Ian Brown, 60, sent Bradford MP Naz Shah an email citing forced marriages, honour killings, grooming gangs and female genital mutilation. He said: “I’m sure victims of grooming gangs…are happy at your appointment.”
Brown signed off the email sent on 11 April last year with his name and address.
The victim reported the matter to the police and during interview Brown claimed that although he had sent the email when he was angry, it was not racially motivated.
Today (Tuesday, 20 April 2021) Brown was sentenced to six weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. At a previous hearing he had pleaded guilty to sending by public communication network an offensive or indecent or obscene or menacing message. As part of his sentence he was ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and made to pay £100 in compensation to the victim. Brown was also banned from contacting the MP for the next six months.
The CPS successfully applied for a hate crime uplift in this case, which meant that the offence was put into a higher category of offending, making a custodial sentence an option, due to the racial motivation.
Crimes that are motivated wholly or partly by hostility or demonstrate hostility towards the victim of the offence based on that person’s presumed race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability are eligible for an increased sentence.
Kris Venkatasami, from the CPS, said: “This was a shocking and racist message sent to an elected member of Parliament who was left deeply saddened by the hateful language directed at her.
“The defendant had no qualms in sending his offensive email and even brazenly signed it off with his name and full address. When questioned by police, he refused to acknowledge that the email had been racially motivated and abusive, instead saying he believed a particular ethnic group was misogynistic, that it should be rooted out and that he was only being politically incorrect.
“Hate crime has no place in our society and I hope this conviction gives other victims of hate crime the courage to come forward in the knowledge that the CPS will do everything it can to bring such offenders to justice.”