#Friends4Claudia group condemns conviction ‘in the absence of tangible evidence’ and says she has been targeted for being pro-Corbyn
A new group set up by black campaigners has questioned whether the conviction of left MP Claudia Webbe ‘in the absence of tangible evidence’ is attributable to her skin colour – and has attacked media coverage that has repeated as fact allegations that were not demonstrated in the court case.
#Friends4Claudia, a campaign led by the Black African Women’s Empowerment group, has asked whether the conviction of a black woman facing a ‘white courtroom and a white judge’ on purely ‘circumstantial’ evidence could be just – and has pointed out, as Skwawkbox has previously covered, that the coverage of the case by the media has treated allegations that were never evidenced as if they were proven.
Ms Webbe herself has said on the day of her conviction:
The judge had a choice to believe someone who happened to be white or me. Despite my many years of public service the judge chose to believe my accuser.
A Powell and Barns Media article points out:
The MP was accused of threatening so-called ‘love rival’ Michelle Merrit, who had allegedly been pursuing a relationship with Ms Webb’s partner. A serious accusation was made that Ms Webbe threatened Ms Merrit with acid. An accusation Claudia Webbe vehemently denies.
However, despite her denial and good standing as a senior politician, despite there being no evidence to support those accusations, despite the fact audio recordings played in court did not contain such threats and Ms Webbe is instead heard repeatedly telling the woman to leave her relationship alone.
Despite this, Judge Goldspring decided to convict the long-standing politician, saying he didn’t believe her. In addition, the tabloids used the acid threat as an opening line and Ms Webbe was suspended by the labour party.
A spokesperson for #Friends4Claudia added:
If this were someone else, if it were two white women, or two black women, this would never have got to court let alone a sentence. How can it be that even a black woman who has ascended to a senior position in the Labour party is not even given the benefit of the doubt? Any evidence presented didn’t stand the water test as it was all circumstantial. So, ultimately the judge simply decided to believe one over the other.
The injustice in her case has been caused by a system that in the absence of real and tangible evidence, favoured the words that are expressed out of the mouth of a white woman over what has been said by a black woman without applying fair balance. This is not justice; rather, this case is an example of someone being discredited, dehumanised, and presented for us to subscribe to the angry black woman, who is aggressively charged and ready to kill someone for a man. It’s disturbing, It’s Claudia today, it could be you or your loved ones tomorrow! We need to stand up to this injustice
The group has also questioned the motives for the Labour party’s lack of support and its eagerness to cut her loose and has called on minority communities to reconsider their support for a party that behaves in such a manner, adding:
The lack of support from the Labour party does make us question if there is a political gain for them in bringing her down. When Keith Vaz was accused of crimes involving a rent boy, when people are caught up in fraud cases and insider trading – none of them have been suspended. In contrast, Claudia is criminalised like Guy Fawkes, for what was effectively an argument on the phone. It’s both complex and simple!
Last week, Skwawkbox revealed that a 41-year-old British man had been arrested and charged in Cork with planning to kill Ms Webbe, a consequence many believe is unlikely to be unconnected to the misleading media coverage. Although white Labour MP Andy McDonald has received police protection after threats were made against him, no such protection has been offered to her nor, Skwawkbox understands, has the Labour party at any time offered its support either before or after the conviction.
On Wednesday, the Crown Court granted Claudia Webbe an appeal against her conviction by a magistrate on a single count of harassment. #Friends4Claudia has launched a crowdfund to support her and help cover her legal costs.
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