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Free speech and its limitations

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bobwilson
1385748.  Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:42 pm Reply with quote

It's a question of possible ramifications, imo.

More than that - it's worth looking at the history of super-injunctions and just why this mess has occurred.

Also, for what it's worth, I would have abstained from naming Mr Giggs - mostly because that matter is none of my (or indeed your) business.

 
barbados
1385749.  Wed Jul 21, 2021 9:38 pm Reply with quote

That is exactly my thoughts on the matter. Neither should (have been) named but they both were under privilege in the house of commons.

Both cases are exactly the same - if you break the reporting restrictions you are in contempt of court. The reason those that named Giggs were not pursued was because of the number of people that did it - that was the reason his name was discussed in Parliament- it was a debate on privacy and the effectiveness on super injunctions so I kind of get that. He shouldn’t have been named by anyone, but he was. Soldier F shouldn’t have been named in the house, but he was. The media have the same reporting restrictions under both but they have chosen to respect those in this case. They weren’t permitted to report previously - but they (as did this very forum) chose to ignore those restrictions.(incorrectly if you ask me)

 
CB27
1385799.  Thu Jul 22, 2021 11:16 am Reply with quote

I think there was more to it than that.

Once Giggs was named by some people, many others were willing to follow along because the injunction order itself seemed designed only to protect people with money from revealing frivolous actions.

The reason I think many people will not name soldier F is because the order was to protect lives and relates to murder charges and events that very sensitive to many people.

Whether, as is claimed by some, people already knew who soldier F was before this revelation is neither here or there, I assume the original order was due to security. The fact there were no previous retributions is also neither here of there, because for all we know some people have been held back by the concept it was the wrong identity, but by having an MP confirm the name it could give the green light to some people.

The question should not be "why shouldn't someone be named?", the question should be "why should someone be named?". What was achieved by naming soldier F in Parliament?

 
dr.bob
1385859.  Fri Jul 23, 2021 4:52 am Reply with quote

When a fact is already widely known by anyone who cares enough to find it out, what is achieved by keeping it a secret?

 
CB27
1385927.  Fri Jul 23, 2021 10:45 am Reply with quote

There could be lots of reasons.

One reason I can think of is that up to now people "thought" they knew, now a senior MP has said his name, it's like having a confirmation.

The fact several people immediately leapt to the "well, they already knew and if anyone wanted retribution they would have done it by now" argument shows how easy it is for most people to consider that scenario, and you don't know what difference confirmation of his name will make.

And it's all about where do you draw the line.

Again, if we go back to Giggs, that was a private injunction "bought" to cover a celebrity's indiscretion. The argument could be made that such injunctions should not be allowed to take place in the first place.

However, this order was on the grounds of security and safety. I think the majority of people might agree that it's right to have such orders in place where necessary, and that they should remain legal.

What if another person was being accused of a heinous crime and the judge issues a similar order to avoid vigilante "justice", and the subsequent trial proves this person innocent? What if another MP decided they believed this person is guilty and decided to say their name in public before they're proven innocent?

 
bobwilson
1385996.  Sat Jul 24, 2021 4:18 pm Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
When a fact is already widely known by anyone who cares enough to find it out, what is achieved by keeping it a secret?


That's rather naive of you dr.bob

You're ignoring the "random nutter" factor. Simon Wiesenthal may know the new identity under which Heinrich Himmler is hiding, but that is not the same as having the identity published to some hitherto keyboard warrior looking to make a splash, is it?

The real problem is that the misuse/abuse of super-injunctions has meant that there is now a deep suspicion of this weapon (the parallels with anti-biotic over-use and the rise mistrust of modern medicine is stark). IMO the lawyers who abused the super-injunction system leading to the current situation should be sanctioned, if not disbarred.

 
suze
1386024.  Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:02 am Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:
Simon Wiesenthal may know the new identity under which Heinrich Himmler is hiding, but that is not the same as having the identity published to some hitherto keyboard warrior looking to make a splash, is it?


I'd hear that parallel if it were the case that only a few nameless acquaintances of Gerry Adams knew Soldier F's real name. Those shadowy people have undoubtedly known the name all the while, but once that name has appeared in Hansard - as it has - the cat is out of the bag.

Given that it's been published once, and by an organ of the state, does it really make any difference whether or not it's published all over the place?


bobwilson wrote:
The real problem is that the misuse/abuse of super-injunctions has meant that there is now a deep suspicion of this weapon.


Here I can only agree. I blame Messrs *arter-*uck, mostly.

 
bobwilson
1386054.  Sun Jul 25, 2021 5:57 pm Reply with quote

And now I see there's a petition calling to make lying in the HoC a criminal offence. No surprise really - people really haven't got the hang of this democracy malarkey yet, have they?

