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religiously-aggravated offence

Derek Phin

Derek Phin

An Aberdeen man who posted a Facebook comment about burning down a mosque in the wake of Lee Rigby’s murder has been jailed.

Derek Phin, 46, admitted posting the threatening and abusive remark about Edinburgh Central Mosque on the social networking site in June last year

British soldier Lee Rigby was attacked and killed in London in May.

At Aberdeen Sheriff Court, Sheriff Annella Cowan jailed Phin for 12 months.

Police had confronted Phin at his home after receiving a tip-off about the comment.

He later stated to officers that he was a member of the Scottish Defence League.

Phin admitted during a previous court appearance posting a threatening and abusive remark with religious prejudice.

Defence agent David Sutherland said: “My client accepts it was unacceptable and inexcusable.”

Sheriff Cowan said: “Justice in this country is measured and considered.

“Everyone in this country is entitled to the same freedoms and protections.

“You have abused what you think is your right to free speech to threaten the safety of innocent people in their place of worship because of your mistaken understanding of what they or their co-religionists stand for.

“Nothing other than a prison sentence is appropriate.”

Earlier this week, Michael Adebolajo was given a whole-life term and Michael Adebowale was jailed for a minimum of 45 years for Lee Rigby’s murder outside Woolwich barracks in south-east London.

They drove a car into Fusilier Rigby at 30-40mph, before dragging him into the road and attacking him with knives and attempting to decapitate him with a meat cleaver.

BBC News

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Geoffrey Ryan

Geoffrey Ryan



A man launched a smoke grenade into a mosque and threatened to kill Muslims after he “snapped” following his brother’s death.

Geoffrey Ryan, 44, approached the Al-Falah Braintree Islamic Centre, in Silks Way, Braintree, armed with two knives on the evening of May 22.

He was jailed for nine months on Monday after admitting two charges of having a bladed object in a public place and one charge of affray.

Construction worker Ryan, of Brick Kiln Way, Braintree, threatened centre member Saruk Miah, causing him to fear for his safety.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard Mr Miah had arrived at 7pm, half an hour before evening prayers, to prepare himself a snack.

He had been in the centre for about three or four minutes when he heard an explosion, caused by a yellow smoke grenade thrown into the building.

Ryan then shouted out “I am here to kill you”

The court heard Ryan’s brother had committed suicide a week prior to the incident.

Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC said: “It was an attack both racially and religously motivated and showing hatred on both counts and it is the kind of thing that won’t be tolerated in this country.”

Speaking after the case, Dc Andy Young, of Essex Police, said: “The incident that occurred at the Al-Falah prayer centre caused unnecessary fear, not only for the people who witnessed it, but also local residents at a time when emotions were already running high due to the death of Drummer Lee Rigby in London.

“Ryan’s imprisonment should serve as a warning to others who intend to cause fear and unrest in the community for their own agendas, whether personal or not.

“I would like to thank the members of the Al-Falah prayer centre for their support during the investigation and for their continued efforts in which they have hosted local events intended to increase understanding and tolerance within a multi-cultural community.”

Braintree and Witham Times

Links to EDL   Islamophobia-Watch

Judge bans ‘hater’ of Muslims from every mosque in the country

An ex-soldier with a hatred of Muslims has been banned from every mosque in the land.

The life-long ban was imposed on John Parkin who stuffed tissue into a bottle of beer and attempted to set Rhyl mosque alight days after the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich.

Mold Crown Court heard that Parkin had been infuriated by the murder of Mr Rigby and decided to try and burn down his local mosque after drinking 15 pints of beer.

Today he was jailed for 18 months and an indefinite criminal anti-social behaviour order (CRASBO) was made under which he must not enter the mosque at River Street in Rhyl – and from entering the curtilage of any mosque in England and Wales.

Judge Niclas Parry told Parkin, 27, of Towyn Way West, Towyn, that he was “an inherent racist” who was prepared to act as such and was a high risk of harm.

“There was a depressing inevitability that people such as you would claim that the tragic events involving Lee Rigby would be some form of justification for what are nothing less than the acts of bigots and yobs,” he said.

It was why Lee Rigby’s own family so commendably made a public appeal that it should not be used as an excuse for further violence.

Parkin’s disgraceful and sickening conduct was an affront to decent society, Judge Parry said.

“But the plain fact is that you acted as you did because you were drunk,” the judge told him.

After 15 pints, in the presence of others, he made it clear that he wanted to buy a bottle to ignite the local Islamic cultural centre “that forms part of your local community.”

The judge told him: “You purchased a bottle, you purchased tissues, you inserted the tissues into the bottle and walked into the ground of the mosque where you made persistent but unsuccessful attempts to light the tissue.”

He then walked off leaving the bottle on the wall when he saw the blue lights of the police approaching.

“On arrest you began to abuse the police about the problems of this country, accusing them of betraying this country.

“You even had the temerity to suggest your example should be followed about how people should be taught about Muslims. You are an inherent racist prepared to act as that. You are a high risk of harm to a certain part of this community.”

