DPP asked to act against anti-Semitic publisher

THE Director of Public Prosecutions is being asked to consider legal action against the widow of a former Tory activist and senior MI6 official, who is sending anti-Semitic material to eminent Jews.

Barbara Mills QC is studying a dossier from MPs concerned that Geryke Young - the widow of George Kennedy Young, former deputy head of the secret intelligence service - is distributing unsolicited 'offensive muck'.

Although her publishing company, Ad Hoc Publications, uses only a west London box number, the Independent had found she operates from her home on the edges of Holland Park, an affluent area of London.

The move comes amid concern at the recent growth in the circulation of racist and anti-Semitic hate-mail. Police have launched an investigation into crude Chanucah (festival of lights) cards widely distributed in England, but also sent as far away as South Africa, where the Nobel prize-winning novelist Nadine Gordimer was among those targeted. In a letter to the Independent, she said she found the card and accompanying literature 'scurrilous and disgusting', and was shocked it had come from London. While Mrs Young is not associated with the cards, she has sent her work to some of the same recipients.

There is also concern that the law - which has to balance free speech against racial hatred - fails to tackle the problem. It has to be shown that the words are so 'threatening, abusive or insulting' that they are likely to incite hatred. Home Office figures show that in 1991 there were 67 prosecutions under the Public Order Act but only four convictions. Prosecuting authorities are aware of the dangers of giving racist beliefs publicity in a trial, and the 'endorsement' risk of an acquittal.

Prosecutions are further limited by the requirement of the Attorney General's prior approval, which excludes private prosecutions and restricts the powers of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Last month, Mrs Mills decided against a prosecution over one of Mrs Young's pamphlets, East Versus West, sent to her by the Labour MP Mike Gapes. While she agreed some of the passages 'appeared offensive', she concluded the contents were not threatening, abusive or insulting amounting to an incitement to public disorder.

But furnished with further tracts, she has now been asked to reconsider her decision. Geoffrey Bindman, the civil rights lawyer who has written widely about the law governing race-hate material, said: 'If distributed widely and taken up as a crusade, then I would be in favour of prosecuting. If it is sent only to Jews, then it is hardly likely to incite.'

However, he added that Mrs Young's work might amount to an offence under the Malicious Communications Act 1988, which prohibits unsolicited grossly offensive material that causes distress.

Greville Janner, one of the MPs who has protested over her work, said: 'Either the law is strong enough and it should be used to stop this kind of thing, or the law is singularly failing and it should be strengthened.'

Mike Whine, spokesman for the Jewish Board of Deputies, which has received many complaints said: 'Geryke Young has a long and close involvement with purveyors of anti-Semitic and racist material. Although she is not part of any organised grouping, she is clearly pursuing her own campaign against prominent members of the Jewish community.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
footballAll the action from today's games
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas