Merseyside man jailed for sending offensive email to Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities
A man who sent an offensive email to Labour’s Shadow Minister of State for Women and Equalities has been jailed.
The Crown Prosecution Service said that Stewart Hanson, 57, of The Woodlands in Tranmere, sent an offensive email on 20 October 2018 to the work email address of Naseem Shah, MP for Bradford West.
He accused the MP of anti-Semitism and suggested she’d tried to silence the victims of the recent Rotherham child abuse scandal. He also made racist taunts and threats of violence to Ms Shah and her family.
His threats caused great distress to the MP. She contacted West Yorkshire Police who traced the emails to Mr Hanson’s account. He was arrested at his home in Tranmere.
He pleaded guilty to one count of sending by public communication an offensive message. Today (13 August 2019) at Wirral Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Nick Sander sentenced Hanson to 12 weeks in jail, after the Crown Prosecution Service reminded the court that it was possible to uplift (increase) an eight-week jail term to take account of the religious hate crime element of the offending. Hanson must also pay £300 in compensation to the victim.
Alan Currums, for the CPS, said: “This malicious communication caused Ms Shah significant alarm, harassment and distress, and made her fear for the safety of her family.
“When he was arrested and questioned by police, Hanson said he was ashamed of himself for sending the emails but that is no explanation and certainly no excuse.
“MPs have a difficult job to do and are in the public eye. That should not mean that they are targets of vicious racist taunts and abuse that goes way beyond fair comment. District Judge Sanders pointed out that Ms Shah’s constituency is not a million miles away from that of Jo Cox.
“People often think that, when they send an email or social media communication from the privacy of their own home, they can't be traced. That is not true at all. The police and the CPS work together to protect the community from these people who take to their computers to spread hatred, violence and fear.
“There is no room for this sort of behaviour in a civilised society. Mr Hanson had no previous convictions and is now behind bars. He has lost his good name and his freedom for sending a racist and offensive email that created fear, alarm and distress. A lesson to anyone who takes to their keyboard to peddle hate.”
Notes to editors
- Alan Currums is an Associate Prosecutor for CPS Mersey-Cheshire
- Read more about how the CPS deals with Hate Crime