A man who went into his local Sainsbury’s supermarket and stuck stickers on packets of meat that read “beware halal is barbaric and funds terrorism” has been given a month-long curfew.
Liam Gary Edwards, 29, today pleaded guilty to racially aggravated criminal damage on the day of his trial but insisted that he was protesting against the halal slaughter of animals after watching a television documentary.
The self-proclaimed “animal lover” stuck nine stickers with the hashtag #banhalal on halal poultry products after obtaining the stickers over the internet.
At an earlier hearing held at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court, the van driver pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis after police found the Class B during a search of his home in Chancel Avenue, Ordsall, following the incident.
Today the same court was told that CCTV captured Edwards going into the supermarket on Regent Road, Salford, on February 20 with his girlfriend and two young children.
Later staff at the store became aware of the stickers on various packets of chicken breasts, thighs and a whole chicken worth £16.50 which could no longer be sold due to concerns for contamination.
Upon searching the hashtag term on Twitter, staff found images of the stickers on trollies and point of sale displays.
For the prosecution, Miss Lisa Connor said that upon his arrest Edwards apologised to officers.
She said: “He accepted he had been in possession of the stickers and placed them on various items. He got involved in a Twitter conversation about halal and maintains that his whole motivation was his concern for the way in which halal meat is obtained and what happens in abattoirs.”
She added that he had never disputed the offence and accepted the prosecution’s case
“He maintained he wasn’t motivated by any racial prejudice he just wanted to highlight the cruelty involved. He admitted he was sorry for his actions.”
The court heard that he had no similar matters on his record.
For Edwards, Mr Lee Hammond said that after watching a documentary on how livestock were dealt with in slaughterhouses he had taken to Twitter.
There he came across others who shared views of what they perceived to be “unfavourable methods” and one sent him the stickers.
Mr Hammond said: “Unfortunately the group he had found had more extreme views that went in to religion, funding and terrorism.”
He added that there had not been any complaints to the store or the police by members of the Muslim community.
Edwards told the bench: “I’m a big animal lover, be it for racial or other purposes I believe it is wrong to treat animals in that way.”
In passing sentence of a four-week curfew for the two offences to run between 9pm and 7am, chairman Mrs Vanessa Goldstone said it had not been “a run-of-the-mill case”.
He must also pay £100 prosecution costs, £60 surcharge and £16.50 compensation.