Racist faces jail under first British court order to ban use of a word

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The Independent Online

A man faces being sent to jail if he uses a specific term of racial abuse in public.

Michael Guilfoyle, 31, is believed to be the first person in the UK to be banned from using a particular word - "Paki" - under the terms of an anti-social behaviour order. He could also be prosecuted for behaving anti-socially or using insulting or abusive, including homophobic, language.

The lifelong order was imposed by magistrates in Manchester after Guilfoyle, of Ardwick, Manchester, made abusive phone calls to council officials about a housing application. In the calls, made in June, Guilfoyle called one officer a "Paki bitch" and another a "homo".

Under the terms of the order, Guilfoyle was banned from abusing council housing staff and employees of North British Housing, approaching or communicating with witnesses, threatening violence or attempting criminal damage. If he breaches it, he face up to five years in jail.

Basil Curley, a councillor, said: "Let there be no doubt in people's minds: Manchester Housing will take action against tenants, their children and visitors if they use racist language or threatening behaviour." A spokeswoman for Manchester City Council said she did not know of another such case in the UK.

A spokesman for Liberty, the human rights group, described the ruling as "bad law" because the order made by the court would "be almost impossible to enforce''.

The spokesman added: "Using the word Paki to incite racial violence is clearly an illegal act but chatting among your friends in the pub is a very different matter."

The order, imposed last Thursday, came less than a month after a football fan was banned from club grounds for three years after using the word "Paki" in racist chants. Sean Ratcliffe, 21, a Port Vale supporter from Stoke-on-Trent, was also fined £150 and ordered to pay £120 in costs.