no?
I was recently the victim of a rather disturbed individual who after 5 dates when I finished it told me he had intentionally exposed me to HIV and that he likes to pass it around to as many as possible! I recorded the entire conversation and reported to the police everything even the stalking, abuse and threats following and even though the police arrested him and tried to pursue it the CPS simply said because there is no evidence to prove his HIV status there was no law broken (I was tested exhaustively for 3 months, he was not!). The law needs to be radically overhauled to include new protections for people who go around maliciously saying anything! they want and getting away with it irrespective of the psychological harm it causes. I am still to this day stalked by this person and every time I report it I’m told “he’s not broken any laws”. This person also works for the NHS which is hypocritical. The law needs changing to protect victims because as of right now they simply don’t!
Without knowing the circumstances in detail, it is difficult to comment.
However, if there was repeated conduct of a harassing nature then it is difficult to understand why the CPS would not pursue it.
If it is within 6 months of the CPS decision you can complain about them.
If you had been insisting on practising safer sex, he could not have passed anything onto you. It is your individual responsibility to control the sex you have. You say you only knew this person briefly, 5 dates, so if you were having unprotected sex with him, that was your choice. No wonder the police did nothing, and hooray for them.
I’m not sure on what planet your from Joe but in my world a condom is not!!!! 100% an effective protection so before you go making assumptions such as you have done! id recommend sorting your life out! when you have sex with someone and then they come to you afterwards telling you they have intentionally exposed you whether you used your own condoms or theirs! it really makes no difference so get down off your rubber horse and if your going to comment at least dont make it full of halfassed! assumptions! when you hear HIV and intentionally infected you it doesn’t matter if the condom you wore was a head to toe one its still! a major event that gives untold! mental anguish that the CPS refused to pursue because there is next to no legislation for these new sick breeds of people going around intentionally infecting people and there really should be!
What nonsense. The likelihood of being infected when a condom is used properly is minuscule. And if such an unlikely eventuality were to occur, we still couldnot talk about deliberate infection, as everything reasonable had been done to prevent that happening. Save us from professional victims.
who says it was via sex, they could have used needles or made cuts to pass the infection along.
intentionally exposing someone to HIV is tantamount to GBH (with intent) you can take his messages as a signed confession surely?
the police actually charged him with a Section 18 Wounding (GBH with Intent) but because he refused to be tested and because I turned out negative they wouldn’t pursue it. Apparently mental torment/anguish doesn’t figure anywhere in the legal equation hence my post in relation to a dire need to reinforce stiff penalties for idiots who are quite literally mentally torturing people and getting away with it! contrary to popular belief (and im sure certain idiots will disagree) but words and campaigns of words can and do have long lasting adversely negative impacts on people’s lives I can attest to that one.
in answer to your post yes it is GBH and while the police want to pursue it that way the law has no mechanism’s in place to support it and so it goes on and people’s lives continue to get ruined by these sick minded idiots.
Cumbria Chief Constable Mr Hyde, who speaks on e-crime for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said police should get involved if people’s lives were being made a misery.
But asked if new laws were needed, he told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme: “No, I think we have got quite a lot of legislation, dating back to the Malicious Communications Acts of 1998 and 2003. There is a lot there that helps us and gives us the power to do stuff.
“This is a new technology, a new way of communicating, it has grown exponentially. There hasn’t been separate legislation so we are using legislation that wasn’t particularly created for this but it works reasonably well most of the time.”
He continued: “We are learning from it, there are things that have sometimes gone wrong and I think sometimes it is important that we make sure we provide the service people need.
“If people come to us and say ‘I am really upset, I’ve been offended, my life has been made a misery and I want somebody to do
something about it’, then yes the police should, whenever possible, try to help.”
Mr Hyde said abuse on Twitter did not appear to be a huge problem, based on the number of complaints police were receiving.
“I don’t want police officers dragged off the streets to deal with frivolous complaints. Where these complaints are pretty serious then it is quite right that we should intervene, and we do that,” he said.
“It is important to look at the whole context. It is not just about one tweet, it is a whole range of tweets. Look at what the individual has done – is this a concerted attempt to have a go at one individual in a way that passes the threshold for offences against the law? If it is, then clearly we should intervene and do something to stop it.”
Some on here have lives seemingly devoted to policing the PN boards to stifle and stymie debate towards an extreme left wing, never-to-be-questioned PC consensus.
But then that’s true of society as a whole, with all public organisations and bodies making employees swear oath of allegiance to limited PC thinking, or groupthink.
What’s occurring on Twitter and elsewhere is a cynical but very real attempt to pull everyone else – ie. US! – into line by making freedom of expression itself a thought crime if you don’t conform to the terms and conditions around thought and speech now being inscribed into law.
Basically they want to stamp out individual expression and have us all think and behave the same – limited – way, because free thinkers threaten the foundations on which the Big Brother surveillance society that has been creeping up on us in recent times (in case you hadn’t noticed) is built.
Homophobia and racism are merely pawns being used to advance this suppressive agenda.
Rights and responsibilities can not be separated – although unfortunately some, like you, would like to.
