Former Tory MP Bob Stewart's racial abuse conviction overturned as he wins appeal

23 February 2024, 18:12

The conviction was quashed on Friday.
The conviction was quashed on Friday. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

The former Tory MP has had his conviction for a racially aggravated public order offence overturned.

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Bob Stewart, the MP for Beckenham in south-east London, had the conviction quashed at Southwark Crown Court on Friday.

Mr Stewart, 74, told Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei to “go back to Bahrain” during a row outside the Foreign Office’s Lancaster House in Westminster on December 14 last year.

The MP, who was a Conservative at the time, was convicted last November for a racially aggravated public order offence in relation to the incident.

But the conviction was overturned on Friday after an appeal.

Mr Justice Bennathan said that, while the words spoken by Mr Stewart amounted to abuse, the bench did not believe that it caused Mr Alwadaei harassment, alarm, or distress.

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Mr Stewart's conviction was overturned on Friday.
Mr Stewart's conviction was overturned on Friday. Picture: Alamy

Mr Stewart had been attending an event hosted by the Bahraini embassy when protester Mr Alwadaei shouted "Bob Stewart, for how much did you sell yourself to the Bahraini regime?"

Mr Stewart replied: "Go away, I hate you. You make a lot of fuss. Go back to Bahrain."

During his evidence on Friday, he denied that his comments were racist.

"(I said) go back to Bahrain because I know it to be a very decent place and I thought you would get a decent hearing there," he told the court.

Summing up the bench's decision to overturn the conviction, Mr Justice Bennathan said that Mr Alwadaei's response during the incident did not suggest that he had been caused distress.

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