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?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power