A pile of dung, hairy or not

via Radiolive Ol’ baldy is worried about his self esteem

Convicted murderer Phillip John Smith’s wish to wear a wig in prison is not protected by the Bill of Rights, a court has ruled.

Let that baldy head shine bright.

Smith won a $3500 government payout in June 2017 after High Court Justice Edwin Wylie ruled the Department of Corrections had ignored his “fundamental right to freedom of expression” by barring him from wearing a toupee.

In light of the latest decision, he should pay back the $3500.  Hey baldy, I want my money back!

The ban was put in place after Smith, who is balding, used the wig to disguise himself when he fled to South America while on temporary release.

The Attorney-General, on behalf of Corrections, went to the Court of Appeal over Justice Wylie’s decision in September.

In a decision released on Thursday, Justice Stephen Kós concluded the issue did not fall under the right to freedom of expression affirmed in the Bill of Rights Act.

However, Corrections would not be revoking permission for Smith to wear the wig again, he noted.

That’s a such bald-faced shame.

Smith has a string of convictions, including extortion and aggravated robbery.

In 1996, he was sentenced to life in prison for murder, paedophile offending, aggravated burglary and kidnapping.

He had molested a 13-year-old boy over a three-year period, and later stabbed the boy’s father to death.

In the five years before the murder, Smith amassed more than 20 convictions for offences including fraud, possession of a firearm, common assault, attempted arson, cultivating cannabis, making a false statement to police, and theft.

Smith was on temporary release when he disappeared to South America, and is now serving a further 33 months in prison for that escape.

During the September appeal, Solicitor-General Una Jagose, QC, said Smith’s wig was not self-expression, and its purpose and sole effect was to make Smith feel better.

The issue risked trivialising the right to freedom of expression, she said.

However, Smith’s lawyer Tony Ellis said hair was a very personal and important part of freedom of expression.

Smith had become a public figure, and he should be entitled to express himself in a way that respected his self-esteem, Ellis said.[…]

His self-esteem?  He has a conga line of convictions, including fraud, possessing a firearm, common assault, attempted arson, cultivating cannabis, making a false statement to police, theft, paedophile offending, aggravated burglary, extortion, kidnapping and murder.  And he’s worried about his self-esteem?

[…] Although the freedom of expression point was not accepted the court made other statements affirming rights, including that the state could not constrain liberties, even of serving prisoners, except on lawful and reasonable grounds, and after considering contrary arguments.

Even though freedom of expression did not apply in Smith’s case, any analysis of his rights had to begin with the presumption that Smith had the right to wear a wig if he wanted, simply because it was not illegal to do so.

There needed to be a lawful basis for stopping him, the court said.

It’s such a shame that we have to apply the letter of the law to people who have no regard for it.  He has taken all kinds of things he had no right to, a child’s innocence, the life of that child’s father, yet we still have to consider his rights.  I guess that makes us a “civilised” society.  That is just all kinds of messed up.

In his decision, Justice Kós said wearing a particular hairstyle communicated “nothing of meaning requiring protection”.

It neither provoked ideas nor informed others of the wearer’s viewpoints, he said.

“It is not enough that people may view [Smith] differently hirsute as opposed to bald.”

Not true.  With his toupee, he is a hairy pile of dung, without it, he is just a pile of dung.  There is a difference.

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