A man who made Nazi salutes during an antisemitism rally in Manchester in September has been jailed after a judge dismissed his argument that he was exercising his right to free speech.
Joseph Brogan, 27, who already had two convictions for racially-aggravated offences, shouted “child killers” at the crowd, which included MPs and the Chief Rabbi. He also added: “You people should live in Israel.”
Prosecutor William Donnelly told Manchester Crown Court that Brogan “said he wanted to express his opinion on Zionism and said he thought he had the freedom of speech by his opinion”.
Brogan initially said he had no recollection of making the Nazi gesture as he was escorted away from the rally by security guards, one of whom had lost family in the Holocaust. Brogan later said “it was in the heat of the moment”.
He admitted racially aggravated threatening behaviour and was jailed for six months.
Judge Martin Rudland described it as “an extremely provocative gesture… in front of a peaceful demonstration,” and that it was “something the court must view as extremely serious.”
He added: “You didn’t just simply express your feelings against the rally, this was deliberate provocative behaviour and it was outrageous. The public must see that the courts take it seriously and others who are tempted to behave in this way, this is something that will not be brushed away.”
Listen to this week’s episode of the Jewish Views podcast!