London, Jun 29 (PTI) Two men who were charged with sending a grossly offensive message and accused of inciting 'racial hatred' with a social media video targeting UK Home Secretary Priti Patel admitted to the charge in court on Tuesday.
Jake Henderson, 28, posted a video using a racially abusive word to describe Patel after a COVID-19 pandemic in January this year and co-accused Robert Cumming, 26, was among those who widely shared it online.
Both men admitted sending a grossly offensive message by a public communication network and will next appear at Mansfield Magistrates' Court in Nottinghamshire, East Midlands region of England, on August 12 for sentencing. The duo remains on bail until the sentencing hearing.
The 50-second video was played in court, where Henderson can be heard saying: 'As a white man, I won't be listening to people of colour.' Cumming then shared it along with the caption: 'Haters gonna be hating' and four laughing emojis.
Prosecutor Daniel Church, appearing on behalf of the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said the video was 'motivated by hostility towards members of racial groups'.
The court heard how members of the public were distressed by the comments linked with the video and feared its contents could incite racial hatred.
The duo was summonsed to court on May 29 and charged with sending a grossly offensive message by a public communication network, which comes with a custodial sentence or fine or both.
'Following complaints in relation to a video targeted at Home Secretary Priti Patel and posted on social media in January 2021, the CPS has authorised Nottinghamshire Police to charge Jake Henderson and Robert Cumming with sending a grossly offensive message by a public communication network,” Janine Smith, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS East Midlands, said earlier this month.
'The function of the CPS is not to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges to a court to consider,” Smith said.
The pair faced charges under Section 127 of the UK’s Communications Act. PTI AK ZH ZH