Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: Political opinion and the proper scope of hate speech laws; a post in honour of John Campbell

7 Responses

  • Brent Jackson,

    Nicely put.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 620 posts Report

  • Aaron Meikle,

    Thought provoking and view changing as always. Thanks

    Since Jul 2021 • 1 posts Report

  • Rick Shera,

    You did admit to an ulterior motive, Graeme, but, that is a beautifully constructed Trojan Horse

    Auckland • Since Feb 2008 • 25 posts Report

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Rick Shera,

    You did admit to an ulterior motive, Graeme, but, that is a beautifully constructed Trojan Horse

    I don't think I've ever thought about what ulterior actually means!

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report

  • PaulL,

    I agree with your reasoning. I also agree with your implicit perspective that this isn't needed at all, and that on balance it is more likely to cause harm than good. I would expect the number of people who feel unable to express themselves, or are threatened with prosecution, or are actually prosecuted inappropriately, would significantly outweigh the number of people who this law should cover and are prosecuted.

    It's hard to assess the relative harm. I'm inclined to heavily weight the harm to those whose free speech is impinged, and to relatively lightly weight the incitement, as in my mind someone who is that far over the line that this could/should catch them will likely also be committing all sorts of other crimes that are already covered in our legislation. I.e. a small number of instances where we don't do a lot of incremental good, a large number of instances where we do substantial bad.

    It will be interesting to see how this proposal develops. In some sense I'm like you - I'd rather the proposal stay more obviously bad so that it can be more easily resisted. If it gets softened then perhaps people will say "that's not so bad", and we get slow erosion of important rights.

    Since Mar 2017 • 3 posts Report

  • Neil,

    Off topic but not on Twitter so have few other outlets to opine.

    I’m actually sympathetic to Paul Buchanan’s questioning of whether or not a S8a was considered at any point.

    I strongly doubt that the terrorist would have met the criteria for compulsory assessment and treatment - as he did not have a mental disorder - but I’d like to know if it was considered and then rejected as an option.

    It would have been no use as some sort of holding pattern as an 8a does not usually entail any form of containment, it’s just a notification that a person is required to attend an assessment by a medical practitioner. That 8b assessment would have found he did not meet both limbs of the act and this would not have proceeded. So any detainment would have been at most 6 hours.

    And the act should not be used just because there are no other options.

    I find more troubling the never ending expansion of “mental health issues” to include just about anything including straight out antisocial behaviour. Being an angry man with grudges is not a mental health issue.

    Since Nov 2016 • 382 posts Report

  • Neil,

    The discussion on the mental health act has unfortunately gone the way of previous instances where it hits the media.

    A brief flurry of somewhat confused debate and then nothing.

    The ministry of health never takes the opportunity to lead a more informed discussion. There’s widespread misunderstanding of the MHA which is unhelpful. And the stakes are quite high – friends and family often have unrealistic expectations of how the MHA can be applied and there’s a vocal lobby wanting compulsory treatment and assessment done away with.

    Going back to Paul Buchanan’s original statement-

    “He could have been, upon his release, immediately committed to an institution under the Mental Health Act in order to undergo that psychiatric examination. And he could have been held indefinitely until psychiatrists determined that he did not pose a threat to society.

    This is not how the MHA works but it probably is indicative of how a large proportion of the public believe it works.

    In order to be required to have an 8b assessment a person must be thought to mentally disordered. If no one thinks that is the case then a person cannot be required to undergo an assessment.

    Since Nov 2016 • 382 posts Report

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