Derbyshire Pride anti-gay protester guilty of distress charge

Stephen Gray June 11, 2012
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A court in Derbyshire has convicted a Muslim man, already jailed for inciting hatred against gays, of using threatening or abusive language at Derbyshire Pride.

Kabir Ahmed was convicted under section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986, which makes it an offence to cause harassment, alarm or distress with threatening language or behaviour for his appearance at the 2011 pride march.

While Ahmed, 28, was given a two-year conditional discharge, his three co-defendants were cleared, the Derby Telegraph reports.

Magistrate Bernard Thorpe said: “It was for the defence to show the [Mr Ahmed’s] conduct was responsible and did not go beyond his religious beliefs.

“But we find that his words and behaviour were intended to cause harassment, alarm or distress against homosexuals.

“We cannot find the other defendants guilty as there is insufficient evidence.”

A gay couple had complained after Mr Ahmed spoke through a loudhailer of research showing a connection between homosexuality and paedophilia. Passer-by Aaron Stephens, 43, told the court: “The phrase that I heard which sticks out in my mind is one that linked gay people to paedophilia.

“I was shocked, offended and sickened by it. I was surprised that the police, who had formed a cordon around the men, let this kind of chanting go on.”

Ahmed’s lawyer said: “Were there any complaints against any of the offences from anyone on the Derbyshire Pride march? No.

“All that was complained about was a mishearing from a gay couple who were not part of the event.”

Ahmed formed part of a 30-strong group protesting the event with placards reading “Homosexuality = Freedom Gone Too Far,” “Homosexuality = A Crime Against God” and “Islam is the Ultimate Truth”.

Earlier this year, Ahmed was convicted of distributing leaflets intended to stir up hatred against gays. He and two other men had handed out a publication entitled ‘The Death Penalty?’ outside their mosque ahead of the gay pride parade the previous year.

The ‘Death Penalty?’ leaflet contained an image of a mannequin hanging from a noose and quoted Muslim texts suggesting execution was the way to rid society of homosexuality.

The Public Order Act 1986 was amended by the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 to create the offence of intentionally stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation, and this was the first-ever trial under the offence.

In order to convict, the jury had to be convinced the leaflets were not just insulting or abusive, but were “threatening”, and were distributed with the intention of stirring up hatred.

Last night, one of Ahmed’s co-accused said the others “knew they were never guilty” of the lesser distress offence.

More: abuse, Crime, Derby, derbyshire, Gay Pride, guilty, Kabir Ahmed, Pride

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