The result is people die – like my friend who was coerced into suicide by bullies who exercised their freedom of speech without thought and with malice.
If you think thats desireable in society then it says a lot about you.
It’s desirable if the alternative is that freedom of thought itself is criminalised and we live in a world where we are all treading on egg shells and in dread of a knock on the door.
Yes, we are disproportionately bullied as a minority group, but the bullies who succeed do so because of the victim hood and massive chip we carry.
The solution is to empower ourselves and each other to beat the bullies at their own game, by laughing at them and not reacting to the bait and provocation they dish up.
Bullies only target those they get a reaction from.
The answer is not legislation but empowering each other out of the victim mindset we as a community can’t seem to let go of.
You hear it do much on these boards and it perpetuates as people feed each others’ “poor me” syndrome.
Why not instead just adopt the attitude “it’s not the bully who hurts us – we CHOOSE to allow him to hurt us” and rose above it all by ignoring the bully, thereby depriving him the oxygen to continue his baiting?
Clearly, you and I can stand up for ourselves, SamuelB (sometimes against each other and sometimes on the same side).
Not everyone can.
Some people either through harassment (so multiple events) or through less frequent issues are bullied into a scenario where they see no solution other than to take their life.
Is the desire for there to be absolute free speech with no responsibilities or consequences so great that we accept suicides?
Even one message from a person may be enough. If person A harasses person B repeatedly and the person C sends an obnoxious message, that behaviour of person C may not in itself be harassing (it is the first contact of person C and thus there is no repeated behaviour) but it may be the straw that breaks the camels back and pushes person B into suicide.
Our actions have consequences. Rights are important. Actions have responsibility. Rights are strongly when they are exercised with responsibility.
You are absolutely correct Stu:- there will always be those in society who are weaker-willed and less able to stand up for themselves.
And we have a duty to protect them, but in a manner which is proportionate to the level of bullying being suffered.
Actual physical and/or vocal harassment involves the police, and rightly so.
A tweet in cyberspace most certainly does not.
In the last few days several celebs have deleted their Twitter accounts due to tweeted insults.
But more fool them for exposing themselves to such behaviour in the first place:- it you are going to have a Twitter account and raise your public profile then you are courting attention, wanted and unwanted, and must therefore accept the rough with the smooth.
But certainly involve the police where actual real life bullying is concerned.
What about those who are bullied through cyberspace and coerced into suicide.
The suicide is real even if you think the bullying is not.
Bullying comes second nature to Samuel – he has a world view that basically says he can say what he likes in the comfort of cyberspace, he does not understand that with freedom of speech comes responsibility. In his view freedom of speech & thinking must be upheld no matter what the consequences are.
He hides behind a faceless avatar, spouting his bile, ridiculing others – he is the offical PN bully & village idiot! I bet if I met him on the street his assumed superiority & confidence would evaporate instantly. All headline & no substance, waste of space!
Helplines should be set up for victims of cyberbullying and manned by people who can give practical psychological advice on how to ignore the bully, not let the bully get to you, or even how to play the bully at his own game.
Or just to reassure the victim that the problem really lies with the bully himself and why such people resort to such behaviour.
Realising that the bully is really at war with himself and tries
to deal with his self-loathing by projecting his pain and self-hatred externally at others can make the victim realise that the real victim is only the perpetrator him/herself.
The bully can be dealt with by telling them “I feel your pain” and “What trauma in your life has led you to lash out at others such as myself? Don’t you see your behaviour is a short-term solution to a long-term psychological problem that will eat you up and eventually destroy you unless you get urgent help?”
Deal with the bully in this way and the power almost always will revert back to you.
Lol………………….which self help book did you copy & paste the above post from Samuel???? You are the poacher turned gamekeeper when it comes to bullying. From your own admission you have been bullied because you have been perceived as different from an early age, yet despite those experiences you have bullied both myself & another commentator who dare to question you about your rather odd views.
You constantly claim that these comments boards are “subverted by PC indocerinated left wing commentators”, or another example that “PN boards being partrolled by commentators to stymie debate & prevent freedom of speech / thinking”. You do exactly the same with your bully boy tactics – many times I have felt like giving in to your vitriol, at least one other commentator has in the past retreated because of your personal aggression towards him – how does that uphold freedom of speech & thinking????
What a nasty individual you have portrayed yourself as!
I am also wondering who Samuel B.s is (Samuel bullsh!t probably)? You accuse other commentators of multiple usernames as a way of subversion & stymieing debate, yet I think the “s” on the end of your usual username is evidence that you clearly switch from one alias to another to do exactly what you have accused others of doing.
There is never a need to edit the online name if you are a genuine individual, so why has the “s” suddenly appeared at the end of your usual username? I am aware that other commentators also participate in this practice, I just do not understand why there is a need to be deceitful, other than as you say Samuel to subvert debate in ones own favour!
Gotcha red handed!!!!!
W6, firstly, the dictionary definition of to bully is “to harass, intimidate, smear…” and from where I am sitting there is only one person in this entire debate who fits that description.
