"The right to freedom of expression is crucial in a democracy. Article 10 of the Human Rights Act safeguards the right to free expression, which includes the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without State interference.
The right to free expression is, however, not absolute – it can be limited to protect the rights of others. Any limitations on the right must be necessary and proportionate, and criminalising even the most unpalatable, illiberal and offensive speech should be approached with grave caution in a democracy."
On the 1st May, 2012, the (ironically-named) Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 received Royal Assent.
Once more, our civil and human rights are further-diluted, by dangerously-crafted legislation.
111 Offences in relation to stalking
(1) After section 2 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (offence of harassment)
1 Prohibition of harassment.
(1) A person must not pursue a course of conduct—
(a) which amounts to harassment of another, and
(b) which he knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other.
(2) For the purposes of this section, the person whose course of conduct is in question ought to know that it amounts to harassment of another if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct amounted to harassment of the other.
(3) Subsection (1) does not apply to a course of conduct if the person who pursued it shows—
(a) that it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime,
(b) that it was pursued under any enactment or rule of law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any enactment, or
(c) that in the particular circumstances the pursuit of the course of conduct was reasonable.
2 Offence of harassment.
(1) A person who pursues a course of conduct in breach of section 1 is guilty of an offence.
(2) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or both.
Protection from Harassment Act 1997
“2A Offence of stalking
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if—
(a) the person pursues a course of conduct in breach of section 1(1), and
(b) the course of conduct amounts to stalking.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(b) (and section 4A(1)(a)) a person’s course of conduct amounts to stalking of another person if—
(a) it amounts to harassment of that person,
(b) the acts or omissions involved are ones associated with stalking, and
(c) the person whose course of conduct it is knows or ought to know that the course of conduct amounts to harassment of the other person.
(3) The following are examples of acts or omissions which, in particular circumstances, are ones associated with stalking—
(a) following a person,
(b) contacting, or attempting to contact, a person by any means,
(c) publishing any statement or other material—
(i) relating or purporting to relate to a person, or
(ii) purporting to originate from a person,
(d) monitoring the use by a person of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication,
(e) loitering in any place (whether public or private),
(f) interfering with any property in the possession of a person,
(g) watching or spying on a person.
(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks, or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or both.
(5) In relation to an offence committed before the commencement of section 281(5) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the reference in subsection (4) to 51 weeks is to be read as a reference to six months.
(6) This section is without prejudice to the generality of section 2.”
Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
One only can speculate (but with some accuracy), on how many cases this will set before the courts.
Although there are some protections, under the PHA 1997, Section 1, 3 (a)-(c), legitimate research, reporting and public challenge has now been grossly-jeopardised, in Statute; we suggest there will be many ECHR/HRA cases arising, from this new Act.
The OSC fears no court appearance, for all we do is reasonable, within our mission statement, as provided, above and within Article 10 of The ECoHR.
However, as for the whole of our local (and broader) society, we despair of such actions, particularly, bearing in mind, where the ideas seem to have originated.