LONDON (AP) – A British court ruled on Friday that the police had violated a man’s right to freedom of expression when he showed up at his place of work to question him via his Twitter posts about transgender people.
The Humberside police force in north-east England investigated Harry Miller in January 2019 after receiving a complaint about allegedly “transphobic” tweets, including a limerick that mocked the idea that transgender women are biologically women.
He wasn’t charged with a crime, but the police told him that they would record his tweets as a “hate incident.”
Miller, a former police officer, took the police to court and accused the officials of trying to silence him. His lawyer said Miller did not use prejudice against transgender people but Twitter to “debate transgender issues”.
Supreme Court judge Julian Knowles said Friday that Miller’s tweets “were legal and there was no risk that he would commit a crime if he continued to tweet.”
“I find that the combination of the police that visits the applicant’s workplace and their subsequent statements regarding the possibility of law enforcement constitute a disproportionate encroachment on the applicant’s right to freedom of expression, as they may act as a deterrent,” he said Judge.
In court, Miller said the verdict was “a turning point for freedom.”
“Go and tweet without fear,” he said.