Australia: boy charged for wearing obscene t-shirt
A Gold Coast teenager has been charged by police for wearing a blasphemous t-shirt degrading Jesus.
The boy, 16, was stopped by police in Biggera Waters after he was spotted wearing a t-shirt which claims “Jesus is a (expletive deleted)” and depicts a nun masturbating.
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It is a t-shirt for English extreme metal band Cradle of Filth.
The teen was charged with offensive behaviour under the Summary Offences Act 2005 for public nuisance on Monday.
The incident has sparked debate about Australia’s lack of a Bill of Rights.
– Source: Jane Metlikovec, Gold Coast boy charged for wearing obscene t-shirt, Herald Sun, June 25, 2008
Gold Coast lawyer Bill Potts said the arrest highlighted Australia’s need for a Bill of Rights.
“One of the great problems with our country is that we talk about rights such as privacy and freedom of speech and the like but they are not enshrined or protected in any way as they are in America,” he said.
“While there are always limits on freedom of speech, you can’t incite violence or anything like that, it seems to be now more than ever that our rights to freedom of speech and freedom of expression should be protected.
“A Bill of Rights which enshrines that protection is long overdue in this country.”
Mr Potts said charging the teen was ‘ludicrous’ and brought the law into disrepute.
– Source: Ben Dillaway, Teen arrested for ‘blasphemous T-shirt’, News.com.au, June 25, 2008
In 2005, 19-year-old Adam Shepherd was fined Â£40 and sentenced to 80 hours community for wearing the shirt in England.
In an interview with Kerrang! magazine, Cradle of Filth frontman Dani Filth bizarrely suggested God was working through the band.
“Defaming organised religion openly in public is now a crime? What is wrong with England? Still, the litter problem on our city streets should improve dramatically if they keep handing out 80-odd hour community punishment orders willy-nilly,” he said.
“The country will be spotless in no time, a sure sign that God works in mysterious ways, even through us!”
– Source: Ben Dillaway, Band T-shirt draws charge, Gold Coast, June 26, 2008