The moron who shouted abuse at Muslim worshippers outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch on Wednesday now faces a possible prison sentence, and so he should.
Why the police officers stationed outside the mosque didn’t arrest this odious exhibitionist hoodlum immediately is a question only they can answer, but at least someone higher up later thought better of it.
Anyway, Daniel Nicholas Tuapawa has now pleaded guilty to a charge of behaving in an insulting manner likely to cause violence and has been remanded on bail for a pre-sentencing report. He says he has no recollection of the incident.
There’s scope for endless argument about the definition of hate speech, but even a free-speech advocate like me has no trouble deciding that someone who allegedly kicked photos of murdered Muslim worshippers while shouting “Fucking Muslims, they all need to get the fuck out of New Zealand” and “All Muslims are terrorists” – and this outside the mosque where more than 40 people were killed – has crossed the line.
The police who let him get away with it were just plain wrong to decide that he was simply exercising his right to free speech. They should have detained him straight away for a breach of the peace and left it to a court to decide.
But here’s the thing: the charge belatedly brought today shows that the police were able to deal with the offence using existing laws. The lesson is that notwithstanding all the squawking from the opportunistic neo-Marxist Left who insist we need special hate speech laws, there’s ample scope already for deterring people who behave in a threatening way toward minorities.