JK Rowling won’t be prosecuted over on-line feedback, Scottish police say

Unlock the Editor’s Digest for freeRoula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favorite tales on this weekly publication.Scottish police won’t prosecute writer JK Rowling for a sequence of social media feedback difficult contentious new hate crime laws within the nation.Police Scotland on Tuesday mentioned it had obtained complaints about posts made by the creator of Harry Potter on X on Monday, through which she described a number of transgender ladies as males. However the power added: “The feedback will not be assessed to be legal and no additional motion shall be taken.”Rowling, a high-profile voice within the “gender crucial” motion marketing campaign across the significance of organic intercourse, mentioned in response that girls would “be reassured”. In her sequence of posts, Rowling invited the police to arrest her when she returned to Scotland, in a take a look at of whether or not the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act would criminalise misgendering by individuals who stress the significance of organic intercourse over gender identification.The act, which got here into power on Monday, extends an present legislation in opposition to “stirring up hatred” on grounds of race and ethnicity to different protected traits, together with faith, sexuality and gender.Handed by Scottish parliament in 2021, the laws has provoked a livid debate in Scotland amid considerations that activists might use the legislation to harass their opponents within the so-called tradition wars.“I hope each lady in Scotland who needs to talk up for the fact and significance of organic intercourse shall be reassured by this announcement,” Rowling wrote on X on Tuesday. “And I belief that every one ladies — no matter profile or monetary means — shall be handled equally underneath the legislation.”Whereas organic intercourse isn’t outlined as a protected attribute, the Scottish authorities says it intends to introduce a separate legislation tackling misogyny.Earlier than Police Scotland’s announcement, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak signalled his support for Rowling, saying that Britain had a proud custom of free speech and “we shouldn’t be criminalising individuals for saying frequent sense issues about organic intercourse”.The dispute has echoes in different progressive insurance policies promoted by the Scottish Nationwide party-Inexperienced coalition at Holyrood, together with the furore final 12 months over gender reform laws that overshadowed the ultimate months of former first minister Nicola Sturgeon’s tenure.The gender recognition reform invoice — which might have diminished the age at which individuals can get hold of a gender recognition certificates to 16 and eliminated the necessity for a medical analysis of gender dysphoria — was handed by Holyrood after heated debate. However the laws was blocked by London on the grounds that it interfered with UK-wide equalities protections.RecommendedThe Scottish authorities has downplayed considerations voiced by free speech activists who’ve been campaigning in opposition to the laws.Humza Yousaf, Sturgeon’s successor as first minister, has mentioned the act intends to fight a “rising tide of hatred” in society and insisted that it’s going to solely goal “threatening, abusive behaviour designed to fire up hatred”.In a letter to the Scottish parliament’s justice committee, Alan Speirs, a deputy chief constable at Police Scotland, mentioned in March {that a} “nice deal of care, thought and preparation” had gone into implementing the act.However police representatives have expressed reservations round its software.Chief superintendent Rob Hay, president of the Affiliation of Scottish Police Superintendents, warned in a separate submission to the committee that an “activist fringe” might “weaponise” the laws, regardless of safeguards round freedom of expression.Police Scotland, with the fewest variety of officers in a decade, ought to concentrate on crimes that symbolize the very best danger to public security, he mentioned final month.

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