British 'insult law' to be repealed

Campaigners have hailed the victory of the amendment announced to Section 5 of the Public Order Act

by The Commentator on 14 January 2013 19:38


The British Home Secretary Teresa May has today signalled that she will seek to amend Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, ending what campaigners called "decades of madness" in the British legal system.

Section 5 of the Act has previously led to convictions based on offence taken through 'insults' - often during jokes or prankish behaviour.

Campaigners seeking to repeal the act highlighted the folly of the law by showcasing incidents such as a student being arrested and fined for calling a horse "gay", and a 16 year being fined £200 for saying "woof" to a labrador in front of police.

Teresa May today stated that the Government will accept a House of Lords amendment to remove the word ‘insulting’ from Section 5 of the Public Order Act. May told the House of Commons that the word ‘insulting’ would be removed as part of the Crime and Courts Bill.

Campaigners against Section 5 have hailed the government's decision as a victory for common sense. Simon Calvert, Reform Section 5 campaign director, said he was “very pleased” by the Government’s statement.

He said: “This is a victory for free speech. People of all shades of opinion have suffered at the hands of Section 5.

“By accepting the Lords amendment to reform it the Government has managed to please the widest possible cross-section of society. They have done the right thing and we congratulate them.”

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