I am almost tempted to say I feel your pain and to ask you what psychological trauma you must have suffered in your development to evolve into someone with such a rabid persona and negative outlook on life, but I will not rise to your bait.
On the subject of multiple aliases, which you appear to be obsessed with, to answer your question I was recently gifted with a new iPhone, and in order to be consistent with my postings I typed in my name as opposed to using an alias, which didn’t even occur to me to do.
So I typed in a rogue S?
So what, but thanks for pointing this out and I have already zapped it as you will see with this posting (sent from my iPhone!).
Now kindly stay on topic, there’s a good bully, er, chappie!
The thing with being a bully is sustained attacks & whilst you may wish to attempt to deflect the attention towards me, you cannot deny that you have a history of harassing, smearing & intimidating other commentators, the evidence is recorded on many debates on these comment pages.
There is a great deal of evidence where you have made incorrect assumptions & at every opportunity try to discredit me, various charities & other contributors.
You Sir have as you would say “have been hoisted by your own petard”.
I think it is right & proper to highlight a very good example of the subject matter being discussed within this thread – I beleive I am bang on topic much to your displeasure!
W6, please provide a few of my communiques from there boards in which, you claim, I have bullied others in the real sense of the word?
As you are wont to say in your rather coarse manner and limited grip of the English language, “put up or shut up!”
I am very happy to provide such evidence, perhaps you can clarify that we will use the definition of a bully as you have described within these comments.
Of course I will have to gain the permission of the other party to reproduce said evidence. You coud of course avoid this by admitting that the commentator in question has clearly posted that he felt bullied by your sustained aggressive personal attacks on said individual.
I beleive you should do the honourable thing & admit to your misdemeanor.
Just as I thought.
All bull and bluster.
No bluster from me, I will revert and post the evidence later today.
The readers can make their own mind up about you Samuel.
Clear evidence that you have bullied another commentator Samuel:
“Whilst W6 is correct in voicing his (and indeed my own) perception that Samuel did bully and harass me in the past on these comments leading me to leave the comments for a period, Samuel is also correct that the decision and choice to leave was mine and mine alone. I felt the alternatives was not acceptable and thus chose to draw a line and seek some calm by choosing to step outside of the aggressive situation that occurred.”
It should be noted that Samuel did offer a belated apology to the contributor in question, which was accepted…………..we clearly have a situation where a regualr & respected contributor endured sustained personal harrassment & aggressive postings form Samuel.
Readers can make their own mind up, but I am more than happy to provide details of the comments that lead to the situation that drove a commentator off the site – shameful behaviour!
And clear evidence in this pool of postings alone that you are trigger happy with the thumbs scoring system on here.
You are one cool manipulator of consensus if nothing else, I’ll grant you that!
Everything is a conspiracy with you Samuel – lets be clear about this:
When I am at home my IP Address is static, so no matter how many devices I have I can only vote once!
If I wish to vote a second time I can switch my wi-fi off & use the 3G network, which will indeed allow me to vote again, but only once!
If I go to a cafe where there is a wi-fi hotspot then I can vote again.
In theory I could be “trigger happy” with the voting system, but to be quite frank I neither have the time or inclination to run around London gaining access to a different IP hotspots. At most I would be able to manipulate the voting system by 1 possibly 2 additional votes. I am very sure that you also engage in vote manipulation; I can neither prove or dis-prove such a statement, but you seem to be very clear to accuse me of something you can’t prove!
I wonder wether there is actually a sensiblle role for our wonderful free press. Should they not be persuing Daniel Thomas and finding out the reasons why he put forward this horrible post. Let him justify his comments to his peers. I think he might find his view is very much a minority view and it can be shown to him that the majority of UK people despise such nonsense.
I can bet there would be many comments of “outrage” if the police did nothing.
The police are doing their duty as far as I can see.
There may be no action.
The problem I see with this idea of human rights is that the idea is worthless on it’s own. I can bang on to my heart’s content about my freedom to life but if someone runs me over my “right” is worthless. Okay so governments can protect against such a thing but only in theory. They could ensconce in law the right to life and punish my killer but that would not actually ensure I get my right to life.
Now if we talk about Human Responsibility in place of human rights then it starts to make more sense.
•Instead of a right to life we have the responsibility to protect and care for it.
•Instead of a right to freedom we have the responsibility to allow it.
•Instead of a right to freedom of speech we have the responsibility to listen and engage in dialogue.
•Instead of a right to freedom of religion we have the responsibility to respect other’s faith (or deliberate absence thereof) but live out our own.
One final big difference between human rights and human responsibility. It is
possible to infringe on other people’s human rights without realising or meaning it. It is almost impossible to ignore your human responsibility by accident – you have to mean to do so.
Rights and freedoms are key parts of how we interact in society – if we do it irresponsibly then, almost always, we intend either to be selfish in order to exercise a right that may harms others, but do not care about this; or we intend to harm someone else. Responsibility prevents this harm. Those who fail to show responsibility should be held to account, particularly if they do so persistently.
Our most successful approach to defending our human rights and human dignity is to begin with the principle:
— Choose Love, Not Hate.
