Pastor McConnell judgement: “It is not the task of the criminal law to censor offensive utterances…”

So Pastor McConnell has been acquitted by the High Court along with what looks like almost a rebuke for the bringing of the case in the first place. On Twitter Alan highlighted the point the judge wished to make clear about the core ro9le of the courts in such matters:

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 13.23.02

The question left behind is where is the dividing line between offence and grossly offensive?

However it would never have been an offence of any description under the law had the LAD video of him (cribbed from the Church’s official recording) saying what he did say since the grossly offensive charge comes under the heading of Communications Offences’.

Whatever he says now, I suspect that the Pastor will be a little more careful of what he says in future.

But this is not the first case of alleged offence to hit to soft sands after a long bout of social media outrage and the deliberation of the DDP’s office, which at the very least suggests there is a substantial difference between public understanding and the law itself.

Discover more from Slugger O'Toole

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

We are reader supported. Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger. While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.