Regina v Hetherington: 1841

Lord Denman CJ directed a jury on a trial for blasphemous libel: ‘Because, a difference of opinion may subsist, not only as between different sects of Christians, but also with regard to the great doctrines of Christianity itself . . even discussions on that subject may be by no means a matter of criminal prosecution but, if they be carried on in a sober and temperate and decent style even those discussions may be tolerated and may take place without criminality attaching to them; but that if the tone and spirit is that of offence and insult and ridicule, which leaves the judgment really not free to act and therefore cannot be truly called an appeal to the judgment but an appeal to the wild and improper feelings of the human mind, more particularly in the younger part of the community, in that case the jury will hardly feel it possible to say that such opinions, so expressed, do not deserve the character which is affixed to them in this indictment.’


Lord Denman CJ


(1841) 4 St Tr N S 563


England and Wales

Cited by:

AppliedWhitehouse v Lemon; Whitehouse v Gay News Ltd HL 21-Feb-1979
The appellants challenged their conviction for blasphemous libel. They had published a poem which described homosexual acts carried out on the body of Christ after his death.
Held: For a conviction, it was necessary to show that the defendant . .
CitedWhitehouse v Lemon; Whitehouse v Gay News Ltd CA 1979
The defendants, editors and publisher respectively of ‘Gay News’ had been accused of blasphemous libel. The magazine had a poem entitled ‘The love that dare not Speak its Name’. it is not a necessary part of the offence that there should be an . .
CitedGreen, Regina (on the Application of) v The City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Thoday, Thompson Admn 5-Dec-2007
The claimant appealed from the refusal by the magistrate to issue summonses for the prosecution for blashemous libel of the Director General of the BBC and the producers of a show entitled ‘Jerry Springer – The Opera.’
Held: The gist of the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 12 May 2022; Ref: scu.182794