Refer Racial Vilification Straight to Police: Inquiry

Sean Nicholls, Sydney Morning Herald, December 3, 2013

Serious cases of racial vilification could be referred directly to the police for full investigation with a view to possible criminal prosecution under changes recommended by a NSW parliamentary inquiry.

The inquiry has also recommended the NSW government increase the period within which criminal complaints can be lodged from six months to a year, review current penalties for serious racial vilification and give police training about the offence.

However, it has rejected calls to lower the bar for prosecutions so that offensive racial slurs could be criminally prosecuted even if they do not incite violence.

The inquiry into racial vilification laws in NSW was initiated by the upper house Law and Justice Committee after a request by Premier Barry O’Farrell last year.

Mr O’Farrell said he was concerned there have been no successful criminal prosecutions in the history of the laws and that they have fallen out of step with community expectations.

The inquiry focused on Section 20D of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act, which deals with the criminal offence of “serious racial vilification” and requires proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” for a prosecution.

Penalties of up to $5500 and six months’ jail apply to anyone found guilty of inciting “hatred”, “serious contempt” or “severe ridicule” of a person or group by threatening physical harm to them or their property or inciting others to do so on the basis of their race.

Yet not one of the 27 complaints referred to the Anti-Discrimination Board for criminal prosecution since 1998 has been prosecuted.

In the final report tabled in the NSW Parliament on Tuesday, committee chairman David Clarke, a Liberal MP, said the the operation of Section 20D had been hampered by “a number of procedural impediments”.

The report recommends allowing the president of the Anti-Discrimination Board to refer serious racial vilification directly to police, rather than having seek consent from the Attorney-General, who then may refer it to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

It points out that while there is a 12 month timeframe in which to commence a prosecution under the Anti-Discrimination Act, the Criminal Procedure Act only allows six months.

The committee said this could prevent serious racial vilification matters being prosecuted and recommends extending the time within which a criminal matter can be commenced to 12 months.

The inquiry also recommends changing the law so serious racial vilification can be prosecuted even if the perpetrator is mistaken about the race of the person they are allegedly vilifying.

In their submissions to the inquiry, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the NSW Community Relations Commission called for a radical overhaul of the laws, arguing that the reference to physical harm should be removed.

The board of deputies suggested a new offence of “conduct intended to harass on grounds of race” be introduced to allow criminal prosecutions for racial harassment that involves threats, intimidation or “serious racial abuse”, whether or not a physical threat is involved.

The groups called for larger fines and jail sentences of up to three years.

The inquiry said the government should “review the adequacy” of existing penalties but agreed with stakeholders who argued that criminalising racial harassment would “unduly infringe on freedom of expression”.

It said any amendments made by the government following the recommendations should be reviewed by the committee in five years.

If in place at the time, the recommended changes could have made it easier to criminally prosecute broadcaster Alan Jones for labelling Lebanese Muslims “vermin” and “mongrels” who “rape and pillage” in an April 2005 broadcast before the Cronulla race riots the following December.

Jones was instead ordered by the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal to apologise on air, which he did last December. Last month he was granted the right to an appeal.

Criminal prosecution of a woman who racially abused the ABC newsreader Jeremy Fernandez on a Sydney bus in February might also have been possible under the proposed changes.

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  • Puggg

    This sounds like back in grade school, all the tattle tales and teachers pets that would run to the teacher every time they got their little feelings hurt. “Teacher, teacher, Norman called me a bad name again.”

    My defense? The truth.

    • sbuffalonative

      AR posted a story about the falling levels of social trust. Political Correctness has taken a toll. People know enough not to say anything to anyone that might be construed as ‘racist’ lest they be pillared in the public square.

      The ‘progressive’ left considers “1984” to be an instruction manual.

      • John K

        The answer to 1984 is 1776.

    • dd121

      Unfortunately, with leftists, the truth is NOT a defense.

  • So CAL Snowman

    Being racially abused by Whites in a White homeland is a million times better than living as a non White in a non White homeland.

  • sbuffalonative

    The ‘progressive’ left KNOWS every white person is a closet racist so they’re surprised they can’t catch more.

  • Spartacus

    Refer this article to anyone claiming people like us are against “democracy” and “freedom”. Personally, I am, but I don’t fight against those two things, because they no longer exist…

  • Truthseeker

    The state can’t subjugate enough people through speech control? Make it more draconian!

  • NeanderthalDNA

    Thought police of the Democratic Totalitarians of the New Psuedo-Marxist Liblefty Order, baby! They can get in yer head and shut you the hell up, Whitey!

    Oooh! And pick yer pocket. Break yer leg?

  • gemjunior

    This is a pretty scary development.

  • bigone4u

    Some laws a man has a moral obligation to oppose and then break. These hate speech laws and holocaust denial laws are a violation of the basic human right of a man to believe what he wishes to believe and express his beliefs to others. I would be willing to do prison time by breaking the law in question and probably will be doing prison time for some truth telling I have in mind to publish in the near future. Better to save your soul than give in to the madness of political correctness and live your life as a mind slave of the globalists.

  • WR_the_realist

    It seems the “hate speech/hate crime” laws are the only sorts of laws where politicians are disappointed if nobody breaks them and so can be prosecuted under them.

  • JohnEngelman

    As soon as the knockout game spreads to New South Wales there will be plenty of hate to prosecute.

    Unfortunate, those who hate those who play the knockout game will be in the dock, not those who play the game.

  • Non Humans

    Honestly, what could they do? What you speak of is termed a Revolt. With Britons being disarmed, the real questions would be how effective, and for how long.
    In the US if such an event were to occur, it would hit like a tidal wave, and most likely would wash out all of the traitors currently steering this bus.

  • NeanderthalDNA

    This criminalization of thoughts – evidence the existence of which is speech – is what to me more than anything else…makes a mockery of what is commonly considered…”democracy”. “Liberty”.

    “Freedom” to associate but not dissociate…

    “Liberty” to think only approved thought…

    Words, words, words. Viva Assad, viva Putin, viva anyone who protects and fights for his people and tells the lily pure totalitarian “democrats” where they can shove it when push comes to shove…

    That’s how I feel about “democracy” which, no offense to our Slavic brethren, I’ll refer to as “Demokracy”, with the Slavic “k” thing to insinuate the creepy psuedo-Marxist element of the obnoxious Demiurge-like beast.

  • I loved Sydney in general and Randwick in particular when I lived there in 1997-1998.