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Joshua Mark John Bonehill-Paine (born 7 December 1992, also known as Joshua Bonehill) is an English far-right nationalist from Yeovil, Somerset. Styling himself as a "nationalist, fascist, theorist and supporter of white rights", he ran a blog called The Daily Bale ("Britons Against Left-wing Extremism") which published several racist and anti-immigration hoaxes, as well as false accusations against his opponents. Bonehill-Paine has described himself as being "a proud anti-Semite".
Bonehill-Paine's online activity has led to criminal charges being brought against him for harassment, antisemitic commentary and hoaxing, including a 2013 online hoax that led to the owners of a Leicester pub receiving death threats, and other false accusations which were punished with a suspended prison sentence. Bonehill-Paine was described as an "internet troll" by the prosecutor at a 2014 court hearing. He was arrested in June 2015 for inciting racial hatred against Jews, for which he was found guilty in December, receiving a jail sentence of three years and four months
In October 2014, Bonehill-Paine was investigated by police over antisemitic comments about Labour MP Luciana Berger published on his website, after a member of National Action Garron Helm was jailed for sending antisemitic messages to her.
On 15 February 2015, it was reported that Bonehill-Paine had been arrested on suspicion of having sent antisemitic tweets to Berger. On 14 June 2016, he was charged with the racially or religiously aggravated harassment of Luciana Berger between October 2014 and February 2015. At a hearing at the Old Bailey on 19 July 2016, with Bonehill-Paine participating via a video link, he was sent for trial.
Bonehill-Paine's trial began on 5 December 2016. The court was told that Bonehill-Paine had posted five "hateful and insulting" articles about the woman he blamed for the jailing of a far-right extremist he regarded as a comrade. His defence counsel said Bonehill-Paine would not be giving evidence at the trial, but asserted that the defendant in posting his "pathetic, puerile rubbish" was, however, living in a country "where everyone is entitled to a voice".
On 7 December 2016, Bonehill-Paine was convicted of racially-aggravated harassment. The next day, he was imprisoned for two years. This new custodial term is to be added to the existing sentence Bonehill-Paine is serving. A criminal behaviour order was imposed to restrict his internet use after his eventual release including the barring of any attempt to contact Berger and other listed individuals, and the police were authorised to monitor his online activities for five years.
But Bonehill-Paine was not on trial for his previous actions. Although the sentencing judge listed his past misdemeanours, the defendant was only on trial for those five blog posts. In his remarks, the judge concluded that Bonehill-Paine’s posts ‘showed, beyond any doubt, the depth of [his] hatred of Jewish people, including Ms Berger’. But is being a repulsive bigot sufficient reason to be sent to jail? Is writing five, albeit downright horrendous, blog posts enough to warrant a jail sentence? Absolutely not.
No matter how deplorable or degenerate his intentions, punishing Bonehill-Paine for his opinions is a direct affront to a tolerant and free society. The prosecutor, Philip Stott, maintained that ‘we have a right to freedom of expression’, but meekly added that ‘it is not, however, an absolute right’. Freedom of expression should be ‘limited to protect the rights of others, including the right not to be harassed with racial abuse’, he said.
Stott is wrong. Free speech is absolute – it crumbles when you qualify it. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t sympathise with Berger.
The judge condemned Bonehill-Paine in order to discourage other anti-Semitic fascists from airing their views. But allowing vicious bigots like him to air their views, and challenging them in public, is a far better way to fight anti-Semitism. In fact, censorship only gives people like Bonehill-Paine notoriety. Following his conviction, Bonehill-Paine stated: ‘I am really pleased… with the media that [it] will bring.’ And every time someone like him is put in jail, another narcissistic web provocateur is inspired to pick up where they left off.
Bonehill-Paine has little in common with Raif Badawi, the Saudi dissident blogger who was arrested in 2012, imprisoned, and later sentenced to 1,000 lashes. While Badawi bravely dared to question the authoritarian regime in which he lived, Bonehill-Paine expressed anti-Semitic bigotry. But both were convicted for expressing unpopular views, and the fate of both men should send a shiver down the spine of all those who believe in free speech. Some may argue that Bonehill-Paine’s conviction signalled a victory against bigotry. In truth, it was a victory for censorship.
In addition to all the principles stated by others above, there is a practical reason in favour of absolutely free speech. If somebody hates me, and especially if that somebody calls for violence against me, I want to know about it. Prohibiting the hate speech will only create an illusion of safety that may prove deadly.
I want antisemites to speak freely so that I know whether they are mainstream or marginal. If marginal, I can afford to ignore them. If they ever become mainstream I am in danger and should act accordingly. Prohibiting their hate speech will deprive me of the necessary information.
originally posted by: TrueBrit
a reply to: Morrad
No, absolutely not. Jail? No.
He should not be allowed on the soil of this country, but he should absolutely not go to jail. I do not want to pay for that disgusting bastards lunch.
originally posted by: PhyllidaDavenport
Unless you are actively calling for the public to attack or murder or actively inciting hatred towards a group, speech whether written or verbal should indeed be free. If its a call to arms, a demand for extermination etc shut 'em down
Either way there's going to be a lot more of this shortly with the new Snoopers Bill
Hell no, I would not want him infesting some other place either. I say drop him and all the other fascists into a part of the ocean populated by a great deal of sharks. Its not execution if they COULD swim to a barren island and starve to death. Its just not very nice is all.
originally posted by: the2ofusr1
Canada where I live we see people hating the French ,the English,the Indians,the Catholics,the Gays ,and even cats .People seem to half heartily threaten other people and places on a daily basis . There is not one single law that says you must love your neighbor . Nore is there a law that says you have to like them . Now I am of the opinion that love without works is dead but I would also extend that to hate . Sometimes I think that a dislike towards a subject can be misconstrued as hate . I have always dislike Hillary Clinton but have never once hated her ...just saying .