On 20 January 2012, a jury in Britain’s Derby Crown Court delivered a guilty verdict to three out of five men charged with the offence of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation. The defendants Ihjaz Ali, Kabir Ahmed, Razwan Javed, Mehboob Hussain, and Umar Javed were charged under Section 29C of the Public Order Act 1986. Three of the accused - Ihjaz Ali, Kabir Ahmed and Razwan Javed – were found guilty. The other two accused persons, Mahboob Hassain and Umer Javed, were both found not guilty.
The case, which is the first of its kind in Britain, concerned five men who were accused of distributing a series of leaflets in Derby. It is reported that the one of the leaflets, entitled “Death Penalty?” and containing references to gay sex, showed an image of a mannequin hanging by the neck from a noose, accompanied by the following statement:
The death sentence is the only way this immoral crime can be erased from corrupting society and act as a deterrent for any other ill person who is remotely inclined in this bent way.
It is reported that the men admitted to distributing the leaflets but pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The Public Order Act 1986 was amended by section 74 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 to create the offence of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation. Section 29C reads:
29C Publishing or distributing written material
(1)A person who publishes or distributes written material which is threatening is guilty of an offence if he intends thereby to stir up religious hatred or hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.
(2)References in this Part to the publication or distribution of written material are to its publication or distribution to the public or a section of the public.
The convicted men will be sentenced in February.
To read a case summary of the case click here.