Ed The Manic Street Preacher, (the blogger, not to be confused with the band) offers us this firsthand account of attending Harry Taylor’s sentencing for leaving provocative anti-religious materials in an airport prayer room:
Aside from the bare facts of the sentencing, I would like to add that Mr Taylor seemed like a perfectly rational, intelligent and calm man who wanted to put his point across and was certainly not the “crackpot” that several bloggers, including myself to an extent, had presumed him to be. He was clearly still deeply affected by his horrendous childhood experiences of a strict Catholic upbringing by the Christian Brotherhood and was so distressed by the prospect of receiving a custodial sentence that he had to leave the courtroom midway through the hearing after nearly fainting.
Following the hearing, Liverpool Humanist Group’s Peter McKenna told a reporter from Radio City that the Asbo sentence was absurd since it prevented Mr Taylor from purchasing copies of say, New Humanist orPrivate Eye in a newsagent since there was a risk that they would contain images of the Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed or other “offensive” religious images similar to those he left in the prayer room!
While I am pleased that Mr Taylor did not receive an immediate custodial sentence, I am still appalled that the establishment has shown such favouritism in protecting religious views from criticism.