'Insulting words' crime to be dropped in Britain

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 15, 2013 10:00 hrs

The crime of 'insulting' someone through words or behaviour, which once led to the arrest of a student for asking a police officer whether his horse was gay, will be dropped in Britain.

Home Secretary Theresa May confirmed to MPs that the government would not seek to overturn a Lords amendment scrapping the ban.

According to the BBC, Section 5 of the 1986 Public Order Act currently means that 'threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour' might be deemed a criminal offence.

It has been strongly criticized by free-speech campaigners, and in December the House of Lords voted by 150 to 54, a majority of 96, to remove the word insulting, the report said.

May said that the government had supported the retention of the word insulting to prevent people swearing at police officers, protesters burning poppies, or 'similar scenarios', the report said.

According to the report, campaigners said that different interpretations of the word insulting have led to spurious arrests, such as the arrest of a teenager for holding a 'Scientology is a dangerous cult' placard, the report said. (ANI)

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