Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Golliwog racial charges dropped

The CPS offered no evidence against Jena Mason following a row over a golliwog toy

Racial harassment charges have been dropped against a woman who allegedly displayed a golliwog toy in her window.

Jena Mason, 65, of College Lane, Worlingham, Suffolk, was arrested after her black neighbour Rosemarie O'Donnell complained about the doll to police.

But at Lowestoft Magistrates' Court, Chris McCann, head of the complex casework unit at the East of England Crown Prosecution Service, offered no evidence.

In a hearing lasting less than five minutes, he said a "review has been carried out at the highest level".

Mrs Mason, who did not attend Monday's hearing, had been due to stand trial after denying that she displayed an item likely to cause racially-aggravated harassment. Mr McCann said the O'Donnells had been informed.

He said: "To establish that an offence has been committed, it would have been necessary to prove that Jena Mason was the person who placed the doll in such a prominent position likely to cause her neighbours racially-aggravated harassment, alarm or distress.

"On the evidence available, it is not possible to show exactly who was responsible for placing the doll in the window. Despite further inquiry and review, we have determined that the evidence is insufficient and there is not a realistic prospect of conviction.

"We appreciate that this case has caused the O'Donnell family a great deal of upset and we have met with them to explain our reasons for not pursuing a prosecution."

The row erupted after Mrs O'Donnell complained about the doll on display at Mrs Mason's manor home in the village.

Mrs O'Donnell claimed the golliwog caused offence to her family.

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