Friday, July 10, 2009

White trash jailed for Internet hate crimes

So where do you draw the line between free speech and hate speech? Do you ever think twice before you click on "publish post"? Any "niggly" feelings that what you're about to send across the internet might just be monitored by somebody?

What exactly does someone mean when they use the phrase "shitskin?" Is it a racial epithet, or merely synonymous with criminal scumbag? What about context? And what about the pictures you select to convey your meaning? After all, a picture paints a thousand words. Is there a tumour in your humour as Robbie Williams says?

The following report by the BBCnewsonline made headlines today, and although it is an extreme example of virulent racism, sexism and anti semitism, I can't help but get the sneaking suspicion that the report is a subtle warning to other moderate and legitimate users on the internet: Be careful, Big Brother is watching, you might be next.

Two men have been jailed after becoming the first in the UK to be convicted of inciting racial hatred online.

Simon Sheppard, 51, of Selby in North Yorkshire, received four years and 10 months, and Stephen Whittle, 42, of Preston, two years and four months.

The men printed leaflets and controlled websites featuring racist material.

They fled to the US after being convicted of race-hate offences at a trial at Leeds Crown Court last year, but failed in an asylum bid.

Sheppard, of Brook Street, Selby, was found guilty of 11 offences and Whittle, of Avenham Lane, Preston, was found guilty of five offences at a trial in July last year.

Sheppard was convicted of a further five charges in January 2009.

However, before the jury in the first trial could return verdicts, both men fled to Los Angeles International airport and attempted to claim political asylum.

Their bid was thrown out by a US immigration judge.

The men were charged with publishing and distributing racially inflammatory material, and possessing racially inflammatory material with a view to distribution.

Leeds Crown Court was told Whittle wrote offensive articles that were then published on the internet by Sheppard.

The published material included images of murdered Jews alongside cartoons and articles ridiculing ethnic groups.

Judge Rodney Grant told the men their material was "abusive and insulting" and had the potential to cause "grave social harm".

He added: "Such offences as these have, by their very nature, the potential to cause grave social harm, particularly in a society such as ours which has, for a number of years now, been multi-racial.

'Groundbreaking case'

"These are serious offences. I can say without any hesitation that I have rarely seen, or had to read or consider, material which is so abusive and insulting... towards racial groups within our own society."

The investigation into Sheppard began when a complaint about a leaflet, called "Tales of the Holohoax", was reported to police in 2004 after it was pushed through the door of a synagogue in Blackpool.

It was traced back to a post office box in Hull registered to Sheppard.

Humberside Police later found a website featuring racially inflammatory material.

The force's Adil Khan, head of diversity and community cohesion, said: "This case is groundbreaking.

"It involved Humberside Police along with our colleagues from other forces.

"Inciting racial hatred is a crime and one which seems to occur too regularly. This kind of material will not be tolerated as this lengthy investigation shows."

7 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

Indeed. An earlier posting of mine documented the Ezra Lavant saga, a Canadian lawyer that was brought before the Human Rights Commission. Where do you draw the line? Freedom of Speech used to be a fundamental right in a free society. We pay it lip service now. Nobody is really free to say what they want, not if you are white at least.

Anonymous said...

You tell the TRUTH, you die!

"In times of universal deceit..."

Shhh, don't tell anyone about the holohoax, but it's cool to ignore the British Death Camps that ended Boer independence!

Anonymous said...

Two ways of looking at it. If you're merely spreading facts that can be proven as truth then how you disseminate those facts is up to you. For instance, if I say "Mandela was a terrorist", it may sound like I'm spreading a hateful falsehood but the truth is, he WAS a terrorist, was convicted of planting a bomb so what I'm saying is not illegal because it is true.

If I say it differently like "he was a low-down stinking terrorist kaffir", again, that's a different way of saying a truth but it's still not illegal to say it.

However, if Mandela was not a terrorist, me saying that he was, then fabricating "evidence", spreading it around, now that is hatred towards that individual and there I would agree one would have stepped over the line which seems to be what these people have done.

Anonymous said...

Once again whitey gets nailed for what he SAYS and the coons get off scot free on crimes that they DO. I have a huge problem with legislation relating to "incitement". Its part of the pinko PC multiculti lie - because it implies that adults can be INCITED to do something they wouldn't otherwise do - i.e. implies that they cannot make judgements and take responsibility for their own actions. What a load of hogwash - and on this basis our freedom of speech is removed. We are now truly living the Orwellian nightmare.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 5:02, Orwell's nightmare has come to pass. Nobody should be prosecuted for incitement to violence unless a clear connection can be found between an ACT and the WORDS - and as far as I know no act of violence came from these people's words. They should have received a caution and no more.

Viking said...

those were my initial thoughts too. I don't want to defend these guys as it seems they are complete scum, but surely disseminating information isn't "hate speech"? Wouldn't you have to prove that someone who didn't hate people before now hates them as a result of this dissemination?
Most of those websites preach to the converted anyway...

Exzanian said...

Anon "because it implies that adults can be INCITED to do something they wouldn't otherwise do - i.e. implies that they cannot make judgements and take responsibility for their own actions." Well, exactly. Am I too weak to make up my own mind? How about the jurors who had to view the material and use it to convict the men? Did it perhaps not pervert one or two of them? It reminds me of the old SA censor board, the "authorities" were allowed to view pornographic images and censor them before they appeared in magazines like Scope in order to protect poor old innocent Joe