27 September 2009

Lawful Debate

It was Cranmer who first drew my attention to story about the hoteliers who "were arrested and charged under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 and Section 31 (1) (c) and (5) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, for using threatening, abusive or insulting words’ that were ‘religiously aggravated’", in a post headed, "Christians face trial for criticising Islam".

Taking a closer look at the charges we have:

Public Order Act 1986

"5 (1) A person is guilty of an offence if 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,

within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby."

and,

Crime and Disorder Act 1998

"31 (1) A person is guilty of an offence under this section if he commits

....

(c) an offence under section 5 of that Act (harassment, alarm or distress),

which is [F2 racially or religiously aggravated] for the purposes of this section."

To write comments about this story in the absence of the facts, as discovered by a court, is pointless.

Let's wait for the court case to see what happened and whether or not the defendants have a defence.

Here's the latest from the Daily Mail,

"They all but called me a terrorist ... Muslim woman hits back over race row with hotel couple."

Again, this provides only half of the story.

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