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Monday, 15 November 2010

Woman shouted racist abuse at playing children (UK)

A woman told two young Asian children wearing headscarves they were "dumb people from dumb Islam" before swearing at them at a Bristol shopping centre.

Lisa Jarvis made fun of the youngsters, aged nine and 12, in an unprovoked outburst as they played outside a shop in Knowle, Bristol Magistrates' Court heard.

The brother and sister, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were playing on a moving toy machine at the Broadwalk Shopping Centre when Jarvis, 39, began to poke fun at them by mimicking their dancing. Magistrates were told she then began pointing at their headscarves and saying "look at that on your head" to one of the children.

When one of the youngsters ran inside a shop to a parent, the other was mocked by Jarvis, who said "dumb people from dumb Islam" before swearing.

She then swore again and called the child a name before saying: "What a dumb religion to follow."

Jane Cooper, prosecuting, said Jarvis was led away from the siblings by security staff but refused to explain her behaviour when she was questioned.

Jarvis, of Queenshill Road, Knowle West, appeared before court to be sentenced for two counts of using abusive words which were religiously or racially aggravated.

Rodney Wilson, defending, said her client was ashamed of her behaviour.

He said: "She originally pleaded not guilty to these offences and denied them because she believes it's not something she would ordinarily do. Her lack of previous convictions tends to support that.

"On this occasion she had argued with her partner and no doubt alcohol played a part. This is a lady who suffers from psychosis and bipolar problems for which she takes medication and is on a methadone script. She has an argument and has difficulty controlling her anger.

"She's remorseful, disgraced and ashamed by her actions and she insists she's not someone with innate religious or racist feelings."

He said his client should be ordered to pay the two victims compensation "to make them feel good about themselves" in the run-up to Christmas.

Magistrates gave Jarvis a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered her to pay £100 in compensation to each of her victims and £125 costs.

This is Bristol