The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has successfully prosecuted a man for distributing racially inflammatory recordings after he uploaded racist video clips to the video-sharing website YouTube. Gareth Hemingway pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court to five offences under section 21(1) of the Public Order Act 1986 and was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Following sentencing today at Leeds Crown Court, Stuart Laidlaw, reviewing lawyer for the CPS, said: "Freedom of speech carries with it responsibilities. Publishing something that is abusive and insulting and that is likely to stir up racial hatred is against the law and the CPS will work with the police to prosecute robustly anyone who does so.
"Gareth Hemingway decided to use the very public forum of YouTube to distribute videos of a racist and inflammatory nature which he had edited, and which were designed to provoke violence against ethnic minorities, particularly those living in Dewsbury.
"They called for a racial holy war, described acts of violence and made supportive references to far right groups such as Combat 18 and POWER (Patriots of White European Resistance)."
Mr Laidlaw said that using the internet as a forum for distributing this type of material does not guarantee anonymity. He said: "Using the internet does not mean that people are immune from prosecution. They can be tracked down and prosecuted, as this case shows."
Gareth Hemingway was prosecuted in relation to five videos that he uploaded to YouTube between January and June 2007. They included titles such as "red, white and blue through and through", "oi monkey" and "Dewsbury needs help", and featured racist references and imagery including an assault on a black man by a white man.
When police arrested Gareth Hemingway, they found a collection of Nazi and racist memorabilia at his home.
The material came to the attention of the police when a local journalist researching Dewsbury on the internet came across the videos Gareth Hemingway had posted and reported them. Following an appeal in the Dewsbury Reporter, Gareth Hemingway was identified in an anonymous call to Crimestoppers.