Man who called developer ‘Shylock’ convicted of anti-semitic abuse

The incident took place after a planning meeting at Haringey Civic Centre

The incident took place after a planning meeting at Haringey Civic Centre - Credit: Archant

A pensioner who called a Jewish property developer ‘a Shylock’ has been convicted of racial abuse.

Herminio Martinez hurled the abuse at property developer Michael Gerrard following a planning meeting on February 8 into a controversial Highgate flats development, Highbury Magistrates heard.

Victim Michael Gerrard and brother Joe had come out of the meeting at Haringey Civic Centre, in Wood Green, after their company Archway Apartments Ltd was granted approval for the Archway Road scheme when the incident happened on February 8.

Highgbury magistrates heard Mr Martinez, who had opposed the planning application, had called Michael Gerrard a “Shylock” - the controversial Jewish moneylender in Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice.

Martinez, 86, of Hills Avenue, Cambridge denied the offence.

But following a trial where the court was shown mobile phone video footage of the aftermath of the incident, magistrates found Martinez guilty of a charge of using racially abusive words or behaviour.

He was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £625 prosecution costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

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After the hearing on November 9, Joe Gerrard said: “I am glad to see that Mr Martinez has been given the justice he deserves. No one should be allowed to say the comments he did to my brother, and I hope this serves as a warning to others who think they can spout antisemitism and get away with it. I would like to thank CST for their assistance in the case, from the initial reporting of the crime to the court case”.

A spokesman from the Community Security Trust (CST), which fights anti-semitism, said: “CST works closely with the victims of antisemitic abuse, in this instance Joe and Michael Gerrard, in order to ensure that cases are dealt with. CST wishes to extend thanks to the Metropolitan Police and the CPS for their swift action on this particular case and hopes it shows to individuals that antisemitic remarks will be met with the full force of the law.”