The ludicrous state of free speech in the UK is being exposed by the fact that a former police officer is facing prison for merely ‘implying’ something offensive in a meme sent to a private WhatsApp group.
62-year-old Michael Chadwell sent a meme which featured multi-colored parrots and children of diverse ethnic backgrounds accompanied by text asking why diversity is celebrated in animal species but not humanity.
A Facebook comment below the meme said, “Because I’ve never had a bike stolen out of my front yard by a parrot.”
Chadwell now faces six months in prison under the Communications Act 2003 for what the court deemed a “grossly offensive” implication, meaning he was not even convicted for the content of the meme, but what other people might take from it.
District Judge Tan Ikram rejected Chadwell’s defense that the meme was simply akin to a Monty Python sketch and was poking fun at woke culture, asserting that it was intended to mean “black people steal.”
Because as everyone knows – black people never steal!
There’s something so profoundly ironic about a justice system that can convict an ex-copper for chatting shit on WhatsApp, but can barely keep up with the flow of rapists, murderers and abusers still on the force.https://t.co/kxlJQxr3eD
— David Andress (@ProfDaveAndress) November 6, 2023
“This ruling by Judge Ikram introduces a troubling standard in legal interpretation,” writes Ben Squires.
“By inferring a grossly offensive meaning from a meme and considering this sufficient for a conviction, the court has ventured into the realm of punishing perceived implications, a move that blurs the lines between actual speech and inferred meanings.”
“This latest development, where judges adjudicate on the supposed implications of a message, escalates the risk of arbitrary judicial decisions. The problem is compounded in the realm of digital communication, where context and tone are crucial and often misunderstood.”
This completely eliminates all nuance and empowers judges to decide what’s “offensive” based on their own personal biased interpretation.
Chadwell, along with other officers who took part in the private chat group, is set to be sentenced later this week at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
As we previously highlighted, last year, former police officer James Watts was jailed for 20 weeks for the ‘crime’ of posting offensive George Floyd memes in private WhatsApp and Facebook group chats.
It remains a mystery as to why so many police officers appear ready to believe ‘stereotypes’ about black people. Where could they possibly be developing such prejudices?
* * *
Tue, 12/05/2023 - 03:30