Appeal planned in â€œstupid fat Australianâ€ case
A British woman found guilty of racially aggravated public disorder after calling her New Zealand neighbour a â€œstupid, fat Australianâ€ plans to appeal her fine.
THE Czech-British woman found guilty of racial abuse last week after calling her New Zealander neighbour a â€œstupid, fat Australianâ€ has told Australian Times that she plans to appeal her conviction.
Macclesfield Magistrates Court, Cheshire, heard that Petra Mills and Chelsea Oâ€™Reilly, a New Zealander with dual British/New Zealand citizenship, had been neighbours for over 18 months prior to the incident, which began when Mills called the police as the result of a domestic dispute with her husband.
Police arrested Millsâ€™ husband and took a statement from Oâ€™Reilly in relation to the complaint, at which point Mills approached Oâ€™Reilly and branded her a â€œstupid, fat Australianâ€. Mills has denied that the insult was racially aggravated, and has insisted that she harbours no ill feelings towards Australians or New Zealanders.
Mills told the court: â€œI shouted at her, but it had nothing to do with racism. I did not use the word â€œAustralianâ€. I used to live with an Australian person, she was very nice.â€
Oâ€™Reilly told the court that she believed Millsâ€™ prior knowledge of her New Zealand nationality proved that erroneously labelling her an â€˜Australianâ€™ was an insult purposefully designed as a hurtful slur.
â€œShe called me a stupid, fat Australian b****. Because of my accent there can be some confusion. She knew I was from New Zealand. She was trying to be offensive. I was really insulted,â€ Oâ€™Reilly said.
Police at the scene who witnessed the incident told the court they heard Mills say the word â€œAustralianâ€.
Mills was fined Â£110 for racially aggravated public disorder, Â£200 for assault and Â£500 in court costs. She was also order to pay Â£50 in compensation to each of the two police officers assaulted in the process of her arrest.
Chairman of the bench, Brian Donohue, held the term â€œAustralianâ€ was used in a racially aggravated way.
â€œThe main reason it was used was in hostilityâ€, the court held.
Mills told Australian Times that she could not believe the global response that the case has attracted in the aftermath of her conviction.
â€œThe court case has proved disappointing for myself (sic) and my family. Most of the reports that have been quoted lack a disturbing amount of facts,â€ she said.
â€œThis case is going to be appealed due to the sheer fact that it is not justice.â€
Mills conviction has sparked debate throughout the British, Australian and New Zealand media in regards to whether the term â€œAustralianâ€ could be used in a racially abusive manner. Millsâ€™ appeal is set to test the United Kingdomâ€™s strict racial vilification legislation and determine the manner in which racial aggravation can be measured in assault cases.