08 June, 2013

Bad taste crime

The first I heard about the ghastly murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, a couple of weeks ago, was that a man wearing a 'Help for Heroes' T-shirt had been beheaded in an attack in Woolwich.

At that moment Deyka Ayan Hassan, a 21 year old student, tweeted that 'to be honest, if you wear a Help for Heroes T-shirt you deserve to be beheaded'.

Now, the best that can be said of Ms Hassan's remark is that it was in dramatically poor taste. She received, understandably, a barrage of complaints, some, less understandably, threats of violence. She complained to the police and was herself arrested. In passing I would mention that also in today's papers is the story of a father turning in his son's drug dealer to police and being arrested for kidnapping the aggrieved pusher. The best thing with the British police is to have nothing to do with them whatsoever.

Anyway, Deyka Hassan has now been convicted and sentenced. Note that the magistrates did not dispute the timing - that she did not know that it was a soldier - and she was not accused of or charged with inciting violence.

Ms Hassan was convicted of 'sending a malicious electronic message'. Can you be malicious to someone who is dead? Did you know that this was a crime? Is bad taste a crime? Or rank bloody stupidity (how many could we catch with that one)? Can I call the British Foreign Secretary a dangerous fool to his face but not send him an email to that effect?

I think we need to have a look at this.

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