Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Stephen and Doreen Laurence: Free Speech?

Over at James Cleverley's Blog a couple of days ago:

At 23:09 on Friday night Anonymous said...
I have spoken to one of Stephen Lawrence's mates... far from being the church going saint made out by the family he was part of a particularly odious inner city black gang who took particular delight in beating other rival gang members to within a minute of their life.
Those who live by the sword...

I hoped that James would remove this remark from a BNP sock puppet. Or at least ridicule it and call it to account?

He has done the latter and encouraged me to use free speech to do likewise. Thing is that much as I believe in and practice free speech I understand that this right must be balanced with other rights and responsibilities.

Free speech does not extend to defamation, it does not extend to shouting "Fire" with a view to starting a panic in a crowded place, and it certainly does not extend to inciting racially-motivated or any other violence.

The comment seemed to do all three really. It defamed Stephen Laurence and his family, it uttered words to cause panic and distress, and it suggested with its last line and ellipsis that "those who live by the sword ..." should die by the sword. Condoning and indeed encouraging killing.

I believe that goes beyond reasonable free speech rights. Anti Nazi League summary of the Laurence case is here.


James Cleverly said...


Free speech isn't free speech if you only let people say what you agree with.

The Bournemouth Nationalist said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ursula said...


I hope you'll take the above comment from BNP Dave off your blog. I understand he has right to his point of view but it's not acceptable to advocate violence in any circumstances.

Chris Paul said...

Sorry BNP Dave. That is absolutely groundless propaganda tosh. These are just vicious, nasty, disgusting lies to excuse some racist killers who have literally got away with murder.

Quoting these year after year does nothing for your so called "party" and its so called "mainstream status" but it does speak volumes to the thugs (and bomb makers and would be assassins) in suits reputation that the BNP do enjoy.

James: I don't agree with racist killing or illegal defamation and incitement. I do not agree with shouting FIRE with impunity in a crowded place and causing panic, mayhem and even death.

If one looks properly at the rights we enjoy - whether ICHR, ECHR, Bill of Rights, putative Brit constitutions - they included rights which MUST BE BALANCED. They are mutually exclusive. Free speech is fettered in this country and it has to be to allow quiet enjoyment, right to life, right to trade and so on. Discuss.

The Bournemouth Nationalist said...

Thugs, bomb makers and assassins.

Don't you normally appease these types of people Chris.

Are far as I'm aware Sinn Fein are full of these types of people and convicted terrorist killers to boot.

Anonymous said...

"Free speech does not extend to defamation"

M'learned friends tell me that one cannot defame the dead, so the comments about S Lawrence are NOT defamatory.

What are they? They are just gossip. The claim that he was a good lad, who was going to become an architect, are also just gossip. Gossip is unreliable.