According to a story published in the October 18, 2005
edition of the Metro newspaper, a British teenage
heavy metal fan has been handed a community service
order for wearing an offensive t-shirt.
Adam Shepherd, 19, was reportedly convicted under new
anti-hate laws which ban people from displaying
religiously insulting signs.
The teenager was arrested after a woman complained to
police when she saw his shirt, which promotes extreme
heavy metal band CRADLE OF FILTH.
The t-shirt shows a picture of a nun in a pornographic
pose. On the back is a comment about Jesus
The top was being worn by Shepherd's girlfriend when a
police officer approached her. As soon as the teenager
realized there was a problem, he told the officer it
was his and swapped tops with his girlfriend. But he
refused to take it off or cover it up and was
Shepherd, who bought the shirt in his hometown of
Weymouth, Dorset, admitted the charge. Weymouth
magistrates gave him 80 hours community service and
told him to pay £40 costs (approx. $71).
Meanwhile, MediaWatchWatch.org.uk reports that Adam
"can't have been prosecuted under the 'new anti-hate
laws' because they do not exist." However, a bit of
research shows that the wearing of this T-shirt has
led to at least two previous convictions in the U.K.
Dale Wilson, 35, of Norwich, was arrested by two
police officers as he walked to the newsagents on
Halloween 2004. He pleaded guilty to "religiously
aggravated offensive conduct." He was eventually
discharged and told to "grow up." He paid £150 costs
(approx. $266), and the judge ordered that the T-shirt
Back in 1997, Rob Kenyon, 29, of London was found
guilty of committing the offense of "Profane
Representation under the 1839 Act" by Bow Street
Magistrates Court. He was fined £150.
CRADLE OF FILTH drummer Nicholas Barker was also
arrested in Dover and charged with "creating a public
disorder" for wearing the same t-shirt. There were no
further proceedings against him.
From the NME: In 2001, the then-Lord Provost of
Glasgow, Alex Mosson, campaigned to have the t-shirt
prevented from being sold at Tower Records. The record
shop was raided on two occasions by police, and
eventually agreed to stop stocking the garment. The
Catholic League of America, back in 1998 (amusing
"Victory for Sickos" story) and 1999 (their call to
action), also complained bitterly about the t-shirt.