- Date published:
5:37 pm, June 15th, 2019 - 149 comments
Categories: act, Christchurch Attack, david seymour, law, law and "order", terrorism, uncategorized, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:
A 0.4% of the electorate party is looking to increase its reach by proposing a rather strange thing to advocate for, the absolute right for people to insult.
From Radio New Zealand:
Leader David Seymour said the government was planning to restrict speech laws, and his party’s new Freedom to Speak Bill would repeal parts of the Act and the Summary Offences Act which makes insulting and offensive speech unlawful.
Mr Seymour said the Human Rights Commission had failed to defend the country’s most “basic right”, and he wanted it to be abolished.
Speaking on TV3’s Newshub Nation today, Mr Seymour said while it should be a crime to incite or threaten violence, no one should be punished for insulting speech.
“What’s more important is that we don’t go down a path that the UK has been down where people can have the police come around to their door and potentially arrest them – and have actually detained people just for sending a tweet.”
Yes there is a theoretical jail sentence attached to offensive speech under the Summary Offences Act 1981 but it has to be speech that is likely in the circumstances to cause violence against persons or property to start or continue.
And there is an offence of causing harm by posting a digital communication, but the poster has to intend harm, the message has to be the sort that will cause harm to an ordinary person in the position of the victim and it has to actually cause harm,
So should “just sending a tweet” ever result in an arrest?
How about if the tweet had a picture of a crossbow with the caption “We are ready for civil war, are you?” Or what about branding an MP as a “traitor” and telling her to “remember what happened to Jo Cox so be careful”.
Or what if the recipient suffers from epilepsy and you send him a gif of a strobe light with the intent that you trigger an epileptic episode and actually trigger an episode?
Or how about offering money by tweet for someone to be killed?
I suspect Seymour’s response would be “snowflakes”. But in any civilised rule of law system this sort of behaviour should never be tolerated.
In a perhaps unfortunate coincidence an idiot was arrested outside the Christchurch High Court this week for offensive behaviour, to wit the insulting of some of the victims of the Mosque shooting.
A man arrested and charged with disorderly behaviour after making racist comments towards Christchurch mosque attack victims outside court on Friday has been released on bail.
Rodrick Wayne Woods, 33, was charged with behaving in an offensive manner and was granted bail to reappear in the Christchurch District Court on June 28. He did not enter a plea.
Police alleged he said something offensive to people who were giving a television interview outside the court house in Lichfield St.
He was arrested under the very section that Seymour is talking about repealing. This incident shows how bizarre Act’s proposal is. Who in their right mind would change the law to allow neo fascists to insult others because of their ethnicity?