The first person in Britain to be charged with a transgender hate crime has warned that the police and courts are being used to stifle legitimate debate on the controversial topic.
Miranda Yardley, who was born a man but underwent gender realignment to become a woman, went on trial earlier this month after being accused of harassment by a transgender activist.
The 51-year-old accountant, who still identifies as male, was prosecuted after Helen Islan, the mother of a transgender child, accused him of "outing" her son by posting a picture of him on Twitter.
Mr Yardley was interviewed at length by Essex Police in April 2018, before a file on the case was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Prosecutors concluded that the offending tweet constituted a transgender hate crime, and he was summonsed to appear before Basildon Magistrates' Court, charged with harassment under section 2 of the Prosecution from Harassment Act 1997.
But the case was thrown out by a District Judge, who declared that the prosecution had failed to provide any evidence that the tweet constituted harassment.
It was later established that the picture Mr Yardley had Tweeted had previously been published online by the complainant herself.
Mr Yardley told the Telegraph that the whole experience had been like a "Kafkaeque nightmare" and he warned that highly organised transgender lobbyists were using the police to shut down anyone who disagreed with them.
His comments come after it emerged that two women have been subjected to police investigations for Tweeting allegedly offensive comments to Susie Green, the CEO of the Transgender charity, Mermaids.
But another investigation launched by Wiltshire Police into the feminist campaigner, Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, is understood to be still ongoing.
The police role in the cases has led to criticism, coming at a time when hard stretched forces are struggling to cope with knife offences and violent crime.
Mr Yardley said: "The first I knew of my case was in April last year when two police officers turned up at my door and told me that I had to come in for an interview under caution. I was extremely shocked.
"I knew the allegation was nonsense but I was concerned because clearly the police were taking it seriously. In August I was told a file had been sent to the CPS and then I received a postal requisition saying I had been charged and was to appear in court.
"I was genuinely worried that I might be convicted because I kept thinking 'well it has got this far without common sense prevailing'. I was hugely relieved when the judge threw it out but this has serious implications.
"If this had been successful it could have set a dangerous precedent that could have criminalised the legitimate expression of lawfully held views.
"It seems to be a deliberate tactic by Transgender activists to use the police and courts to silence criticism, stifle debate and harass and bully those who disagree with them."
A statement on the Mermaids website denied any suggestion that the reporting and investigation of hate crime was a waste of police time.
The statement went on: “We understand that people may not be aware of how it feels to be a trans young person, or a parent supporting them. But protection from hate and harassment is key, and this includes online.”
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