A man who claims accounts of the Holocaust are "exaggerated" and describes Anne Frank's diary as "evil" has been convicted of putting articles on the internet that could stir up race hate.
A jury at Leeds Crown Court yesterday found Simon Sheppard, 51, guilty of nine counts of publishing racially inflammatory written material on his website between March 2005 and April 2006. The court heard Sheppard's website attracts 4,000 visitors a day.
Four of the articles were penned by Stephen Whittle [who writes as Luke O'Farrell], 41, who was yesterday convicted of four counts of publishing racially inflammatory written material. The others included a cartoon by the American cartoonist Robert Crumb and an article written during the 1960s by the leader of the American Nazi Party, George Lincoln Rockwell.
Prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford told the jury that Sheppard and Whittle were a pair of racists who held what they may regard as fairly extreme views about people who were Jewish, black, Asian, Chinese, Indian and, in reality, anyone who wasn't white.
"People in this country are entitled to be racist and they are entitled to hold unpleasant points of view, but what they aren't entitled to do is publish or distribute written material which is insulting, threatening or abusive and is intended to stir up racial hatred or is likely to do so."
Both Sheppard, of Brook Street, Selby, and Whittle, of Avenham Lane, Preston, told the jury that the articles were an attempt to "satirise" political correctness.
Sheppard said: "You can't blame a Jewish person for being a Jew, you can't blame a black person for being black, and you can't blame a Yorkshireman for being forthright, which I am."
The hearing will enter its seventh week on Monday, when the jury of six men and five women return to court to resume deliberations on further charges.
Sheppard is awaiting verdicts on nine charges relating to the publication, possession and distribution of written material which could stir up racial hatred. Whittle faces a charge of publishing racially inflammatory material.