Man Handed Suspended Sentence for “Racially Abusive” Email to UK MP Naz Shah
A man was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment, which is suspended for 24 months, at Westminster Magistrates Court yesterday for sending an MP an email deemed to be racially abusive.
Ian Brown, 60, sent the Member of Parliament for Bradford West, Naz Shah, a Muslim, an email in which he mentioned forced marriages, honour killings, grooming gangs and female genital mutilation. He states:
“I’m sure victims of P*** grooming gang, FGM, forced marriages and honour killings are happy at your appointment."
“Nurses, sexually assaulted and stalked by P****, are especially pleased. Here’s an idea, f*** off.”
The reference of grooming gangs may have been in reference to a past blunder by Shah, in which she had liked and shared a Tweet from a satirical account parodying left-wing political commentator Owen Jones, which read:
“Those abused girls in Rotherham and elsewhere just need to shut their mouths. For the good of diversity.”
Shah later deleted the retweet and unliked the post, claiming it was simply an “accident.” A spokesperson on her behalf said:
“This was a genuine accident eight days ago that was rectified within minutes. To suggest otherwise is absolute nonsense.”
In addition to the suspended prison sentence, Brown was ordered by the court to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and to pay £100 to Shah. He was also banned from contacting her for the next six months.
Brown had signed off the email with both his name and address, which Shah forwarded to the police. When interviewed in police custody about the motivation for the email, Brown stated that he had just been angry and the email was not racially motivated.
However, the Crown Prosecution Service applied a “hate crime uplift” to the case, which categorises the offence as higher, and thus more severe, than it might otherwise be. This would make a custodial sentence an option, due to the apparent racial motivation.
Kris Venkatasami, from the Crown Prosecution Service, 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.”
Speaking on Brown’s prosecution, Shah stated:
"No public servant should have to be subjected to abuse of any kind as they go about their work. I welcome debate, which can be and should be robust, and I fully accept that people will not always agree. But no one should be subjected to racist abuse.
"This sends a strong message that such abuse and hate crime will not be tolerated.
“I’d like to thank the police and CPS for the work they have done and all their support.”
Shah is no stranger to racially motivated offence, she was forced to resign from her post as Shadow Chancellor in 2016 after a Facebook post emerged which appeared to be antisemitic. The post read:
“Solution for Israel-Palestine Conflict – Relocate Israel into [the] United States.”
“America has plenty of land to accommodate a 51st state ... The transportation cost will be less than 3 years of defense spending ... Palestinians will get their land and life back ... [The] Middle East will again be peaceful without foreign interference ... Oil prices will go down, inflation will go down, [the] whole world will be happy.”