Councillor found guilty of racial harassment over 'coconut' jibe
Shirley Brown, the first black Liberal Democrat elected to Bristol city council, called Asian opponent a 'coconut' during heated debate, court told
Shirley Brown, 48, the first black Liberal Democrat elected to Bristol city council, who employed the term about a Conservative, Jay Jethwa, denied committing an offence.
Vicious bigot, Shirley Brown (above)
Bristol magistrates court heard the term was used to accuse someone of betraying their heritage by pandering to white opinion, just as a coconut was brown on the outside but white in the middle.
She was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £620 in costs. The chairman of the bench, Simon Cooper, told her the remark had been "purely gratuitous" and could have stimulated racial hatred.
Innocent victim of racial harrasment, Cllr Jay Jethwa
"You made a mistake for which you have to accept responsibility," he added. "It is a sad case."
Brown's remark came as she argued against a Conservative attempt in February 2009 to cut funds to the council's Legacy Commission, established in 2008, the year after the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade in the British empire.