8 October 2012

Making sick jokes should not be a criminal offence

A 19 year old has been jailed for drunkenly posting some sick jokes on the internet about April Jones. 

Matthew Woods is currently serving three months at her majesty's pleasure for being stupid, insensitive and crass - convicted for sending 'grossly offensive public electronic communication' under some bizarre clause of New Labour's Communications Act 2003. 

My problem with this sort of law beloved by the Daily Mail and authoritarian Labour Home Secretaries is that it relies on generalised terms such as 'grossly offensive' which are purely subjective - one person's offence is another person's humour.

In a liberal democracy the state is not there to bolster the will of the majority - it is there to protect the minority - however unpopular and however moronic. 

It's time for the Lib Dems (at least) to take a stand on issues like this.  There is a whole raft of mainly useless Labour crime legislation - made in haste to play to the tabloid gallery - that simply criminalises people for their views.  They should be repealed and the Lib Dems should lead the charge.

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