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THOUGHTS ON THE SAM MELIA CONVICTION: DO WE LIVE IN A TOTALITARIAN STATE?

1.      Hate speech laws should not be in place.  The aim of these laws is political, the most charitable description of these aims would be to ensure cohesion which should not be the function of the criminal law.  The only laws that restrict free speech, should be those that prohibit incitement to violence or where there are specific aims, such as the laws on Contempt of Court to prevent a trial from being prejudiced.

2.      It is telling that this CPS PRESS RELEASE   does not refer to the content of the stickers, which is what the prosecution was about, but instead the books and materials owned by the Defendant.  He may or may not agree with the content of these books and materials; even if he does his political views should be no business of the state.  The CPS would say they were relevant to his intent; this demonstrates how oppressive hate speech laws are in that they require the state to pry into the Defendant’s political views.        

3.      The charge of criminal damage seems ingenious and novel; I am not sure if it could be said that stickers which can be removed, cause criminal damage and I have never known anyone to be charged with criminal damage in these circumstances.   

4.      The charge of racially aggravated criminal damage seems both odd and novel; it cannot be said that the motivation related to the owner of the property. 

5.      It is noteworthy that the group Sam Melia is associated with were prevented by the electoral commission from forming a political party, partly due to the content of their political views.  At the same time Sam Melia is not allowed to widely distribute his political message and has been sentenced to 2 years in prison for doing so; a sentence that seems incredibly harsh when compared to sentences for other crimes that have caused direct harm to victims.  It is understandable for one to conclude that we are under a totalitarian regime.    

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