JK Rowling hate law posts not criminal, police say

JK Rowling

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Written by Megan Bonar and Katy Scott, the following blog post has been rewritten in simpler language: Megan and Katy wrote this blog post. We made it easier to read. --- Original: "The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are a set of 17 goals, agreed upon by all United Nations member states, to help create a more sustainable future for all by addressing pressing global challenges. The goals include: no poverty, zero hunger, good health and wellbeing, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water, life on land, peace, justice and strong institutions, and partnerships for the goals." Rewritten: The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are 17 things that all United Nations members agreed on. They want to make the world better by fixing important problems. Some of the goals are: no poverty, no hunger, good health, education for everyone, fairness between girls and boys, clean water and toilets, energy that doesn't hurt the earth, good jobs and money, new technology and buildings, equality for everyone, sustainable cities and towns, careful use of resources, stopping climate change, taking care of oceans and land, making peace and fairness, and working together to achieve these things.

JK Rowling - Figure 1
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JK Rowling's comments on social media questioning Scotland's newly implemented hate crime law have been deemed non-criminal by the Police Scotland.

In the blog, the author of Harry Potter referred to some transgender women as males. These included individuals who had been found guilty of a crime, activists for transgender rights, and other well-known individuals in the public eye.

The latest legislation introduces a novel offense called "inciting animosity" in connection with safeguarded features.

The police department stated that they had received some grievances, but they would not take any measures.

After hearing the news, Ms Rowling shared her thoughts on X, expressing hope that any woman in Scotland who wishes to speak up for the facts and significance of biological sex will find comfort in this announcement. She also emphasized the importance of treating all women as equals under the law, regardless of their social status or financial standing.

"If they target any woman just for addressing a man as a man, I will echo her words and we can both face the consequences together."

The 2021 Hate Crime and Public Order Act in Scotland criminalizes the act of making insulting remarks regarding a person's disability, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity, or intersex status.

The act of inciting animosity based on factors such as race, color, nationality, or ethnicity was already prohibited by law in Great Britain through the Public Order Act of 1986, and has now been incorporated into a newer law.

Ever since the new legislation took effect last Monday, the Police Scotland department has been inundated with an excess of 3,000 grievances.

Earlier, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed his support for Ms Rowling's position, affirming that the United Kingdom has a longstanding heritage of upholding the right to express oneself freely.

Mr. Sunak avoided commenting on whether he agreed with her stance. He stated that he could not speak about personal or law enforcement matters.

He said: "It's not fair to make people into criminals just for speaking logically about biological sex. This approach is unjustifiable.”

"Our legacy of open communication is one of our sources of pride."

A discriminatory word was painted on a surface near the residence of the prime minister, in the form of graffiti.

The top leader of Scotland, Humza Yousaf, expressed that seeing hateful words written on a wall close to his home served as a powerful reminder of why Scotland cannot tolerate any form of discrimination. He strongly believes in taking strict actions against hate crimes.

He stated that the legislation was created to address what he referred to as an increase in societal animosity.

The representative for the head of government stated that the leader's statement fails to acknowledge the presence of freedom of speech in the law, as well as the strict criteria for determining criminal activity.

This law doesn't stop individuals from sharing disputable, provocative or insulting opinions, and it also doesn't aim to restrict evaluations or thorough discussions in any manner.

According to Police Scotland, a significant number of complaints it received were about a speech given by Mr. Yousaf in 2020. At the time, Mr. Yousaf was the justice secretary, and he drew attention to the high number of white individuals in influential positions in Scotland.

The police department stated that they inspected the grievances regarding the discourse and concluded that no unlawful act was committed.

The legal system permits a person accused of inciting hatred to make a defence by demonstrating that their behaviour was "justifiable."

The article also mentions the entitlement to freedom of speech in the European Convention on Human Rights. This means that even if certain thoughts are considered offensive, outrageous, or unsettling, they are still safeguarded.

Ms Rowling has pointed out that the hate crime law does not safeguard biological sex as a protected feature, which she has criticized.

The Scottish administration is in the process of drafting a distinct legislation that aims to address the issue of animosity and torment towards females. The government is committed to presenting this law at the Holyrood before the culmination of the parliamentary term in 2026.

Ms Rowling's supporters applauded the resolution taken by Police Scotland.

During an episode of the Newscast podcast on BBC, Susan Smith from the organization For Women Scotland expressed her happiness about the recent rejection of proposed changes to gender law. She highlighted that the rejection was a sigh of relief but also emphasized that it only occurred because they fought for it.

Ms Smith expressed her hopes that individuals who make comparable statements will be aware of the measures in place to safeguard them.

A little while ago, Dr. Nick McKerrell, who holds a high position in the field of law as a lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University, expressed his views on BBC Radio Scotland's Drivetime. He believed that there was a low probability of Ms. Rowling being charged with any offense.

During the programme, he expressed his opinion that it was unlikely for her to face legal proceedings. This was because the law requires the person's language to be intimidating and aggressive enough to cause fear and distress. In other words, the individual targeted by the language must feel threatened and alarmed by it.

In my opinion, it is nearing the limit, but in its current state, those messages do not achieve that.

Furthermore, there exists legal safeguard for using offensive or startling language, and in my opinion, this statement could be classified under the group of offensive and startling expressions, albeit not falling under the category of criminal behavior.

The speaker included: "The legal system has identified a examination to ascertain when someone is deliberately cultivating animosity towards others. It's a rather difficult level to incite hostility."

Therefore, any team that believes this legislation will reduce it is mistaken.

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