Plans to encourage a lot more people to complain to law enforcement about anti-trans hate criminal offenses could criminalise comedians such as Ricky Gervais, campaigners have warned.
The Home Office is in the process of drawing up a new dislike crimes strategy that aims to ‘ increase the reporting of all forms of hate crime’, including those relating to gender identity.
Those in favour of the proposals, which would see ‘ perpetrators’ accused of ‘ non-crime hate incidents’, hope people will feel better protected through harm.
Yet free-speech campaigners fear the newest drive could see comedians criminalised for telling jokes, particularly about the rise of transgender ideology.
The plans are being developed despite a court judgment last year, which ordered police to stop recording gender-critical views as non-crime hate occurrences, which are declarations of wrongdoing added to someone’s criminal record.
Last night, Sarah Phillimore, a barrister from the Fair Cop campaign group, declared that Ministers’ plans ignored the Appeal Court ruling and could put the police on the incorrect side of the law.
She said: ‘ These plans suggest possibly that the Government is not paying attention, or that they have contempt for that Court of Appeal. In any event, it is astonishing that legislators are planning to expand the discredited and unlawful practice of recording non-crime hate occurrences [NCHIs]. Following Fair Cop’s win in the Courtroom of Appeal in December, the College of Policing promised to publish revised hate crime assistance by the end of May this year. We’re still waiting. Police forces that record complaints against comedians – or any other lawful speech – as NCHIs will be adding illegality upon illegality.
‘ They will after that find themselves in court with no legitimate defence. This quixotic strategy oozes arrogance, as though the law does not apply if you are fighting for ‘ the correct side of history’.