Cat Abuse and Human Rights
What if you saw a neighbour in her back yard or garden abuse her cat. Let’s say she kicks her cat and then hits it with a stick. It had happened before. Then one day you grab the video camera that is on your window sill and film your neighbour abusing her cat. You upload the video to YouTube and its gets a good number of hits.
Then someone sees it and reports it to the police or the RSPCA. Then the cogs of justice grind along and your neighbour is prosecuted for the crime of animal cruelty. She is vilified by other neighbours and has to move home. She receives a light sentence by the court but the indirect punishment in having to move away from the area is greater.
Being successfully prosecuted and sentenced she becomes a criminal. The criminal then claims that her human rights have been violated. She has a right to privacy she claims. She can do what she likes in the privacy of her own home. She starts a claim for compensation for the loss she has suffered because of the need to move away from the area.
Her children had to move school and she had to find another job. She wants to claim loss of earnings as well. In the UK the claim would be made under the Human Rights Act 1998. Article 8: a right to respect for one’s “private and family life, his home and his correspondence”. In the USA it would be a civil action in tort. But this is a theoretical discussion.
Did the neighbour who filmed the act cat cruelty do the wrong thing? Should she have filmed it and then gone to the police, keeping the video as evidence but not publishing it on YouTube?
Has the criminal got a right to privacy under these circumstances? Does she forfeit the right having committed a crime?
What would you have done as a neighbour?
Has the concept of human rights gone too far in protecting criminals while not taking into account sufficiently the consequences of their actions?
Would your neighbours have forced her out or been indifferent to the whole thing?
Answers in a comment, please…! Gut reactions only. This is not a legal test….!