It was right to convict Coleman
RECENT letters in support of convicted racist Michael Coleman contain statements which cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.
Fred Ball (Sentinel, October 9) says, 'Joy Garner is wrong to take him to court', wrongly implying that Coleman's conviction resulted from a private prosecution.
In fact, Joy Garner made a complaint to the police, who then launched an investigation. As a result of that investigation, the Crown Prosecution Service (not Joy Garner) took the decision to prosecute Coleman.
Former BNP councillor Philip Sandland (October 6) says, 'Racism is a word invented by the politically correct brigade'. Not so: racism is a daily reality for thousands of our citizens.
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As The Sentinel informed us (October 9), reported hate crimes against people from minority ethnic groups in Staffordshire have almost doubled in a year, with 210 incidents in Stoke-on-Trent alone since April.
The police believe many hate crimes go unreported, so the true figure will be higher. Over the past few months, a vicious pattern of attacks has seen asylum seekers forced from homes, mosques defaced, taxi drivers and takeaway staff assaulted, and residents harassed and abused.
In this context, Michael Coleman's inflammatory comments serve to reinforce a culture in which racist attacks and racist abuse are regarded as acceptable.
They are never acceptable, and the police are right to treat hate crime 'with the utmost seriousness' – and the court was right to convict Coleman of racial harassment.