Review follows Fair Cop campaign to defend freedom of expression enshrined in the ECHR
London, 6 August 2019 – The High Court has granted permission for a businessman and former police officer to challenge the National College of Policing’s guidance on ‘hate incidents’ against transgender people.
Harry Miller, founder of the Fair Cop campaign, brought judicial review proceedings against the National College and the Humberside Police after he was contacted by the police at work for retweeting a limerick that was critical of transgenderism.
Although Humberside Police acknowledged that no crime had been committed, the force recorded Miller’s retweet as a ‘hate incident’ and said that it would be monitoring Miller’s social media accounts. Sinclairslaw is representing Miller in his challenge to the guidelines underpinning the police force’s response on the basis that they violate the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.
Last month Mr Miller launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund the litigation. The crowdfunder has already raised over £27,000 from more than a thousand individual donors. The hearing before the High Court is expected to take place in early November.
In May this year Harry Miller co-founded Fair Cop, a group of individuals who have come together over shared concerns about police attempts to criminalise people for expressing opinions that don’t contravene any laws. Fair Cop includes lawyers, police officers, parliamentarians and victims of police harassment, and has compiled a dossier of case studies of ordinary people who have been warned or cautioned by the police for expressing gender critical views.
Paul Conrathe, Senior Consultant Solicitor at Sinclairslaw, said, “We are obviously delighted that the High Court has granted permission for the judicial review to proceed in this landmark case. The courts have consistently recognised that freedom of expression is a fundamental right and a foundational component of democratic society, and we see it as completely unacceptable for the police to use their powers to regulate speech on matters of important public debate.”
Harry Miller, claimant in the litigation, said: “The High Court will test the validity of police action against the rule of law rather than against its own arbitrary guidelines. The idea that a law-abiding citizen can have their name recorded against a hate incident on a crime report when there was neither hate nor crime undermines principles of justice, free expression, democracy and common sense.
“Women, in particular, are concerned about proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act. In a free society, the reasonable debate of contentious issues should be encouraged as the rights-claims of one group are balanced against the existing rights of another. The police, by their actions, have exercised coercive control by amplifying the Stonewall position whilst creating a chilling atmosphere for those who would express a gender critical position. The Fair Cop campaign stands as a bulwark against such overreaching authority. We thank the High Court for agreeing with us that the College of Policing and Humberside Police now need to justify their policies and actions.”
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Notes to editors
For further editorial information or to request an interview, please contact the Fair Cop press office:
+44 7512 844963
About Fair Cop
Fair Cop was founded to remind authority of Articles 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights; to make the public aware of these rights; and to challenge illegal interference by the police, politicians and others who step across these rights in pursuit of ideological gain.
Fair Cop is campaigning for the College of Policing to change its Hate Crime Guidance.
For further information, visit www.faircop.org.uk
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