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Ten Year Old Boy Arrested for "Hate Speech" in Britain:

A ten-year-old in Manchester, England, has been arrested and charged with a racially aggravated public order offence.

District Judge Jonathan Finestein said the decision to prosecute the youngster - accused of calling a fellow pupil a "Paki" and a "nigger" - was "political correctness gone mad".

He attacked the police for not "bothering" to prosecute more serious crime such as car theft but readily picking on a "silly" incident.

He added that he used to be called fat at school and said that in the old days the headmaster would have given the children "a good clouting" and sent them on their way.

Judge Finestein spoke out when the boy, from Irlam, Greater Manchester, appeared at Salford youth court accused of racially abusing a fellow pupil.

He called an 11-year-old boy "Paki", allegedly referred to him as "bin Laden" and chanted: "He's on the run, pull the trigger and shoot the nigger". He is said to have made the comments in the school playground between July 1 last year and Jan 30 this year.

The 10-year-old denied the racially aggravated public order offence and said he was now friends with the boy.

He admitted calling him a "Paki" but said he did not use any other racist terms and claimed the complainant had called him "white trash".

I don't know about the "good clouting" part, but surely a ten-year-old calling calling an eleven-year-old names shouldn't be a criminal offense, and, if it is, the prosecutor should be exercising some discretion.

Houston Lawyer:
It appears the the preversion of justice is well under way. He probably would have have escaped prosecution if he had physically assaulted the boy, instead of calling him a name. What ever happened to "sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me"?
4.19.2006 3:48pm
Cabbage:
Well the thugs who chased that NYU student into traffic while shouting "Get Whitey" are being tried as juveniles and it has been determined there killing was not "racially motivated" so no hate crime, no problem, five years parole...

Gotta love double standards!
4.19.2006 3:52pm
Cabbage:
The pakistani kid should have chased the younger kid into traffic, then the offenses would equal out!
4.19.2006 3:57pm
Twok (mail):
This is insane. Leave it to liberalism to destroy what used to be considered common sense and proportionality.

Liberalism, and its derivative, anti-Americanism, is becoming a second superpower.
4.19.2006 4:07pm
John Anderson:
District Judge Jonathan Finestein has a point, indeed. The Home Office says stealing a car or burglarizing a home/business needs only writing a compaint for the record, but a playground taunt calls for the application of the full majesty of the law?

Not that playgrounds in the US are a whole lot better off, when a five-year-old can be ushered into court on a sexual harassment charge.
4.19.2006 4:40pm
JohnAnnArbor:
Partly relevant: While walking through Greenwich Park towards the Royal Observatory in spring 2001, I saw three South Asian-looking 30ish fellows walking along. Two kids, in the ten-to-twelve-year-old range, rode past on bikes, yelling at them to "go home!" and "go back and ruin your own countries!" The fellows looked at them, at first bemused, then angry, but never broke stride or said a word.

I was amazed; I had almost never seen stuff like that in the States, and when I had, it led to angry confrontations. I got the feeling from the way it went down and the relatively calm reaction that it wasn't that uncommon an occurrence.

I watched the kids bike up the steep hill past the observatory to the neighborhood beyond. They looked perfectly normal after their outburst.

Anyway, kids like that don't need to be prosecuted. But they do need to be disciplined and the public should show strong disapproval when they see stuff like that.
4.19.2006 5:07pm
Bruce:
There's a good law review article out there about when kids' actions shouldn't be treated as crimes and torts, and when they should. Are fights between 8-year-olds assaults? What about 13-year-olds? 16-year-olds? Where's the line?

Maybe it's already been written; this isn't my field.
4.19.2006 5:07pm
Cornellian (mail):
Virtually all children reach the point at which they've heard racial (and not only racial) insults and have a vague sense of what they mean. That point is reached usually well before the point at which they achieve sufficient maturity to know better than to use them. Hence schoolchildren frequently use the most vile language against classmates and other people. Offensive to be sure, but not really with the hard core hatred behind that kind of language when used by an adult. It's something their parents should be dealing with and, in my opinion, dealing with pretty harshly.
4.19.2006 6:38pm
AF:
Prof. Bernstein, what's your objection to giving the kid a "good clouting"? Are you opposed to corporal punishment as a general matter, or just in this case?
4.19.2006 6:40pm
New Yorker (mail):
The kid should be prosecuted. Once, fathers and/or social ostracism (who wants a rep for being or raising bigots) would have dealt with this sort of thing. But as conventions are replaced by written laws in an increasingly litigious and fractious society, the law should step in. What is the remedy for the victim here? Liberals say not to give in and call the perpetrator names back ("can't descend to their level"), and the law say you can't take a swing at him, Conservatives say turning the other cheek will only encourage him ("Appeaser Frenchie!"). If the law won't protect ordinary pedestrians, and their fathers won't stop them (my liberal assumption here: the perp isn't bad, it's his upbringing), what's left? Self-help?
4.19.2006 7:27pm
Bisch:
New Yorker,
I think the point is that the law doesn't need to protect ordinary pedestrians against all hurt and discomfort. Bush's statement about "gov't moving" aside, I don't think that's ever been the case.
It'd be shame if this did become the norm. Phil Hendrie's Steve Bozell wouldn't be quite so funny - "I'm suing my own wife for making me feel bad."
4.19.2006 8:06pm
KeithK (mail):
I don't care whether the name-callers are 10 year olds or adults nor whether the motive is hard core hatred or ignorance. Calling someone names isn't a criminal offense. It's speech. No legal recourse is needed - just grow a thicker skin.

That's not to say that parents shouldn't give kids "a good clouting" or other punishment for this type of behavior. But prosecution? Give me a break.
4.19.2006 9:13pm
Jay (mail):
People should not forget the "pull the trigger" language. In this day and age when kids kill kids you can't just ignore it.
4.20.2006 12:06am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
A child is rude - alert the presses!
4.20.2006 9:20am
Joe Greenblatt (mail) (www):
Not that i support the arrest, but chanting "He's on the run, pull the trigger and shoot the nigger" goes a little beyond simple "name calling", don't you think?
4.21.2006 12:50pm