Illegal to insult the Royal Family Watch

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122025278
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Surely it's illegal to insult the Royal Family?

Harassment, alarm or distress is a statutory offence in England and Wales.

The offence is created by section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986:
"(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."

So essentially, if I hear someone insult the Royal Family (or read something insulting they've said online) and I feel harassed or alarmed or distressed by it, I can have that person arrested and charged? They are the family of our head of state, surely it's not unreasonable to expect a member of the public to get upset or annoyed when someone insults them. If people have that sort of view couldn't they just keep it private or not broadcast it, then there's no risk of offending someone is there?

Additionally if it's something written online the person could be arrested and prosecuted under the Communications Act 2003, for sending an electronic message that's grossly offensive, like many people have for doing so on Twitter and Facebook, crucially though, this carries a prison sentence of up to 6 months. I'm not saying people should be locked up for a year, but about 2 months seems to be the precedent for these type of offences, prison sends a needed short sharp shock in some cases.
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Snagprophet
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Well it's illegal a white woman to insult a black person

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011...abuse-arrested

But it's perfectly legal for Somalian black people to do the same to a Briton + assault her

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...lag-FREED.html


So go figure on any logic in this country.
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Basiji
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I thought it was freedom of expression/speech? It's okay to insult other people's religion but not okay to insult the Royal Family? Western double standards as usual. :rolleyes:
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Psyk
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(Original post by Basiji)
I thought it was freedom of expression/speech? It's okay to insult other people's religion but not okay to insult the Royal Family? Western double standards as usual. :rolleyes:
Don't pay attention to the OP. Generally speaking insulting the royal family is less controversial than insulting a religion. Unless it's to their face I suppose. There is no law specifically against insulting the royal family (or at least not one that's taken seriously), and the law the OP quoted could potentially be used against all sorts of "offensive behaviour" (including insulting someone's religion).

They make fun of the royal family all the time on TV programmes like Have I Got News For You.
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lukas1051
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It's all about scale and severity. It's not illegal to insult people, and it's not illegal to insult the Royal Family, the bunch of good for nothing freeloaders. Do you really want to live in a society where we can be arrested for speaking badly about people born into power? Doesn't seem very democratic.
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L i b
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Yes, it is generally a crime under section 5 of the POA to insult someone who is "likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress" by it.

Alarm or distress is for the courts to decide, and they will not find that it has occurred in cases where only piddling or insignificant. It is also an objective test - if someone is caused distress, but this was not objectively likely to happen, it is not a crime. Equally, your conduct could be reasonable under subsection (3)(c), which is a fairly broad interpretative get-out clause.

In reality, s. 5 could only apply to things that were beyond the pale. Mild insults are perfectly acceptable in context. Extreme ones are not.
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EwanHarvey
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(Original post by Snagprophet)
Well it's illegal a white woman to insult a black person

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011...abuse-arrested

But it's perfectly legal for Somalian black people to do the same to a Briton + assault her

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...lag-FREED.html


So go figure on any logic in this country.
Did you really just share a Daily Mail link and expect to be taken seriously?

The Royal Family is really ****ing stupid anyway. Maybe the OP could report me to the police?
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cl_steele
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if it were half the people of TSR would be locked up, bunch of evil anti monarchists fiends!
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Martyn*
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#9
Insult the monarchy and their god Baphomet will come up and strike you.
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martin jol
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#10
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#10
the royal family is a tosser
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Snagprophet
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#11
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(Original post by EwanHarvey)
Did you really just share a Daily Mail link and expect to be taken seriously?

The Royal Family is really ****ing stupid anyway. Maybe the OP could report me to the police?
Well I see you decided to comment on the DM instead of respond to the story. Here's a telegraph article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...ked-woman.html
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Pigling
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#12
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#12
It isn't illegal to insult the royal family, as well we all know.

It is illegal to cause "harassment, alarm or distress" - but to be found guilty of this you would have to have done something unreasonable, such as persistently harassing someone with offensive/menacing letters, following them, making veiled threats, essentially being a real and significant menace to their lives. As it is, many people think the law isn't protective enough against this kind of behaviour. Maybe you'd agree if you'd ever had a stalker.
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Greenlaner
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#13
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(Original post by 122025278)
Surely it's illegal to insult the Royal Family?

Harassment, alarm or distress is a statutory offence in England and Wales.

The offence is created by section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986:
"(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."

So essentially, if I hear someone insult the Royal Family (or read something insulting they've said online) and I feel harassed or alarmed or distressed by it, I can have that person arrested and charged? They are the family of our head of state, surely it's not unreasonable to expect a member of the public to get upset or annoyed when someone insults them. If people have that sort of view couldn't they just keep it private or not broadcast it, then there's no risk of offending someone is there?

Additionally if it's something written online the person could be arrested and prosecuted under the Communications Act 2003, for sending an electronic message that's grossly offensive, like many people have for doing so on Twitter and Facebook, crucially though, this carries a prison sentence of up to 6 months. I'm not saying people should be locked up for a year, but about 2 months seems to be the precedent for these type of offences, prison sends a needed short sharp shock in some cases.
Both of those laws should be repealed (the parts about insulting and making grossly offensive messages, not harassment, threats and abuse). They have no place in a free country.

Oh and one more thing, **** the Royal Family.
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Battenberg
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(Original post by 122025278)
Surely it's illegal to insult the Royal Family?

Harassment, alarm or distress is a statutory offence in England and Wales.

The offence is created by section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986:
"(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."
Nothing written here is specific to the Royal family, it's just a general law about not being a **** to people.
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Dmon1Unlimited
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(Original post by Battenberg)
Nothing written here is specific to the Royal family, it's just a general law about not being a **** to people.
This...
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AkhiMohamed
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#16
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(Original post by Snagprophet)
Well it's illegal a white woman to insult a black person

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011...abuse-arrested

But it's perfectly legal for Somalian black people to do the same to a Briton + assault her

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...lag-FREED.html


So go figure on any logic in this country.
Those Somalian girls deserved to go to prison, dirty scum (even though I am somalian) they are disgusting and a disgrace.
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HaQ_mAn_
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#17
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Actually, the royal family brings in alot of money thru the tourism industry so are pretty good for the economy
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reneetaylor
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#18
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Lol, why is everyone hating on the royals?

They've got so much SWAG.
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Bellissima
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#19
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charles you look like a donkey

harry you are ginger and look nothing like a donkey... (suspicious)
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L i b
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(Original post by Pigling)
It isn't illegal to insult the royal family, as well we all know.

It is illegal to cause "harassment, alarm or distress" - but to be found guilty of this you would have to have done something unreasonable, such as persistently harassing someone with offensive/menacing letters, following them, making veiled threats, essentially being a real and significant menace to their lives. As it is, many people think the law isn't protective enough against this kind of behaviour. Maybe you'd agree if you'd ever had a stalker.
Making a grossly offensive, insulting or obscene remark in an inappropriate place would be unreasonable. Plus, the person who is alarmed, distressed or harassed doesn't need to be the "target" of the insult in question. Section 5 of the POA has always caused a great deal of debate and is accepted by many as being far too broad in its potential application.

I'm not sure how the legal situation is in England, but in Scotland until very recently there was a distinct offence of lese-majesty (known by the *******ised name of "lease-making") which involved saying things that were untrue with the intent of damaging the Queen's reputation.
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