Two judges have struck a blow to enemies of free speech after ruling people should have the right to offend and even abuse each other without facing a police investigation.
Presiding over a Court of Appeal case concerning the misgendering of a trans woman on Twitter, Lord Justice Bean and Mr Justice Warby ruled that “free speech encompasses the right to offend, and indeed to abuse another”, adding: “Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having”.
They said it would be a “serious interference” with the right of free speech if “those wishing to express their own views could be silenced by, or threatened with, proceedings for harassment based on subjective claims by individuals that felt offended or insulted”.
The judgment could have far-reaching implications for officers seeking to bring charges over people’s opinions - a move that has seen them branded the “thought police” by campaigners for free speech.
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