The former leader of the National Front in Northern Ireland – Mark ‘The Nazi’ Brown’ – has been jailed for two months for a “vile” racially-motivated assault on a taxi driver in County Antrim.
Mark Brown (31), of Skerryview in Craigahullier near Portrush, had also made off without paying for an £18.40 taxi fare. The defendant had contested the charges but was convicted at Coleraine Magistrates Court in January and was back in the same court on Monday for sentencing.
He was given a two months jail term but was released on bail pending appeal.
In January, Deputy District Judge Peter Magill said it was a “racially-motivated” offence and the defendant had “clearly expressed vile racist comments” regarding 56-year-old taxi driver Ricardo Alavijeh.
Mr Alavijeh, who is understood to originally come from the Middle East, told the court in January Brown punched him on the head whilst he was in his cab in November last year but because he was wearing a cap he wasn’t seriously injured.
After Brown had left the cab he said he drove up the road to phone the police and noticed the defendant “running after me”.
“I was very worried, I was panicking,” he said.
He told the court Brown was also “being racist towards me” during the incident.
The court heard Brown had previously been convicted around a decade ago of offences against Mr Alavijeh. The taxi driver said that last November he had initially received a call under a different name and wasn’t at first aware it was Brown.
During the contested hearing last month a defence barrister claimed that because of the history between the two men the taxi driver “decided to make trouble” for Brown by falsely accusing him of assault and not paying the fare.
The lawyer alleged that Brown had tried to pay the taxi fare.
Statements from police officers said that when arrested, Brown made several remarks including references to “Muslim c-nt”, “low-rent Jihadi b-stard”, “Jihadi bombing b-stards” and “dirty P-ki b-stard”.
Officers said Brown told them: “You may do me for racism but I didn’t touch the b-stard”.
Brown claimed the taxi driver had a “grudge” against him and the allegation that he punched Mr Alavijeh was “a tissue of lies”.
Brown told the court in January that last November he ordered a taxi to take him from his partner’s home, where he had drank two bottles of wine, to go to his parent’s home and when he realised the driver was Mr Alavijeh he wasn’t going to use the taxi but was told to get in.
Brown claimed he got out of the car intending to make payment with a £20 note but the taxi driver then drove off.
The defendant said he was later arrested when “two carloads of police like something out of Helmand Province” arrived at his parents’ home.
Brown admitted he had made remarks to police and said it was because he was “agitated and frustrated” at being arrested.
A prosecutor said Mr Alavijeh said the defendant called him a “Paki b-stard” in the taxi and Brown said he was “not going to get a penny” for the fare but Brown said that was a “complete falsehood”.
Convicting Brown last month the judge said the defendant had “clearly expressed vile racist comments”.
He said it was a “racially motivated offence” and said he needed a pre-sentence report on Brown and adjourned sentencing until February.
At the court on Monday, a defence barrister said it was accepted Brown should not have been anywhere near the taxi as he had ‘history’ with the driver.
The lawyer said the defendant accepted his conviction from the court.
The barrister said Brown spends three quarters of each month in Scotland where he employs four people. The lawyer said the taxi driver had not been injured but that the defendant had “went beyond the criminal Pale”.
Sentencing Brown, Judge Magill said a suspended sentence from 2015 had only expired in October last year and just days later he committed new offences.
He added: “This was a racially-aggravated offence. You did admit that you expressed quite abhorrent racist views in respect of this man whilst denying any assault and making off. “There is no place in our society for this type of behaviour, no place in this society for racism”.
To punish Brown and to act as a deterrent to others, Judge Magill said he was jailing him for two months.