What the Lisa Keogh Fundraiser, Judgement and appeal really means

If you have seen the fundraiser page for Lisa Keogh fundraiser , then that will explain why you are reading this. If not have a look at the fundraiser and then return to this post for context.

Layers of legal relevance

Since the success of the Maya Forstater appeal, it has become evident that women fighting for their fundamental rights, have to fight through layers of prejudice. This to get the issue into the light of the day. For Women Scotland, who took the government to court essentially over “what is a woman”, resulting in the infamous Haldane judgement, now have the option to appeal and take it to a higher court, where the law, its scrutiny and the precedents relating to the matter, are looked at far more critically. It has become obvious that the battles that women now face are going to be expensive, difficult to access justice and then clear judgement is only available after multiple proceedings.

Tiring out the opposition is an age old legal tactic. Making the battle so onerous that they either run out of money, stamina or the capacity to run their lives is what is often relied upon. This is why some legal battles can take years. But the outcomes are crucial if we are keep women as a protected characteristic.

Time and time again, robust decisions, that protect women have to be decided on appeal.

As an observer not qualified in law, I have been asking myself, why is this the case?

Having looked at the available information on the cases in question, the judgements and the reasoning behind them, one of the issues that I’ve noticed is that the opposing side have become adept at distracting the real issue, with ideas and reasoning that simply do not apply.

If you’ve watched the video here – where we get the inside on Lisa Keoghs story it is clear that the judge missed the point entirely and appears to be skewed toward ignoring the obvious.

Lisa’s solicitors are confident enough that they have advised and prepared the appeal which is now in the process of being lodged.

For me the appeal will determine several things.

Firstly does the Scottish Judiciary respect article ten of the human rights act?

This essential piece of legislation, essentially blocks the right to not be offended. Not being offended is something that those that wish to silence women rely on quite heavily. Offensive speech is subjective and using it to store up accusations of hate and harm is disingenuous. Should it become acceptable to class something that offends you as hate speech, then the courts are going to be protecting peoples feelings far more than prosecuting rapists or violent offenders. Something the British police already seem content to focus on.

Secondly, why would the harm to Lisa be irrelevant? Even if in the broadest sense Lisa’s words upset someone enough to disrupt their lives, the harm brought to Lisa’s article ten rights in this matter was overreaching, and if I was a juror in such a trial I’m sure this is the conclusion any sensible person would reach.

But Scotland, its government and by association its agencies and legal system seems to have lost its sensibility. Even entertaining the thought that putting a male bodied rapist in a woman’s prison would be OK. Refusing to call this rapist male, but rather a rapist, while avoiding the direct question  – is this rapist a woman? Illustrates the skewed bias against natal women. It feels like I’m watching a Kafkaesque alternative reality playing out before me.

Thirdly, are the Scottish courts confusing hate speech and article ten rights with the right not to be offended. A right that does not exist?

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Good precedent – The Lisa Keogh Fundraiser is vital for this issue

What really concerns me, is that there seems to be precious little reference to hate speech itself. Hate speech legislation seems to remain on the whole untested. In fact, hate speech is prosecutable by the PF, so why was Lisa never charged? Causing harm to others, is a criminal act. I don’t understand why the courts haven’t considered this. Surely the risk of this case is that the judge is trying to apply thresholds that really are irrelevant?

Was the disciplinary process necessary?

Did the judge know that the investigator was so ill equipped that she had to go back and look at evidence that would have been crucial to the investigation? Surely if the investigator had of looked at that , the rest of the process would have been unnecessary. All I can see as an outsider is that the University were more worried about Stonewall diversity points than the welfare of a student with an unpopular opinion.

Places of education are where critical thought and divergent opinions create an environment for academic development.  SO, why was this EVER an issue?

The administration of higher education should not be influenced by social and political movements. Particularly when they are meant to remain unbiased. This does not foster challenging thought and this means we are already living in 1984.

This tells me everything I need to know.  Especially when Universities are policing thought and ignoring  Article 10 of the human rights act.

How bad do things have to get?  When every legal decision has to climb the steps of judicial power to get a reasonable judgement?

Disclaimer – This article has been written by Ruth Hill, it is written as a lay person, with no legal training and is published as observation of a case in progress. None of the content of this article is presented as the opinion of Lisa Keogh and/or her legal team.