Without such boundaries, our freedom of speech can be abused by those who seek to deny human rights and human dignity. Our freedom of speech can be abused to denigrate others of various identity groups. Our freedom of speech can be abused to mock, degrade, lie about, and slander others. Our freedom of speech can be abused to incite others to commit violence against other people. I am not just writing about such abuses from a theoretical perspective, but I have been a repeated victim of such abuse myself, as a result of my own stand for our universal human rights and human dignity.
But what is the answer? Can we deny freedom of speech?
The most balanced, consistent position is to use our own freedom of speech responsibly and fearlessly, and to obey the laws in our communities regarding slander and those who seek violence. Those criminal laws exist
so that responsible men and women could have some defense from such attacks by those who abuse our freedom of speech. For this to be successful, we must be consistent in two areas.
1. We must NEVER respond to abuse of freedom of speech with our own abuse, intolerance, and violence. Our ethical mathematics must recognize that two wrongs only equal two wrongs; they do not make a right. We must have the right to disagree in our shared Earth, without the penalty being abuse, intolerance, and violence.
2. We must obey and expect our courts and law enforcement to obey criminal law, and not give even the appearance of favoritism. We must all understand the penalty for assaulting another human being, for slandering another human being, and for inciting mobs to commit violence, among other criminal activity.
However, we must challenge those who would abuse our freedom of speech, as well as those who disregard the need for consistency in law and order for a cohesive society.
Choosing love over hate is the abiding principle upon which all civilised cultures are built.
However it is not all quite so black and white as that might suggest.
The problem in bringing law into decide what words and comments overstep defined boundaries is that the grey area in the middle is far too blurred.
The only way such laws could be enacted and enforced is by actually truncating our language and banning words or groupings of words on the basis that they could be construed as being offensive.
In other words conditioning people into a group think mentality whereby we put our thoughts through a filter before expressing them vocally while wary of the fact that even then there may be someone ready to pounce, who has either misconstrued your words or perceived them as intending to offend when that was not the intention.
See where all this is heading?
George Orwell was ahead of his time, but anyone who has read 1984 will get my drift.
The only just society is a free society.
If we say we will not regulate words which bully, harass and damage others – if we do not regulate (in some balanced and thoughtful way) such behaviour – is this not the slippery slope to advocating a free for all in other behaviours eg violence?
So you are advocating for the suppression by criminalisation of words that can or may be interpreted by some, though not necessarily all, as offensive?
Tell me, Stu, at what point would you draw the line at such wanton vandalism?
How “lukewarm” in terms of perceived offence would a word need to be for it to be outlawed and obliterated from the English language?
Less words means less ability for freedom of expression:- we will end up talking in dispassionate, monosyllabic, robotic drawl not unlike teenage text-speak.
And why would you espouse sacrificing our freedoms so readily?
Mind, some on here do already…
I look at it from another angle, if you permit people to say what they like irrespective of the harm it may cause to others or society – what else will you permit, violence, theft, – after all you could argue they are someone exercising their freedom of expression.
The difference between the examples you present are that words can only hurt if you choose to allow them to (sticks and stones and all that) while the over examples are actual physical acts for which adequate legislation exists.
I think name-calling and verbal bullying is cowardly and often learned behaviour (bullies are invariably found to have been bullied themselves at some point), but no way should the overwhelming majority of people who do not suffer such verbal abuse have their freedoms stripped away to protect the feelings and sensibilities of those who are, or perceive themselves to be, victims of such behaviour.
We should continue to vocalise our condemnation, but in calling for the law to act in such instances we are merely playing into the hands of those who want to tighten their control over society.
Controlling thought and speech itself would be a pernicious and sinister leap down the path to totalitarianism and tyranny.
” think name-calling and verbal bullying is cowardly and often learned behaviour (bullies are invariably found to have been bullied themselves at some point)”
You are having a cathartic moment Samuel, the PN comment boards are full of your name calling & bullying – please do not try to deny that this is the case as the very commentator you are replying to can vouch for this (I am moire than happy to provde evidence of your name-calling & bullying if you so wish me to).
Perhaps in future you might show some restraint & present argument in a manner that is not as you so rightly describe it as “cowardly”. You have in the past used the excuse of freedom of speech & thinking to justify your disgraceful treatment of others – you sunshine have a very short memory!!!
I look forward to some sensible debate that does not spiral down to the usual sort of mud-slinging I & others have endured from you.
“is this not the slippery slope to advocating a free for all in other behaviours eg violence?”
This reminds me of another argument……..now what could it be?……….
“If we allow same-sex marriage then it is a very slippery slope to polygamy and bestiality”
How the circle closes.
W6, the definition of bully is someone who intimidates, smears antagonises and harasses on a regular basis.
Now, from where I am sitting at least, there is only one person in this debate who fits that description.
I feel your pain, W6, I really do, but do try to keep on topic, there’s a good chap…
I agree with your definition, however it would be foolish to consider this particular debate, where I have only described the many debates in the past where you have bullied other commentators.
You may wish to be selective in your defence, but your record on these comments pages confirms that you are indeed a bully by the definition you have quoted above.
