A judge asked to decide whether a blogger accused of writing and performing anti-Semitic songs about the Holocaust has committed any crime has been told his verdict will “set a precedent” over a person exercising their right to free speech.
Musician Alison Chabloz, 54, faces five charges relating to three self-penned songs, which the prosecution at Westminster Magistrates’ Court said were “grossly offensive”.
Chabloz, who describes herself as a Holocaust revisionist, says her music is “satire”.
But prosecutors say three of Chabloz’s songs, including one which defines the notorious death camp Auschwitz as a “theme park”, are criminally offensive.
Summing up the defence case, Adrian Davies told District Judge John Zani his ruling on the case would be a landmark one.
Defending Chabloz, whose songs were uploaded to YouTube, Mr Davies said his client had not committed an offence.
He said: “It is hard to know what right has been infringed by Miss Chabloz’s singing.
“There has to be a convincing argument to interfere with Miss Chabloz’s right to freedom of speech.”
Poring over the technical details of the charges, Mr Davies said it was actually YouTube which was responsible for “sending the message”, with Chabloz unable to ascertain who the recipient would be.
He said: “If someone who’s drunk or unstable or eccentric decides to phone up the Speaking Clock and shout some obscenity, it is not conceivable that they are committing an offence – it’s absurd.
“Uploading a video to YouTube – the only ‘recipient’ is a lump of silicon in a concrete bunker in California.”
Prosecutor Karen Robinson denied Chabloz’s songs – said by the defendant herself to be described as tantamount to genius by some fans – were for comic affect.
Ms Robinson said: “This is not a case of someone performing a stand-up routine or giving a speech to the crowd and might be said to have – in the heat of the moment – gone too far.
“Miss Chabloz’s songs are a million miles away from an attempt to provide an academic critique of the Holocaust.
“They’re not political songs. They are no more than a dressed-up attack on a group of people for no more than their adherence to a religion.”
Chabloz, of Charlesworth, Glossop, Derbyshire, denies two counts of sending by a public communications network an offensive, indecent or menacing message or material in relation to two of the three songs.
She also denies two alternative counts of “causing” offensive material to be sent by a public communications network, and a fifth charge relating to a third song.
Chabloz, who was supported in the public gallery by around a dozen fans, was released on bail until May 25 when Mr Zani will deliver his verdict.