British peer sentenced to 12 weeks in jail for racial threats to anti-Brexit campaigner

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 July, 2017, 1:30am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 July, 2017, 1:30am

A British aristocrat was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison on Thursday for racially aggravated threats to a woman who mounted a legal challenge to the government’s plans to trigger Brexit.

Rhodri Philipps, who inherited the title viscount from his father, offered 5,000 pounds (US$6,500) on Facebook to anyone who “accidentally” ran over Gina Miller, whom he described as a “bloody troublesome first generation immigrant”.

Miller received death threats after her campaign to force the government to get parliamentary approval for withdrawal from the European Union. The legal suit succeeded in ensuring a parliamentary vote but has not stopped Brexit going ahead.

The racial nature of Philipps’ threat prompted prosecutors to request a longer sentence than the standard eight weeks.

“The menacing comment by Philipps about Gina Miller was clearly racially motivated and as a result he has received a longer sentence today to reflect the hate crime element,” said Kate Mulholland, a prosecution lawyer.

Philipps was convicted on two counts of sending a menacing public communication, one relating to Miller and one about an immigrant on benefits who had featured in a news article.