LATEST: Jamaican rapper Beenie Man is facing criminal charges in Britain for lyrics which allegedly incite violence against homosexuals.

Police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and lawyers are due to meet to discuss whether to prosecute the star, following accusations from gay rights activists his words have resulted in a rise in attacks on homosexuals.

Jamaican gay rights group J-FLAG are among several organisations who are demanding action against Beenie Man, whose lyrics include an apparent call to hang lesbians and to kill homosexuals with a bazooka.

However, a charge of inciting violence would be complicated by several factors including arguments over free speech, varying translations of his lyrics and the fact that some of the offending songs have never been released in Britain.

Chief Superintendent CLIVE DRISCOLL of London's Metropolitan Police, who is leading the investigation, says, "It's a difficult investigation. I have no wish to stop someone's freedom of speech. But by the same token, I would not want offences to be missed.

"We will be looking at whether there are grounds for prosecution and if the answer is yes, then who will be liable to prosecution. That's where the complications will come in."

Earlier this month (AUG04) Beenie Man issued a statement apologising for any "distress" caused by his lyrics, but gay rights groups rejected it as meaningless.

17/08/2004 13:34