These statutes would challenge the longstanding judicial principle -- the presumption of innocence. Individuals are innocent until proven guilty. However, under these radical hate speech laws, the accused are deemed guilty until they can argue that their speech is kind and innocent. If authorities seize someone’s device and find “hateful” content that they do not like, the suspect individual is, by default, GUILTY and must prove that their content is acceptable to think or speak. This will leave individuals helpless and enslaved, begging for their right to think, speak, debate, and dissent against their totalitarian accuser.
In the first section of the bill, individuals can be prosecuted for the “offense” of preparing or possessing material “likely to incite violence or hatred against persons on account of their protected characteristics.”
Offence of preparing or possessing material likely to incite violence or hatred against persons on account of their protected characteristics
Subject subsection (2) and (3) and section 11, a person shall be guilty of an offence under this section if the person ---
(a) Prepares or possesses material that is likely to incite violence or hatred against a person or group of persons on account of their protected characteristics or any of those characteristics with a view to the material being communicated to the public or a section of the public, whether by himself or herself or another person, and
(b) Prepares or possesses such material with intent to incite violence or hatred against such a person or group of persons on account of those characteristics or any of those characteristics or being reckless as to whether such violence or hatred is thereby incited.
Under the next subsection, the accused are guilty until proven innocent.
In any proceedings for an offence under this section, where it is proved that the accused person was in possession of material such as is referred to in subsection (1) and it is reasonable to assume that the material was not intended for the personal use of the person, the person shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, to have been in possession of the material in contravention of subsection (1).
The Irish Constitution promises to protect the free speech rights of the citizens, but it is unlike the United States Constitution, which defines free speech without restrictions. The Irish Constitution says, “The State guarantees liberty for the exercise of the following rights, subject to public order and morality.”
In Section 6:1, the Irish Constitution guarantees: “The right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions.” However, it also states that the “publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.” The Irish Constitution also declares that the radio, the press, the cinema and even criticism of government policy must abide by the “common good” and “shall not be used to undermine public order, morality or the authority of the State.” There are loopholes in the Irish Constitution that pave the way for radical Hate Speech laws to take effect.
The bill puts forth rules on what content is acceptable:
(2) In any proceedings for an offence under this section, it shall be a defence to prove that the material concerned consisted solely of -
(a) a reasonable and genuine contribution to literary, artistic, and political, scientific, religious, or academic discourse,
(b) a statement that is the subject of the defence of absolute privilege, or
(c) material that is necessary for any other lawful purpose, including law enforcement or the investigation or prosecution of an offence.
Finally, the new bill calls for the fining and imprisonment of people accused of having “hate speech.”
(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable ---
(1) on summary conviction, to a class C fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both, or
(b) on conviction on indictment, to a class A fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or both.