‘Gay horse’ case dropped

ANGUS HOWARTH

AN OXFORD University student who called a policeman’s horse “gay” will not be prosecuted.

But police stood by their decision to take him to court for “homophobic comments” after the Crown Prosecution Service yesterday dropped the case.

Sam Brown, 21, from Belfast, approached the mounted officer during a night out in Oxford after his final exams last May, and said: “Excuse me, do you realise your horse is gay?” Moments later, two police cars appeared and he was arrested under the Public Order Act.more

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12 thoughts on “‘Gay horse’ case dropped

  1. I was only horsing around, says student held over gay gibe
    By Alan Hamilton

    COMMON sense has, for once, reined in the lunatic fringe of homophobia.

    The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has decided not to pursue a case against an Oxford University student who went up to a mounted policeman and suggested that his horse was gay. The horse did not complain, but the police did.

    His remark, it was alleged, was deemed likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. The Act, however, does not make clear whether equine alarm and distress are covered by its provisions, or whether only human beings are likely to be offended.

    bit more detailed story

  2. So has it declined in England to the point that if you make a remark disparaging a homosexual you face civil action?

  3. Some people obviously have no sense of humor and need to refrain from being so sensitive. On the flip side, we need folks like the ones at the AFA and the CWA to stop boycotting every program that doesn’t portray Christians as coming straight off a holy card (halo and all) and that doesn’t fit their idealized view of life. (I do wonder whether they’ve read the Bible at all, given the scandalous lives of men like Lot, King David and Elisha — the movie would never be permitted in prime time, I can assure you.)

    Freedom of speech needs to be preserved, even if it’s speech we find distasteful and makes us uncomfortable. We all need to work very earnestly for this freedom, even if it ends up making us side with people or groups we really don’t care for. This isn’t a religious virtue, necessarily, but one paradoxically worth fighting for if we wish to maintain religious (or any other) freedom in this country:

    “Politics turns into virtue what religions often see as a vice â?? the fact that we do not all think alike, that we have conflicting interests, that we see the world through different eyes. Politics knows what religion sometimes forgets, that the imposition of truth by force and the suppression of dissent by power is the end of freedom and a denial of human dignity. When religion enters the political arena, we should repeat daily Bunyanâ??s famous words: ‘Then I saw that there was a way to Hell, even from the gates of Heaven.'” – Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks.

  4. “He [a spokesman for the police department] denied the police were heavy-handed, and claimed that Mr Brown was drunk and that he had made repeated comments about the horse being gay, despite requests from the officers to desist.”
    http://breaking.tcm.ie/2006/01/12/story239276.html

    Generally, showing up drunk in public and doing something after the police tell you to stop is a good way to get arrested in any country.

    But we can be thankful that the right of a publicly drunk person to call a horse “gay” has been preserved. Another victory for the faith, I guess.

    Here’s an excerpt of the actual text of the Public Order Act. It doesn’t mention comments directed to homosexuals specifically:
    ————————————————–

    1) A person is guilty of an offence if he�

    (a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or

    (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

    within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby. . . .

    (4) A constable may arrest a person without warrant if�

    (a) he engages in offensive conduct which [a] constable warns him to stop, and

    (b) he engages in further offensive conduct immediately or shortly after the warning.
    ———————————–
    http://www.webtribe.net/~shg/Public%20Order%20Act%201986%20
    (1986%20c%2064)%20Sect%204A,%205,%206.htm

  5. If the man was publicly drunk, he probably deserved to get arrested. If he was arrested for of “hate speech” or some such nonsense, it’s good the charge was dismissed. (It is still funny though thinking about a guy telling a cop his horse is gay.)

    James, there is no “flip side” in this scenario. It’s a cheap shot to haul AFA and CWA into the discussion, create a logical parallel with the horse story, and then beat them down with platitudes about free speech.

  6. Note 5: The AFA met with John Ashcroft last May to “encourage the Department of Justice to step up obscenity prosecutions. They were apparently seeking to hold the administration to promises President Bush made while campaigning for office that he would vigorously enforce obscenity laws.” (cato.org)

    One of the films they considered “obscene”:
    Saving Private Ryan (“[B]ack in 2001, the AFA went after ABC over “Saving Private Ryan,” filing a complaint with the FCC in hopes it would slap the stations with an indecency fine. In its complaint, the AFA noted the movie’s ‘violence, bloodshed, language and profanity,’ according to a letter of response from the FCC, a copy of which was obtained by The TV Column.”) Well, this is war. Soldiers I’m sure do not exclaim “Golly gee” when hit by a bullet, and people most assuredly don’t gently fall into a peaceful slumber when blown up by a grenade. They probably swear, and they most definitely bleed. Given their promotion of a book entitled When God Says War Is Right by Darrell Cole, it seems absolutely cowardly (or grossly naive) to hide the real brutality of war.

    Leveling multi-million dollar fines against speech they deem “offensive” (whatever that may be) is essentially criminalizing certain types of speech. Lest I be accused of paranoia, keep in mind that the Parents Television Council stated that “America’s Funniest Home Videos” is “not appropriate for family viewing”. For extremely sensitive dispositions, perhaps it’s not (I rarely watch it as I just don’t find it funny). Nevertheless, I don’t necessarily want them determining that it’s inappropriate for me simply because they don’t like it or can’t be bothered paying attention to what their kids watch, however, and pushing for indecency fines to be levied (thereby causing the civil prosecution of the distributors of such a show!!) is thereby taking that choice from me.

    One cannot criticize “hate speech laws” and remain silent about the efforts of the AFA, simply because one happens to dislike the same things the AFA does (and vice versa of course). Many don’t get this, including some liberals.

  7. #5 I thought it was pretty funny also.

    But my favorite line was from the Times link I posted that act “does not make clear whether equine alarm and distress are covered by its provisions, or whether only human beings are likely to be offended.”

    It should be pointed out that people being publicly drunk at the end of school term at Oxford (or Cambridge, or St. Andrews, or a number of other university towns around the UK) isn’t uncommon. It would be like complaining that people were publicly drunk on Bourbon St. during Mardi Gras (and if I wanted to be stereotypical I’d point out that he was Irish and drunk. But that would be going to far).

    The constabulary was being heavy-handed in this case and that there are problems with the application of this Public Act. Whether it’s specific or not in the act, the constabulary interpreted the law to include “homophobic speech” as offensive. This should be the cause for concern.

  8. lol….
    I don’t even know if “publicly drunk” is a concern in England or reason to get arrested.
    When I lived there, the pubs closed at 11pm and on any Friday there were literally hundreds of very very drunk people all over the city streets walking, falling, emptying their stomachs, laughing or quarelling..

  9. Dia

    When I lived there my Australian friends loved to say that England was one of the last places that it was still socially acceptable to be publicly drunk.

  10. well here i would probably wanna say that there is nothing to be so sensitive here .coz some people really have no sence of humour..if yew think a little more deeply it was not the students faul…coz remember he was over drunk..and if overdrinking will be stricktly stoped by the government of uk..then i don’t there would be such kind of cases if i am right..and point number two it should be noted down that the horse itself was not willing to prosecute..so such kind of tiny things is really creating those problems..

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