The judge said that the offences were aggravated by his previous convictions, which included two previous convictions for religiously or racially aggravated offences.

The same mosque had been targeted by him on one previous occasion.

He had pleaded guilty and the reality was there was no real prospect of a fire.

“But these shocking offences offend decent society which looks to the court to deter such offences,” he said.

Parkin admitted threatening to burn down the mosque and a charge of religiously aggravated disorderly behaviour on May 25.

Prosecutor David Mainstone said that night Parkin went to a Rhyl nightclub and was refused entry after telling staff: “I just need a bottle of strong alcohol to burn down the mosque.”

He moved on to a shop and bought a bottle of Corona beer.

CCTV operators had been alerted by the club’s door staff and police officers arrived when he was in the grounds of the mosque.

He was monitored on CCTV as he tried to light the tissue.

Arrested and cautioned, he asked officers: “Do you like Muslims?”

Mr Mainstone said he had made a “serious threat” to burn down the mosque and uttered anti-Muslim and inflammatory remarks.

Parkin repeatedly told police he did not like Muslims.

When he was interviewed later, Parkin said he was drunk and could not remember what he had said.

But he conceded those were the kind of things he would say because he said those were his views and he was entitled to have them.

He claimed those views extended from his experiences in the army.

Andrew Green, defending, said that it was an aggravating feature that it was a repeat of previous behaviour.

“What lies behind these offences is his use of alcohol and a pattern of thinking that he struggles to shake off,” Mr Green explained.

They came in the wake of the London tragedy, his response was to drink 15 pints and that led to his behaviour.

There was no real risk of a fire because he was trying to ignite a beer bottle.

His words were so outrageous that he was bound to be caught quickly, as he was.

North Wales News

Wales Online

Previously admitted to being a member of the EDL in connection with a previous offence:

Wales Online

A protester at an English Defence League march in Walsall has been given a suspended jail term and banned from any demonstrations for four years.

Peter Jelley outside Walsall Magistrates Court

Peter Jelley was caught on CCTV gesturing and shouting at a line of police in Walsall as trouble broke out at the rally last autumn. He was sentenced to 20 weeks in custody, suspended by a year, and given a Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order at the town’s magistrates court.

The 24-year-old from Shropshire admitted a public order offence of using threatening or abusive behaviour at a previous court hearing and was sentenced yesterday.

The footage from the afternoon of September 29 was played to District Judge Michael Morris and showed Jelley walking up to officers and ‘gesticulating and shouting.’ This was despite the efforts of a female to pull him away.

Mr Paul Nicholas, defending, said: “He has faced up to what he has done, he has faced up to being part of the march. He is shameful of what he has done.”

He insisted his client had disassociated himself from others and had become angry after a relative was hurt. The court was told Jelley has previous convictions for a racially aggravated offence in 2011 and assault the year before.

District Judge Michael Morris said: “You went there knowing what would happen. You were on the frontline facing up to police, clearly agitated and pointing to police.”

Jelley, of Prescott Close, Shrewsbury, was sentenced to five months in custody, suspended for a year.

He was also ordered to do 250 unpaid work and go to an adult attendance centre for 36 hours.

He was also ordered to pay £80 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

Express & Star

A judge has hit out at sentencing powers that prevented him from handing out a tougher punishment to a self-confessed racist who threatened to blow up a mosque.

Judge Niclas Parry said he found it “quite staggering” a religiously aggravated public order offence could only attract a fine as a punishment for former soldier John Parkin.

Parkin, who was jailed for 10 months for being in breach of an earlier suspended sentence, escaped separate punishment on two charges of religiously aggravated public order offences following two separate outbursts against Muslims in Rhyl.

On one occasion, Parkin, 26, of River Street, John Parkin, was seen near Ellis’ public house in Water Street in Rhyl, where there was also a mosque, in a drunken condition and he was warned about his behaviour.

The licensee heard him say: “I have got guns. I want to shoot Muslims in the head.”

He spoke about blowing up the mosque and the licensee found his remarks extremely racist and offensive, the court heard.

When police attended they found him shouting and remonstrating with security staff and he was arrested.

Yet he continued with his racist tirade saying: “Muslims are taking over the country. They need to go back to their own country.”

He later told police: “I am a racist. I hate Muslims”, adding that he was a member of the English Defence League, although it was said in court that he was not.

When interviewed, he said that he hated Muslims but would not say why.

Parkin was bailed but then on the night of Christmas Day he was refused entry into Ellis’ Bar because he was drunk and again indulged in a racist tirade.

He said: “Muslims are allowed in but I am not.”

When questioned by police he said he was drunk and could not remember but agreed that he would make such comments and believed Muslims should not be in the country.

“We don’t need them. They are taking over,” he said.

The two offences put him in breach of a 52 week prison sentence, which in June of last year was suspended for two years, following an attack on his then partner.

Sentencing Parkin today at Mold Crown Court, sitting in Chester, the judge branded him a racist and a bigot.

“You typify the ignorance that poisons our society,” he said.

“I frankly find it quite staggering, and I always have done, that the court’s sentencing powers for these matters are limited to a financial penalty.”

