Supporting free speech is often a difficult task that requires defending the most despised people or offensive views in our society. Such is certainly the case of Richard Pusey, 42, who became a widely hated character after filming and mocking police officers who died or died after an accident on the street. Pusey was convicted of the crime of “indignant public decency,” an ambiguous crime that would allow for widespread criminalization of the language. Police officers Lynette Taylor, Glen Humphris, Kevin King and Joshua Prestney were killed in the accident.
According to the BBC, police stopped mortgage broker Pusey in April 2020 for driving his Porsche at 150 km / h on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway. When Pusey urinated behind a few bushes, the waiting officers were hit by a truck at an emergency stop. Then he took out his cell phone to film the dying officers and mock them. Pusey let off a series of mocked mockery while saying things like “he’s battered”, “justice”, “absolutely amazing” and “beautiful”. He added, “I think everyone has been cleaned up.”
The videotape is disgusting and like most people, I was angry after seeing it. The policewoman pinned under the truck is believed to be alive while Pusey was partying. When a viewer showed up to help and Pusey asked for help, all he said was “You are dead” and kept shooting.
The fact, however, that Pusey did nothing directly to harm the officers. His speech was disgusting and shameful, but in the end it was speech.
In the United States, Pusey would have been protected from criminal charges. In fact, it would likely be protected from tort. Indeed, the main case in this area has been the failure to provide assistance.
In the United States, the no-duty rule was the basis for the famous Yania judgment against Bigan, 397 Pa. 316, 155 A.2d 343 (1959) in which a man saw another man drown without seeking his support. Although Bigan dared to have Yania jump into the water-filled hole, the court found that it made no difference since these mockery was “directed at an adult in full control of all mental faculties, and not just without.” Precedent, but also completely without negligence is deserve. “About the rule itself the court wrote:
Finally, it is strongly advised that Bigan did not take the necessary steps to save Yania from the water. The mere fact that Bigan saw Yania in a dangerous position in the water imposed no legal, though moral, obligation or duty to go to his rescue, unless Bigan was legally responsible in whole or in part for bringing Yania to the United States bring dangerous position: Restatement, Torts, § 314. Cf.: Restatement, Torts, § 322. The language of this court in Brown versus French, 104 Pa. 604, 607, 608, is apt: “If it was found that the deceased, because of his own negligence in any way contributing to the accident that caused the loss of his life, the accused should not have been held responsible for to bear the consequences of this accident. … He voluntarily put himself in danger, and his death was the result of his own deed. … The fact that his enterprise was extremely ruthless and dangerous is proven by the event, but there was no one responsible for it except himself. He had the right to try the experiment, obviously dangerous as it was, but then it rested on him too the consequences of this experiment and on no one else; Perhaps he was and was not aware of the risk he was taking, or knew it and trusted in his own abilities. Maybe he thought it was easy to understand. But in either case the result of his ignorance or mistake must lie with himself – and cannot be blamed on the accused. “The complaint does not contain any facts that would impose on Bigan the legal responsibility to place Yania in the dangerous position in the water, and without that legal responsibility the law does not impose a rescue obligation on Bigan.
However, recognizing that the deceased Yania is entitled to the presumption that he has exercised due care and to give the complainant the benefit of all of the well-known facts in this complaint and the fair conclusions that result from it, we can only draw one conclusion: this Yania A sensible and prudent adult, in full possession of all his mental faculties, undertook to perform an act that he knew or should have known posed more or less danger, and it was the performance of this Action, and not any behavior, of Bigan caused his unfortunate death.
The ill-defined crime of revolting public decency would allow for full enforcement of the criminalization of language – and likely civil liability.
Add to these concerns that Pusey appears to have a personality disorder that the court has recognized may have contributed to the crime.
The court is quoted as saying, “Your behavior in recording the police officers in their final moments, along with the words you used in the recording, was not only derogatory and horrific … but also a dismissive and reprehensible behavior. “
All of this is proven to be true. However, this does not mean that it should be a crime. Freedom of speech requires a light guard line. Ambiguous criminal law provisions act as a deterrent to the exercise of this right. Indeed, the very reason the standard is undefined is that it cannot be specifically or clearly defined. This is precisely why it is so dangerous to have free speech. Pusey deserves the conviction and will likely remain “the most hated man” in the country. However, the courts should not be equally ruthless or unthinkable in applying the Criminal Code to his reprehensible conduct.