Blasphemy provisions clash with Constitution

Cover of Levy's book on Blasphemy, via the publishers' website.In today’s Irish Times, a piece by yours truly under the above headline:

Blasphemy provisions clash with Constitution

The President has very few unconstrained powers, and the Council of State is convened only rarely, but this evening they will all move centre stage, when the Council convenes to advise the President whether to refer two controversial Bills to the Supreme Court. Whatever she does about the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill, 2009, she should certainly refer the blasphemy provisions of the Defamation Bill, 2006 …

Read all about it here (it’s a development of my argument here).

The cases I mention in the piece are:

  • the case against Gay News magazine (wikipedia) is Whitehouse v Lemon [1979] AC 617 (HL) (wikipedia);
  • the case against Salman Rushdie for The Satanic Verses is R v Metropolitan Magistrate ex p Choudhury [1991] 1 QB 429;
  • the case against Jerry Springer – The Opera is R (on the application of Green) v The City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court [2007] EWHC 2785 (Admin) (05 December 2007);
  • the relevant decisions of the European Court of Human Rights include Wingrove v UK 17419/90 [1996] ECHR 60 (25 November 1996), and Klein v Slovakia 72208/01 [2006] ECHR 909 (31 October 2006); and
  • the case against the Sunday Independent for publishing the divorce referendum cartoon is Corway v Independent Newspapers [1999] 4 IR 485; [2000] 1 ILRM 426; [1999] IESC 5 (30 July 1999).