For 20 months, I stood accused of a hate crime: homophobically motivated common assault. The British Transport Police pursued my case with extraordinary zeal. So too did the Crown Prosecution Service. I was plunged into a world where common sense withered and died.
The nightmare began when I was travelling home to London after a funeral in Kent. I was chatting with a friend on the train when a strange man started shouting at us from across the carriage. ‘Shut up!’ he yelled before accusing us of conducting a sexist and misogynistic conversation at high volume. This was, in his opinion, ‘offensive’.
Brendan O'Neill and Kevin O'Sullivan discuss the real hate crime scandal:
We were bemused. Talking at a normal volume for a private conversation, we were in fact discussing a male colleague, admittedly using the occasional swear word.