North East Wales

Judge critical of sentencing powers for anti-Muslim comments

A judge said it was "quite staggering" that he could only impose a fine on a former soldier who admitted making racist remarks about Muslims.

John Parkin, 26, from Rhyl, said he wanted to "shoot Muslims in the head" and admitted being a racist.

Judge Niclas Parry jailed Parkin for 10 months for breaching an earlier suspended sentence.

But he said he could only fine Parkin for charges of religiously aggravated public order offences against Muslims.

"You typify the ignorance that poisons our society," he told Parkin.

The judge said decent members of society did not agree with Parkin's views and decent members of society looked to the courts to support the views held by the majority.

But he added: "I frankly find it quite staggering, and I always have done, that the court's sentencing powers for these matters are limited to a financial penalty."

He also said the public would be surprised, if not dismayed.

Mold Crown Court, sitting in Chester, heard that Parkin was seen drunk near Ellis's pub in Water Street, Rhyl, where there is also a mosque.

The licensee heard him say: "I have got guns. I want to shoot Muslims in the head."

He spoke about blowing up the mosque, and the pub landlord had found his remarks extremely racist and offensive.

The court was told that when police were called, Parkin was shouting and remonstrating with security staff, and he was arrested.

The court heard he continued to say things like: "Muslims are taking over the country. They need to go back to their own country."

Later, Parkin told police: "I am a racist. I hate Muslims".

Parkin was bailed but then on Christmas Day he was refused entry into Ellis's bar because he was drunk and again started making racist remarks.

The court was told he said: "Muslims are allowed in but I am not." He was again arrested.

The two offences put Parkin in breach of a 52-week prison sentence, which was suspended for two years in June last year following an attack on his then partner, the court heard.

The court was told that Parkin had served in the Army for five years, which included a tour of Northern Ireland and two of Bosnia.

Andrew Green, defending, said they were unpleasant offences but could only be dealt with by fines.

Sentencing, Judge Parry said he was a racist and a bigot.