Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Racist internet troll who harassed Labour MP jailed for two years

LONDON: A “vile racist” troll who harassed Labour MP Luciana Berger in a string of anti-Jewish rants has been jailed for the maximum of two years. Joshua Bonehill-Paine, 24, sent five hate-filled blogs about the MP for Liverpool Wavertree in support of jailed far-right extremist Garron Helm. The jury at the Old Bailey found Bonehill-Paine guilty of racially aggravated harassment on Wednesday. The court heard he has a history of online abuse leaving a trail of devastation in the lives of those he chose to “pick a dispute” with. While he was posting abusive blogs on Ms Berger, Bonehill-Paine, of Yeovil, Somerset, was on bail awaiting sentence for making false claims on Twitter that several people were paedophiles. And while on police bail over the blogs, he stirred up racial hatred in a flyer for a neo-Nazi rally in Golders Green, north London. He was jailed for three years and four months last December for the ad illustrated with a picture of Nazi death camp Auschwitz which promised “an absolute gas”. Sentencing, Mr Justice Spencer told the defendant he had “amassed a formidable record of hate crime” at the age of just 24.

He told Bonehill-Paine he was responsible for a “cruel campaign of vile racist abuse” on his “obnoxious” online newspaper. The judge described Ms Berger’s evidence in court as “restrained” and “dignified”. She told jurors that online abuse does not always stay online – a truth illustrated by the tragic death of her fellow MP Jo Cox, the judge said. He told Bonehill-Paine: “This was gravely oppressive racially aggravated harassment of the worst kind.” Mr Justice Spencer took into account he was due for release on April 28 2017 but said a consecutive sentence was “fully justified”. He also imposed a criminal behaviour order which carries a penalty of up to five years in jail to curb his internet activities. Under the order, to be enforced by police upon his release, Bonehill-Paine is barred from contacting directly or indirectly Ms Berger, her former assistant and other named individuals. The judge said: “It is abundantly clear from all the evidence in the case and the material I have been provided with that he is tenacious in his use of the internet as a retaliatory weapon against anyone with whom he wishes to pick a dispute.” The order gives officers the power to monitor his online activities for the next five years.

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