Friday, July 1, 2016

NS man charged with swearing in public

Civil libertarian cries foul after Nova Scotia man charged for public profanity | CTV News:

June 24, 2016 - "In a case one civil libertarian warns could set a 'very chilling precedent,' a Nova Scotia man will face trial for swearing in public.

"Joseph Currie was arrested during a Halifax protest against the Conservatives' anti-terror legislation, Bill C-51, last year, and charged with 'unlawfully (causing) a disturbance ... by swearing.'

"The 26-year-old's lawyer said his client, who is alleged to have shouted obscenities into a megaphone, has no criminal record and will defend his 'right to criticize the government publicly'....

"According to police reports, Currie was one of 200 protesters in the Spring Garden Road area last June. Two other protesters were arrested for blocking traffic by sitting on a crosswalk, but police only laid charges against Currie.

"A video of the arrest on YouTube shows a handcuffed Currie telling police he 'won't swear again' as an officer takes off the activist's Guy Fawkes mask and puts him in the back of his car. Fellow protesters heckle the officer, who tells them he received 'numerous' complaints about the disturbance....

"Josh Paterson of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, who himself participated in protests against Bill C-51, said he worries restricting what people can and cannot say during political speech could set a 'very chilling precedent.'

"'If you feel strongly about something and those kind of words are the ones that suit your sentiment then you should be free to use them,' said the lawyer and executive director of the civil liberties organization. 'We don't have the criminal law to guard against people being offended by the use of indelicate language....

"'If what we've read about what happened is true ... that would then call into question the ability of Canadians right across the country to express themselves politically in public,' he said."

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