I recall seeing bojo saying that he believed the "great british public" could be trusted to "do the right thing" - has that guy taken a look in the mirror recently? twas the great british public what elected you - and you really want to trust them to do the right thing?

 
bobwilson
1386055.  Sun Jul 25, 2021 6:09 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Given that it's been published once, and by an organ of the state, does it really make any difference whether or not it's published all over the place?


yes (to give the short answer) - every publication of the information widens (or possibly widens) the audience - sooner or later some obscure website that has nothing particular in common with wild (my randomiser of alcohol wants to put "wiled" there - which sort of makes sense) conspiracy theories will be visited by some random nutter who thinks a) he (it'll invariably be a "he") is sane and b) this is a message from 1) God; 2) a like, unnamed higher consciousness; 3) just shit happens / other numerous variations

Quote:
Here I can only agree. I blame Messrs *arter-*uck, mostly.


I assume the asterisks are due to your reticence in referring to them by the (wholly appropriate) epithet cast by Private Eye, this being a family-centric forum - unless there is some other legal personage of infamous lawyerly types operating under a name similar to Carter-Ruck of which I am unaware?

Because, in their case, I see no reason to even pretend at anything other than wanton hostility - not that they're the only ones culpable.

 
barbados
1386057.  Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:53 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:

Given that it's been published once, and by an organ of the state, does it really make any difference whether or not it's published all over the place?

Which raises the question why you were quite happy to name Ryan Giggs as CTB, yet you are unwilling to name Soldier F.
You’ve suggested both should been seen as the same, yet you were the first to name him here, along with an admission that the injunction preventing him from being named is still in place.
You’ve asked why the cases differ, why do they differ for you? The answer is probably the same.
For the record I have no interest in who soldier F is, similarly I had no interest in who CTB was.

 
Prof Wind Up Merchant
1386209.  Wed Jul 28, 2021 7:15 am Reply with quote

Am I still allowed to go to Speakers Corner in Hyde Park and shout "BORIS JOHNSON YOU C***!!!"?

 
crissdee
1386214.  Wed Jul 28, 2021 8:08 am Reply with quote

IANAL but I think public order/breach of the peace type stuff would apply here.

 
suze
1386217.  Wed Jul 28, 2021 9:17 am Reply with quote

In principle that's right, but in practice calling Mr Johnson that name in public is unlikely to get you arrested.

Once upon a time, the use of "obscene and profane language to cause annoyance" was considered a public order offence in and of itself. The last couple of attempted prosecutions under this head have failed though. To prove the offence, it is necessary for a police officer to hear your "obscene and profane language" - the police will not attend if you call them up and complain that suze just said a rude word - and police officers have heard it all before, or so it was held.

Whether calling Mr Johnson a rude name would be likely to occasion a breach of the peace has to be doubtful. Public figures too have heard it all before, and is it really very likely that a crowd would come to fisticuffs just because you said something not very nice about a divisive public figure?

One offence which is certainly not committed by calling Mr Johnson that name on these forums is libel. If you alleged that Mr Johnson did specific bad things and this wasn't true then there might be a case to answer, but "mere vulgar abuse" is never libelous.

 
dr.bob
1386346.  Fri Jul 30, 2021 9:22 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
To prove the offence, it is necessary for a police officer to hear your "obscene and profane language" - the police will not attend if you call them up and complain that suze just said a rude word - and police officers have heard it all before, or so it was held.


This reminds me of something I've been wondering about for a while now. I had the misfortune to watch one of those interminable cable-TV shows which follow police officers around as they deal with miscreants. During the episode there were several instances where people who were obviously drunk, though not massively disorderly, were being questioned by the police. At some point, the drunk person would let slip some profanity, at which point one of the officers would say "Ah ha! Swearing at a police officer is an offence, so you're nicked!" and drag them away in the back of a van.

Ever since I've been wondering whether that really is an offence, or if the police were just inventing an excuse to drag this person off to the cells to sleep it off and avoid them making a nuisance of themselves.

 
suze
1386356.  Fri Jul 30, 2021 12:15 pm Reply with quote

A bit of both!

I have several sources (example) for the use of "obscene and profane language" being an offence. None of these sources cite the Act which is being contravened, but if it's an offence at common law then this isn't a problem. (For instance, there is no Act which says in black and white that murder isn't allowed - but it's an offence at common law.)

But as noted, recent prosecutions for the supposed offence have failed - and it's highly unlikely that a drunk carted off to the police station will actually go to court charged with this and this alone.

So yes, in those instances it's being used as an excuse when they want to arrest a person for something. When Boris Johnson was Mayor of London he once opined that the offence ought to be specifically enshrined in law and enforced, but he has not pursued the matter as Prime Minister.

 

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