I note you have again changed your username, interesting as usually you are very consistent – I think anyone who is interested will draw their own conclusions!
The difference with the slippery slope argument re equal marriage is that logical fallacy is not supported by evidence. There are a number of examples of states who have relaxed laws requiring reasonable responsibility and this had lead towards anarchy.
How can there be evidence of something that does not exist?
What are you claiming does not exist?
If you clarify what you are misunderstanding then I will supply the evidence.
What evidence can you supply that marriage equality will not lead to what they are stating it will when marraige equality does not exist in the UK? if it is not in existence you can hardly supply evidence that it’s existence is either a good or bad thing or that it will open the door to what our opponents are stating can you?
Don’t misunderstand me, I am of the incredibly firm belief that of course marriage equality is crucial and it must, and I believe will, come to us. However lets not make erroneous statements about having “evidence” when we don’t.
This is an example of the way Samuel B. likes to intimidate other commentators:
Tell me, W6, when all of your postings are read back to back, which of the following words can you honestly say do not apply to how you come across:
Again I repeat, these are not insults but observations based on the character you present in your postings. Ditto my observation that you are an HIV shill…
How can an individual make these assumptions about a stranger?
Samuel B. 8 months ago Report
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W6, you will of course understand that the fact you are on this forum morning, noon and night does indeed make you sound like a shill or disinformation agent for the HIV sector, the functioning of which you seem to know an awful lot about. Clearly you are carrying out a task you have been set by who knows who, but its ultimate aim is for selfish interests and not to the greater good of the health and well being of gay men.
Since you go to lengths to insist you’re not a disinfo shill, the only other possibility is that you’re desperate to a very unhealthy degree to make your points. Of course, you are absolutely entitled to your opinion, but everyone knows it by now, and your constant presence here makes you sound dangerously obsessive. Seriously – you really do need to chill out and take a step back now.
What the readers will note from these comments is they are repetative in nature & when I explained to Samuel that I have a mental health condition his response was that I should stop playing the “victim card” & that if I was not psychologically strong enough then I should not be contributing to these comment boards……………….
This is Samuel’s idea of freedom of speech to repeatedly attack me & then suggest that I am “dangerously obsessive”. Samuel has no interest in freedom of speech or thinking unless it is his own freedom. He has tried very many times to make things very uncomfortable for me on here. He has made assumptions about how I contracted HIV – he beleives I was reckless & careless, but he is very wrong.
The point I am trying to make here is that like all bullies Samuel attempts to discredit by making wild assumptions about a complete stranger – he then peddles these assumptions as “facts”. He also employs very subtle methods to intimidate & also uses other alias’s to give the impression that he has supporters who agree with him – this is a more complex bullying in which the bully may have one or more ‘lieutenants’ who may seem to be willing to assist the primary bully in his or her bullying activities. He often accuses other commentators of employing “attack dogs” – the reality is that Samuel has many guises on these comments pages, whilst I cannot 100% proven this, his style of writing is very distinctive – I am sure other readers will draw their own conclusions.
Here is another example of the sustained abuse I have endured form Samuel B.
Samuel B. 10 months ago Report
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How absolutely pathetic, W6, when the person ranting and raving like a deranged politically correct nutter here has revealed himself to be delusional, paranoid, irrational, insane and a first-rate fantasist.
Samuel needs to be identified for the bully that he is – he claims that freedom of speech must be upheld at all costs no matter what the consequences……………………….he will of course deny that these comments can be seen as bullying, or indeed argue that I have also bullied him – yes I have retaliated but never to the extent that he has used hurtful terms to describe me (& other commentators).
A review of his postings has shown me that he has a deliberatley combative style, has a superior tone, & often belittles others for their use of the English Language. He has the gaul to post on this subject when he most surely is PN resident bully boy.
Erm, W6, how do any of these examples paint me as a bully?
The Stu incident occurred months ago (don’t you always scold me for digging up deeds long past?) and in part was through his own doing due to him being caught engineering consensus by adopting multiple aliases.
But that is water under the bridge as I have since apologised for laying into him too aggressively for said misdemeanour.
No, all I hear in your hijacking postings are the rantings of one of life’s eternal victims, always throws his toys out of the pram whenever someone expresses a viewpoint counter to your own, or dubbing them a bully and aggressor when they maintain their stand.
Behaviour that has resulted, in this last month alone, in you being told to “back off” (the plea of the bullied to their aggressor), reprimanded by Stu (who had had a belly full over you bullying through a point), and “a condescending, patronising queen” (see your last few posts alone to see how spot on that description of you was!).
The examples I have highlighted go back months & months Samuel – you have been relentless in your personal attacks – you may wish to refute that you are a bully, but the tactics you employ are to be seen over these comments pages – you have been relentless in your personal attacks on me. Again your default position is to deflect away from yourself back on to me – you employ this tactic as you are unable to clearly demonstrate that you are not the giulty party.
“No, all I hear in your hijacking postings are the rantings of one of life’s eternal victims, always throws his toys out of the pram whenever someone expresses a viewpoint counter to your own, or dubbing them a bully and aggressor when they maintain their stand.” – this is another example where you depict me as one of life’s eternal victims – how can you know this? It is just another slur on me & my character.
