Bury St Edmunds: Luke Janzen given community order for “offensive” Facebook post about plans to turn former pub into mosque

A 22-YEAR-OLD man has been ordered to carry out unpaid work after he wrote a message on Facebook saying if a mosque came to a former pub it “is going to burn down”.

Luke Janzen, of Clay Road, Bury St Edmunds, appeared at the magistrates’ court in the town yesterday charged with posting a comment on the social networking site that was “grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”.

The court heard how it came following an article in the local press about plans to turn the former Falcon Pub in Risbygate Street into a mosque.

Colette Griffiths, prosecuting, said following complaints to police about abusive comments on Facebook, Janzen was arrested on February 26.

She said the defendant, who admitted the offence, had said in a discussion words to the effect that if there was going to be a mosque in the town, it “is going to burn down”. She said when interviewed by police, he said it was a “silly thought” he had and if it was a mosque he thought someone was bound to burn it down, “not that he intended to burn it down or get someone else to burn it down for him”.

Claire Lockwood, mitigating, said Janzen, who is unemployed, did not have any issues with any religions or races. While he said he had freedom of expression, “he accepted someone might have seen that comment and felt it was offensive to them”. Janzen was handed a 12-month community sentence with 14 hours of unpaid work and �85 costs.

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