The owner of a popular Liverpool music venue has pleaded guilty to racially abusing Jewish MP Luciana Berger.
Philip Hayes, 53, who runs The Picket venue, which has hosted world-famous music acts, admitted to making a number of antisemitic remarks at Ms Berger at an after-show party for the Liverpool Music Awards last November.
He pleaded guilty to one charge of a racially aggravated offence and a separate public order offence.
Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard on Wednesday that Mr Hayes was engaging Ms Berger in a conversation about Gaza on November 17 2012, and said “I hate f***ing Jewish people”, told the MP for Liverpool Wavertree that all Jewish people had money, and referred to Jewish people driving Rolls Royces.
Mr Hayes also admitted to referring to Liverpool lawyer Rex Makin, who famously engineered the music contract for the Beatles, as a “f**ing Jewish t**t.”
Two separate incidents of abuse happened as Mr Hayes joined the Labour MP making her way to a post-award event at the Philharmonic Hall, and again outside in the street.
In his defence, Mr Hayes’ lawyer, George White, told magistrates that his client was not a racist, but was drunk on the night and had previously suffered from a drink problem.
It was claimed he had not touched alcohol for five years previously and could not explain why he had drunk that night.
It was also suggested in mitigation that Mr Hayes had Jewish friends, had campaigned at anti-fascist demonstrations in Liverpool and was a former member of the Anti-Nazi League.
Magistrates were told that, earlier in the day, court security guards had reported that a local BNP activist had been seen looking for Mr Hayes.
Guards later identified the man as Peter Tierney, who stood as a National Front candidate in the mayoral elections last year after defecting from the BNP. Mr Hayes’ lawyer claimed that Mr Tierney’s appearance at the court confirmed his client’s position as an enemy of the extreme right. Magistrates’ chair Lee McGau fined Mr Hayes £125, plus a £20 victim surcharge to Ms Berger, who did not attend the hearing, and £35 costs.
After the hearing, Mr Hayes told the JC he was concerned about being sought out by the National Front. A statement read by his lawyer said Mr Hayes “had sincerely apologised for the hurt and offence his behaviour caused Ms Berger. He has confirmed that he is not a racist or an antisemite”.