How do you know that Stu had a belly full – did he actually say this? No this again is your perception……………
………..you make up many things about me (and other commentators). Provide the proof that you know Stu “had a belly full over me bullying through a point”. If you can do this I will eat my words. Stu has never used those words& yes we had a difference of agreement but never once did I make deeply personal remarks about him (unlike your good-self). Stu is to be admired that he has accepted your apology – sadly I take such an appology with a pinch of salt, because you will in the future proove me correct that leopards never change thier spots.
You are the only contributor here that I take issue with – what does that say about you Samuel – from day one you have had me in your sights, why is this? At least have the guts to explain why you attack me on my very well researched views on HIV & my defence HIV charities against your willfull inaccuracies. Debate is good but it has to have at least some factual basis to it – you very rarely provide any factual arguments why is this?
“Erm, W6, how do any of these examples paint me as a bully?” perhaps you can explain why they are not examples of you being a bully – I refer you to your definition of bully is someone who intimidates, smears antagonises and harasses on a regular basis.
Ok lets try again to get a straight answer – do you deny referring to me as a “dalek” on a regular & consistant basis? Yes or No will suffice
Do you deny referring to me as an “attack dog” or sometimes as a “rabid attack dog” on several occasions Yes or No?
These to me are examples of the above definition!
How the feck does referring to you as a Dalek, as i was wont to previously, make me a bully?
You write in a robotic manner without much sign of emotion and slowly raise your decibel level in the beats of your wording to reinforce your point, hence the apt Dalek retort.
Start instilling some warmth and tolerance in your communiqués and this refrain will no longer apply.
Oh yes, that reminds me, you constantly refer to me as a “fool” and over derogatory terms also.
And yes, if you rant and rave, foam at the mouth and strain at your leash then jolly well get used to being described as an attack dog.
But again, how the feck does that make me a bully?
It is you providing the bait for others to respond to, sweetie.
If you want to treated respectfully, W6, drop the constant sneering one that runs through your writings like the wording through a stick of Brighton rock, polish up your oratory skills and darn well debate in an adult manner for a change!
“you constantly refer to me as a “fool” and over derogatory terms also” I think you will find that I have mearly been repeating the derogatory terms other contributors use to describe you.
The term “dalek” is derogatory when it is constantly used by you to describe me – ever since I posted an avatar you have referred to me as a Dalek. The point here Samuel is that you have singled me out for particular criticism – I note you do not comment about the writing style of other contributors (how does one raise the decibel level in writing, other than to use CAPITALS)?
You think you are the superior being Samuel, you are attempting to create an imbalance of power where you assume you have the right to refer to me (and others) in any way you wish.
“Start instilling some warmth & tolerance in your communiqués & this refrain will no longer apply.” -how can you suggest you are tolerant when you have made assumptions about how I contracted HIV? You consistently suggest I was reckless………
……..& engaged in unsafe behaviours – how can you know this? You have made assumptions because you have pre-judged the situation. In other words you have shown prejudice towards me because of my HIV status. I also note that you target other contributors who are open about their HIV status – this surely is the behaviour of an individual who seeks to intimidate others because you preceive them to be a lesser being.
“And yes, if you rant and rave, foam at the mouth and strain at your leash then jolly well get used to being described as an attack dog” these are your perceptions Samuel, none of them are true as I certainly do not have a leash to strain at, I am a human being not a dog (that said my dog is far superior to some humans)!
As for your debating skills – who are you to suggest your skills are better than anyone elses? Again you are attempting to create an inbalance of power by trying to depict me as a lesser being – this is a comment board not the debating society at Eaton!
“If you want to treated respectfully,” – again further evidence that you beleive you are superior to me. Respect is earned sunshine – you set the tone of our exchanges on these comment boards from day one, referring to THT volunteers as “part of the rot”. You beleive it is acceptable to make sensationally inaccurate statements about me, HIV charities & HIV treatment & care – & when you are challenged by well thought out factrual arguments your standard answer is to question the particular study or paper being referred to. In your view no study is safe from outside interference & is therefore void.
I note you have not respeonded to your bold claim about Life Exepctancy & HIV. You can’t respond because you have been shown to be wrong. Whilst you may beleive studies are corrupt; it is the reporting of such studies that is often incorrect or inept because of lack of understanding. HIV is a complex science, one you do not understand at all!
As a peer educator, part of my role in it’s wider context is to challenge the myths that exist. You wish to perpetuate stigma, fear & outdated myths about HIV; this is a willfull attempt to undermine advances in treatment & care, prevention & all those who work to secure a cure in the longer term. You are entitled to your views, BUT please do not post wildly inaccurate accounts about HIV testing, treatments & life expectancy studies.