Parkin served in the British Army for five years – including a tour of Northern Ireland and two of Bosnia.

He was medically discharged after a landmine exploded in Basra, fracturing his skull.

Wales Online

Henry Hunter

Henry Hunter

A teenager found guilty of violent disorder following an attack on Kingston Mosque has been spared jail.

Henry Hunter, 19, was convicted last month after a gang of young men laid siege to a mosque in East Road, having previously attended a protest march against Muslim extremism, in November 2010.

But he was acquitted of racially aggravated criminal damage.

At Kingston Crown Court this morning, Hunter, from Ashford in Middlesex, was sentenced to six months at a young offenders’ institute, suspended for 12 months.

He was fined £1,000, given 250 hours of unpaid work, and handed a four month curfew order banning him from leaving his home on Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights.

Hunter was also given an exclusion order banning him from Kingston town centre for a year.

Before the sentence was passed, Hunter’s solicitor Michael Green told Recorder Roderick Fletcher that Hunter was a young man of previous good character who had not been in trouble before or after the mosque attack.

Mr Green said Hunter’s attitude had changed considerably in the two years since the attack, and he was now also holding down a job as a fork lift truck driver.

He contrasted Hunter’s police record with those of Martin Pottle and Alfie Wallace, who, along with David Morris, were all jailed for the attack in April.

Mr Green said Pottle had four previous public order offences and had been sentenced to six months in prison for affray in 2010.

Wallace had convictions for violence, robbery, criminal damage, assaulting a police officer and racially aggravated offences.

Mr Green also pointed to the fact Hunter handed himself into the police voluntarily, after his picture appeared on the front page of the Surrey Comet in the wake of the convictions of Pottle, Wallace and Morris.

Mr Green said: “This is a young man who handed himself into a police station after his picture was published in the Surrey Comet on the same day.

“His attitudes have changed considerably, his personal circumstances have changed considerably.

“He hopes to be given the opportunity to carry on working. Things have changed in terms of his employment, and in terms of his attitude.

“There are no new offences. The author of the pre-sentence report has spoken to the police and there is no suggestion he has been involved in any previous activity.”

Sentencing Hunter, Recorder Fletcher said: “You surrendered voluntarily to the police, you are currently in employment and you have a stable home environment.

“You’ve made important changes to your lifestyle and attitude in the past two years.”

“I’ve felt able to take a different course in your case to the course taken regarding Mr Pottle and Mr Wallace.

“Mr Pottle was substantially older than you, and Mr Wallace was marginally older than you.

“Both were convicted of two offences – violent disorder and religiously aggravated damage to property and both had relevant previous convictions.

“In these circumstances I’ve taken what could be considered as an unusual course in relation to your sentence.”

Surrey Comet

dickie

A MAN who claims to be a member of the English Defence League has been found guilty of threatening a Muslim taxi driver because of his religion, after “refusing” to attend court to mount a defence to the charge.

Charles Dickie, aged 23, was due to appear before magistrates in Northampton yesterday to stand trial over an incident in Daventry earlier this month, but he would not get into a prison van to transport him to the hearing, the court heard.

After hearing the case in his absence, chair of the bench, Mabel Lilley, found the case against Dickie proved, and said the magistrates were minded to impose a 20-week prison sentence when Dickie could be brought before the court.

Taxi driver Sultan Ahmed said he had worked in Daventry for the past three-and-a-half years. He said that on Friday, March 2, he had been waiting for a customer in Brook Street at about 4.30pm when he was approached by Dickie.

Speaking through an interpreter, he said: “He said we are here, all over this place, in this country, and you are not welcome here.”

Dickie then sang a song insulting both Islam and Mr Ahmed and uttered expletives, before moving in closer and pointing to his genitals.

Mr Ahmed said: “He looked very angry and aggressive. He looked as if he was about to fight with me.”

Giovanni D’Alessandro, prosecuting, said Dickie had told police officers when arrested: “I’m not racist. I don’t like Muslims.”

He also talked continuously about the EDL and made threats towards a planned mosque in Daventry, the court was told.

Magistrates heard Dickie, of Tennyson Road, in Daventry, was previously convicted of making racially-aggravated threats in 2007, and they were shown evidence from his Facebook site to support the prosecution case.

Sentencing, Mrs Lilley said: “We feel this was a particularly nasty incident directed towards Mr Ahmed.

“There was a certain amount of planning on Mr Dickie’s part. He deliberately insulted Mr Ahmed and used abusive and insulting words towards him.”

In a statement to the court, Mr Ahmed said he had been “deeply upset and hurt” by Dickie’s actions, adding: “I can’t understand why Mr Dickie felt the way he did, to voice such hatred.”

Magistrates revoked a community order previously imposed against Dickie for an assault in Blackpool in May last year and for failure to surrender to bail.

Mrs Lilley said she was minded to sentence Dickie to four weeks in prison for the assault and two weeks for the bail offence, along with the 20 weeks for the religiously-aggravated offence against Mr Ahmed.

However, sentencing was adjourned to a date yet to be set

Northampton Chronicle