A free speech victory in the UK

Sonia Sodha writes in The Guardian:

And just before Christmas, in a landmark judgment that has attracted surprisingly little commentary from human rights lawyers given its profound implications, the court of appeal went further in ruling that the College of Policing’s guidance that the police should record all non-crime hate incidents, as perceived by those taking offence at them, is an unlawful incursion on citizens’ freedom of expression.

The key is that the Police were not taking into account intent or even context. They were recording them as a non-crime hate incident purely on the basis of the views of those offended by them.

This has become open to manipulation, with sinister consequences for freedom of expression. Anyone can complain to the police if they don’t like something someone says. It will get recorded as a hate incident, in a way that could significantly damage careers and reputations but with none of the due process of a criminal charge. And it is impossible to understate the chilling impact of getting a call from a police officer warning you off exercising your democratic rights.

You don’t get a criminal record, but it is in your Police record and could affect you getting jobs in future which need vetting.

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