People of your ilk do not understand the damage you are doing – HIV is the only virus that is stigmatised, why is this, after all it is just a bit of genetic code, a sequence of paired bases – what is so scarey about that???? No one wants HIV but sh!t happens in life – you need to show empathy & be more respectful to the great work that is going on around the world to try to eventually conquor the virus – after all that is all it is a virus, there are much worst things that can happen in life Samuel, but you woudlnt know that, because your life perfect
Perhaps you would think differently if you were on the other side of the fence – all my adult life I have had friends who are HIV positive, but I never once made judgements about them. Thye are some of the best people I could ever meet & quite frankly they would tear you to shreds with your disgracful attempts to discredit me. For every one of you Samuel there are 4 who can vouch for my good nature, this is because they know me, they do not make wild assumptions about me.
As far as I am concerned you are the only perswon who uses these comments boards that has made me consider just not bothering anyomore – you of course would love that, & would say “that’s your decision, people choose to give up” – the reality is Samuel when someone feels so uncomfortable in a situation that they have to retreat then something is wrong. You did this with Stu & you have nearly succeeded with me.
Enough from me on this, BUT take note you are no better than me or anyone else – get over yourself!
Maybe a more prominant position will get a reply from Samuel
Spoken like a true Da-lek!
Can we now look forward to seeing the Mark W6 Dalek trundling onto the Dr Who for the new series of adventures in a few weeks which, according to a news report on this very web site, sees every Dalek the good Dr Who ever encountered all together in one massive fight off?
Personally I’m more of a Cyberman freak myself, particularly the hulking old-fashioned type with the crotch-hugging, silver-sprayed wader suits (who needs bareback porn??!).
W6, it is abundantly clear that in your book intellectual superiority is equatable with bullying.
Well it is not!
Because you are unable to find the appropriate words to convincingly argue your way out of a paper bag, you instead resort to campaigns of harassment, intimidation, smearing and name calling.
You show yourself to be in this very debate (I need not dig around to find evidence like you are desperately trying to do, incidentally) the bully you accuse me of being.
Time to take a hard, long look in the mirror methinks?
I’m off to the next debate as this one clearly ended several days ago before you drove it off topic with your bullying hysterics and scared all comers away.
To think, this forum was such a more pleasant and peaceful place to visit before you darkened it.
And it is clear that I am far from alone in thinking that…
Lol you think you are intellectually superior?????? You may use posh words, but you have very little understanding of the topics you post about – what you don’t konw you make up. I have provided the evidence, it is clear for all to see – as always when you are placed in a corner you resort to the above comments to try and deflect away any critisim of yourself. It is not up to you to make a judgement, it is up to readers of these pages to form their own opinion. Time will tell me thinks, so take your own advice & look in the mirror!
“To think, this forum was such a more pleasant and peaceful place to visit before you darkened it.” – having read many of your postings prior to the time when I started regularly contributing it is obvious that you have developed a reputation amongst many many contributors – the comments pages clearly demonstrate this – you can deny all you like but it is there for all to see………………it is high time you were held to account & challenged!
Ooh, I’m all a quiver!!!
I mean no offence to either you Samuel, or W6, but both of you would you please exchnge numbers/email addresses and continue this purile mud slinging privately? You BOTH have valid points and while i don’t actually care i’ve been forced to read your ever-so-polite diatribe in the vain hope that someone was commenting on the news story i am actually interested in.
Again, sincerely, i don’t wish to join in, and don’t wish either of you any malice, but come on lads, don’t air your dirty laundry in public like this.
Hi Rob you are of course right, however at the risk of portrayed as totally deranged I find your comment rather interesting & at the same time suspicious! There is only one commentator who would use the words detailed above, & a review of the many comments pages where Samuel & I “debate” would suggest to me that all is not how it would seem; particularly with your sudden interest in this particular story at this late stage of the game. “Rob” often pops up as the voice of reason when Samuel has run out of options. Of course I can never prove this, but likewise neither can he not prove that Samuel & Rob are very well acquainted!
As you will note Rob I have previously commented that I am bowing out of this particular story, so feel free to chastise me as you see fit – I realise that this is pure conjecture on my part, but nevertheless something does not sit right about your comments!
Apologies in advance…………………….
Hi Rob, sorry if this personal slanging match has spoiled your enjoyment of the overall debate.
I am responsible for rising to W6′s bait when I should of course ignore it for the childish twaddle it is.
As he has done many times before, W6 deliberately hijacked this debate and altered its course by turning it into his personal crusade, which of course none gives a feck about, but he is too full of his own self-importance to realise that.
In future I will ignore his baiting and focus on the discussion in hand.
Hahaha, as much as i’d read the conversation i had no idea i was similarly named!! Obviously i can’t prove it to you, but i really am called Rob, and am really not either of you (!) which is not a sentence i ever thought i’d see myself write!!!
Thats genuinely made me smile, and not in a mocking way, just struck me that in trying to be all diplomatic and impartial i actually came across in the exact same way i was trying to curtail.
Sorry about that! But thanks to you both for takin it on board, its a shame you don’t see eye to eye as you really are both quite eloquent in your writing.
Thanks Rob for your comments – it is refreshing that there are those with a sense of humour on PN & also those who appreciate that differing styles of writing can still be eloquent, as you kindly remarked, I am usually bestowed the dubious comment of “gutteral, monotonous, Dalek-esque” to refer to my writing by “that man” lol.
