Antisemitism main motive for Luciana Berger troll, court hears

A blogger accused of racially harassing Luciana Berger did so not because she is an MP - but "because she is Jewish," a court has heard.


In his closing speech the crown prosecutor Philip Stott told jurors how Joshua Bonehill-Paine had harassed Britain's youngest Jewish MP "in the most racist way."

The defendant posted five blogs about the Liverpool Wavertree MP on two websites over four months.

He blamed Ms Berger for the jailing of convicted right wing extremist Garron Helm in October 2014, the Old Bailey heard.

Mr Stott told jurors that the defendant joined a #FreeGarronHelm campaign which soon developed into harassment of Ms Berger.

The defendant "is a man who hates Jews - because they are Jews," Mr Stott said.

"He hates Luciana Berger not because she is an MP particularly.

"He hates her because she is Jewish and in a position of some prominence in public life."

Defence lawyer James Palfrey told the court that the defendant would not be taking the stand to give evidence on day two of the trial.

He told jurors that Bonehill-Paine's absence from the witness box "did not really matter".

Trial judge Mr Justice Spencers said jurors were entitled to draw their own inferences from his failure to appear.

Referring to the defendants five website articles - which included titles "Racist Anti-White Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger Exposed" - Mr Palfrey told the court they amounted to "the basis of political expression".

He said: "You might feel however politically wrong headed the defendant is - these five articles form the basis of political expression.

"We live in a society where everyone is entitled to a voice."

But Mr Stott told the court Bonehill-Paine had failed to give evidence because he "can't defend the indefensible".

He added:"That is why he hasn't given evidence in the same way Ms Berger opened herself up to the court for cross examination."

Ms Berger,35, had told jurors how articles which accused her of being "evil" and "a rodent" had left her fearing for her life.

In a wider campaign, entitled #FilthyJewishBitch, which was supported by the defendant, Ms Berger received more than 2,500 tweets, the court heard.

Bonehill-Paine, of Yeovil, Somerset, denies racially aggravated harassment of Ms Berger over a four month period between 2014 and 2015.. The trial continues.


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