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Protest speech

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Fuck the police indeed

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

If the facts in this story are accurate, this seems a very questionable exercise of police powers: A number of people at the gig said [singer Tiki] Taane began singing “f*** the police” when they carried out a standard inspection of the club. When they approached him afterwards “things got out of hand”, a person […]

You’ve got to be joking

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Okay, when you’re part of a trash-talking video barracking for Crawley Town in its upcoming fixture with Manchester United, it’s offensive to make airplane crashy dance gestures referencing the famous 1958 tragedy that killed eight Man United players. (Watch the plonker on the right). But it is surely not criminal. Or so I would have thought. But no, […]

God Loves Hate Speech

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

The vile Westboro Baptist Church, whose favoured method of proselytising is picketing funerals with signs like “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God For Dead Soldiers” has won its appeal in the United States Supreme Court against a $10 million damages award. The 8-1 majority said the speech was in a public forum, on a matter […]

Devlin name-suppression beat-up

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Russell Brown has a terrific post demonstrating yet again the way the media have lost the plot about name suppression. He notes that no judge ever actually made a determination of the suppression application on the merits: an interim order was made by consent so that the application could be properly argued later. I suspect […]

Burning questions

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

For those interested in the Morse flag-burning case that I argued with Tony Shaw and Felix Geiringer in the Supreme Court earlier this month, Greg King interviewed me about it on The Court Report. (It’s part 3 of the show).

Stormin’ Norman 2

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Okay, I’ve watched the footage. I think there’s plainly an assault (probably several). They’re plainly minor. The Chinese security detail were plainly desperate to spare their guy from the indignity of having to look at the Tibetan flag. They try to stand in front of Norman, and one pushes an umbrella in front of his […]

Offensive language

Monday, June 21st, 2010

“Of course we have freedom of speech in New Zealand, but that doesn’t mean we have to use that freedom of speech to cause offence to people, particularly to overseas visitors.” — Murray McCully, criticising Greens leader Russel Norman for his protest against Chinese human rights abuses in Tibet. “Freedom to speak only inoffensively isn’t worth […]

Morse wins right to appeal flag-burning conviction

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Yay! Tony Shaw, Felix Geiringer and I have been granted leave by Supreme Court to argue that Valerie Morse should not have been convicted of offensive behaviour for burning a flag at an Anzac Day ceremony. Along the way, hopefully we’ll be able to sort out how the Bill of Rights applies to open-textured criminal […]

Burning for reform

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Are republicans the only people in NZ who can commit the offence of flag-burning by burning a flag? You might remember that Paul Hopkinson had his conviction for flag-burning overturned in the High Court, because Justice Ellen France held that the offence needed to be interpreted narrowly to provide space for free speech rights under […]

Bare reasoning

Friday, March 12th, 2010

In Lowe v New Zealand Police, Clifford J rightly overturns Nick Lowe’s conviction for offensive behaviour for cycling in the nude. It was on World Nude Bike Day, but Mr Lowe, “a committed cyclist and naturist”, doesn’t need that incentive to bike about naked. For example, he competes in the Coast to Coast without clothes […]

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