Man convicted of putting up anti-Islamic posters in Walsall

05/11/2015

A 68-year-old man from Pleck has today been sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay fines totalling £560. after he pleaded guilty at Walsall Magistrates' court of putting up anti-Islamic posters in and around the town.

The court heard how over a 72 hour period from 1 July 2015, Francesco Riccobono put up posters which contained racist drawings and anti-Islamic writing. These were discovered in and around Wednesbury Road and the Aisha Mosque on Rutter Street.

On Friday 3 July, two police officers were visiting the mosque and were approached by a witness who informed them that they had seen a man putting up the offensive posters. The officers called out to the defendant who ran off, however, he was later caught and arrested.

Following a search of the defendant's home, police discovered copies of the offensive posters as well as items used to stick them to the walls.

Riccobono was charged with and pleaded guilty to a criminal offence of racially/religiously aggravated intentional harassment/alarm/distress - words/writing.

Lionel Idan, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Being targeted because of a person's beliefs can be very damaging and isolating. People from all communities have a right to be protected from the prejudice that lies at the heart of religious hate crime and the Crown Prosecution Service is determined to play its part in tackling such offensive behaviour.

"To this end, we have specialist hate crime prosecutors who are experienced in dealing with cases of religious hate crime and as today's conviction demonstrates, where the evidence in a case establishes that a crime took place because of hostility towards a person's religion, our prosecutors will ensure that this is pursued before the Courts as an aggravating feature of the offence and reflected in any sentence passed."