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Man guilty of hate crime for posting anti-Muslim messages in UK

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Press Trust of India London
A man who posted violent messages about Muslims alongside photos of himself posing topless with a fake shotgun has been found guilty of hate crime and convicted by a UK court of stirring up racial and religious hatred.
Jay Davison posted the violent messages on his Instagram page having 394 followers in August last year, with screenshots also shared on a WhatsApp group. A member of the WhatsApp group became concerned and called the police.
"This is a warning to people that posting material online can have damaging consequences for them offline," said Jenny Hopkins, Head of the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division at the UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
"The material Jay Davison posted was clearly threatening, abusive and insulting. His intention can only have been to stir up religious and racial hatred. His defence that he regretted his actions and was drunk was rejected by the jury," she said.
When the 38-year-old was arrested a few days after posting the messages last year, he said it was after an evening out drinking and claimed he had no racist views and did not intend to incite racial hatred. He said that the photos were taken at a friend's house with an ornamental gun, but he refused to name the friend.
His incriminating messages urged people to "stand up" and contained phrases associated with Nazism and white supremacy with reference to his hatred of Muslims and Islam.
The prosecution told the court that while Davison now regretted his actions, at the time it was an intentional hate crime to incite anti-Muslim hatred and being drunk was not an excuse for such behaviour.
Davison was found guilty of stirring up racial and religious hatred on Wednesday at Cardiff Crown Court and is due to be sentenced on September 23.
He was found guilty of one count of publishing material with intent to stir up religious hatred contrary to Section 29C Public Order Act 1986 and two counts of publishing material with intent to stir up racial hatred contrary to section 19 Public Order Act 1986.
He was found not guilty of two further counts of stirring up religious hatred.
The case was handled by the Counter Terrorism Division in the CPS, which prosecutes all incitement to racial and religious hatred cases in England and Wales.

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First Published: Aug 29 2019 | 4:30 PM IST

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