Man arrested and charged for ‘offending’: FSU to defend


19 April 2024

Man arrested and charged for ‘offending’: FSU to defend 

Paul Burns was arrested after engaging in a debate in a public space and the Free Speech Union will defend him in court next month. This is yet another example of an unjust and unlawful arrest by Police based on someone’s views says Nadia Braddon-Parsons, Communications Manager for the Free Speech Union. 

“Burns was standing on Lampton Quay holding a sign that said, ‘$100 to the 1st person who proves that slavery is more evil than abortion’ with $100 worth of notes taped to the sign. 

“He was approached by a group of young people prepared to engage in the conversation. They argued that because of overpopulation, abortion is justified. Burns responded to their argument with, “if you think that the world is overpopulated, then why don’t you kill yourself?”.

“Burns was handcuffed, taken to Police cells, and charged under section 1(4)(b) of the Summary Offences Act. He will appear in court on 17 May. If convicted, he’ll be fined $1,000 and acquire a criminal record. 

“The man who assaulted a woman at Albert Park was discharged without conviction. Burns simply engaged in a debate. Our justice system has its priorities seriously wrong. 

“This arrest follows the dangerous pattern of ‘catch and release’ that we’re seeing from the Police. Here the Police have taken words out of context and acted prejudicially.

“It is unacceptable to be punished for engaging in debate and holding strong views on a subject, no matter how provocative. That is not how democracy works.”


Showing 2 reactions

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  • Harry Young
    commented 2024-04-27 14:00:16 +1200
    I agree that even dickheads should have their rights protected.
  • Nadia Braddon-Parsons
    published this page in Media releases 2024-04-19 15:36:38 +1200

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