A High Court judge has ruled that Humberside Police’s investigation into Harry Miller for ‘transphobic’ tweets unlawfully restricted his freedom of expression.
Miller, a former police officer, was visited by police at his workplace after a complaint was made that he had sent transphobic tweets and that his office was therefore ‘not safe for trans people’.
In his judgment, Justice Julian Knowles compared the actions of the police to George Orwell’s novel 1984, which famously describes a totalitarian state with police investigating and punishing people with politically-incorrect opinions for ‘thoughtcrime’.
Miller brought the legal case against the police force and the College of Policing, challenging the recording of hate incidents.
Hate incidents are currently recorded by police where no crime has been committed, but a person reports the incident to police as having been motivated by hostility or prejudice towards another person, based on perceived characteristics such as race, religion or transgender status. Despite not being crimes, these incidents could show up on criminal record checks. Miller has also founded the campaign group Fair Cop to pressure police to change their policy on hate incidents.
Although the judge ruled that the police’s actions were unlawful, he said that merely recording the incidents was lawful. Miller has appealed this finding, which has been referred directly to the Supreme Court for consideration.
Miller reacted to the decision, saying: “This is a watershed moment for liberty – the police were wrong to visit my workplace, wrong to ‘check my thinking’.”
Tim Dieppe, Head of Public Policy at Christian Concern previously commented:
“People must be able to speak their minds. If we don’t have free speech, we don’t have a free society.”
Republished by permission of Christian Concern.