It has given me a boost to have received three failrly positive endorsements in the last few weeks; an acknowledgment that I “inform & educate” (thanks JD -not withstanding the scolding he gave me), “my knowledge of HIV treatments and medications is commendable” (thanks Batmanz) & thanks Rob for saying that my writing is quite eloquent………great confidence boosters for me!!!!
I never imagined I would receive such hostile attention when I first started commenting on PN; it seems that if you are HIV positive & getting on with life, trust the advances in treatment & care, & provide accurate information you are very likely to be discredited & attacked!
What a grovelling jerk you are, W6.
Paranoid to the hilt, you accuse Rob of being anyone but who he says he is, then have the gall to toady to him instead of apologising to both him and I for your scurrilous accusation.
But then that’s you all over.
I think you will find that I appologised in advance – what you are pi$$ed off about Samuel is that other commentators clearly see you for what you are – A TROLL. Take a look at your beloved reds & greens during this discussion – there is plenty of evidence there together with the evidence that Rob does not give you the thumbs up as the “Superior Intellectual” here.
Also one other commentator has confirmed that I know my subject area, and another has acknolwledged that I “inform & educate” – I don’t see any comments like that aimed at you.
You clearly have a very short memory sunshine – how many times have you been seen to be “toadying up” to other commentators just to discredit me. You are a total disgrace & I will not be taking any lectures from you in terms of integrity – I know you use various usernames, sadly I cannot prove it, but as I say neither can you disprove it – put a photo up you coward, you make me sick you really do!!!!
Apologise you to, hell will freeze over before I do that!!!!! It is you that owes me an appology – for not least suggesting that I have been reckless & took risks with my sexual health & as a result I contracted HIV. HOW WRONG COULD YOU BE, but you carry on with your crusade against me. I am the stronger person here. It is because of people like you that HIV continues to be the problem it is. All you ever want to do is stigmatise, create fear & discriminate. YOU HAVE AN IRRATIONAL FEAR OF HIV – you need help to overcome this!
Please do not deny any of this because, as is my way I will provide the proof, which is not difficult as there are mountains of it scattered around these comments pages. You will come to regret making these very personal remarks about me & your disgracful portrayal of HIV charities. Mark my works what goes around comes around, start showing some respect towards those who live with HIV & stop posting utter tripe about a subject you so clearly know nothing about!!
I also note that you are unable to “ignore my childish twaddle” – why is this Samuel??? Me thinks the lady doth protest too much!!!! I have your card marked Samuel B you have met your match, I may not use posh words that make you seem intelligent, but quite frankly as I have alwasy said you are all headline and no substance – the devil is always in the detail (you should know that working in the rag trade). The sad thing is you don’t do detail (I dread to think what your visual merchandising is like)!
You are fast showing yourself up to be the PN troll, keep going, keep digging that hole, one day it will be big enough to bury yourself in!!!
Whilst you may profess to be a psychiatrist Samuel; paranoia is not a condition that I have been diagnosed with, or HIV induced dementia as you you have in the past speculated upon. I know how you like to belittle individuals who suffer with mental illness, & use inappropriate pyschiatic terms to describe me, you have no shame at all when it comes to serious longterm conditions that require medications to help give the sufferer a better quality of life.
As for apologising to you, I think it is fair to say that h£ll will freeze over before I would ever contemplate such a thing in relation to you – if anyone should be providing the apologies to both myself & the many many readers who have to put up with your pompous, surly & self important attittude it is you!!!! I can safely say that this particular thread has finally revealed you to be a nasty, vindictive individual!!!!
(a similar comment was posted at the same time as my other most recent comments but has not been published).
It kinda disgusts me that if a celebrity recieves a mean tweet the police will move the earth to destroy the bastard who did it, yet if you’re a non-famous person and you get physically assaulted then the police will do eff all.
We live in a society where words on the internet recieve a stronger punishment than Ian Tomlison’s killer.
Not that I agree with it I know it happens and I don’t think the police are the only people to do it. If the press know about something they will be onto the press office in minutes (trust me, I know they do) asking what we are doing about it, the best thing is to go overkill from the start or the next story that will be printed is the police failure to do something. I am sure every company and every agency would do the same thing if they knew the press were interested.
Whilst I know nothing about your assault I do know how easy it would be to prosecute someone for an offensive tweet (find out who owns the account, unless they go for the ‘not me’ defence). An unknown offender/no cctv/no other witness assault/theft? I would hope anyone would be able to see those sorts of crimes are more difficult to prove.
Cheap shot with Tomlinson, it is a jury that have reached that decision – CPS need to share alot of fault with that job. He will get sacked on a misconduct panel without a doubt.
Regarding “free speech” – we have had libel & slander laws for many years, and no-one argues they should be repealed. Freedom has to be circumscribed to some extent for the good of society as a whole – if someone calls you a “paedophile” or a “fraudster” this will impact negatively on anyone’s life, and they must have a chance to publicly refute such charges. Also people must be deterred from making such claims.
The debate here is surely how far do we restrict free expression?