Heather Gillis: Twitter

Yelling vulgar slur at reporter not a crime says judge

Judge rules ‘vulgar’ slur against reporter was not a public disturbance

A judge has ruled a notorious sexist slur aimed at a reporter in St. John’s, N.L., was vulgar and offensive but wasn’t a crime under the circumstances.

Provincial court Judge Colin Flynn dismissed the single charge against 28-year-old Justin Penton of causing a public disturbance.

Penton acknowledged he yelled a phrase commonly abbreviated to FHITP at NTV reporter Heather Gillis last April as she taped an interview outside the St. John’s dump.

But Flynn ruled the incident — part of a phenomenon that has plagued journalists in the United States and Canada since 2015 — did not meet legal precedents for interfering with the public peace.

He says something more than emotional upset and a briefly interrupted conversation would be required to constitute a criminal offence.

Gillis says she understands the judge has to work within the law but is disappointed in the ruling.

The Canadian Press

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