'Coconut' row Bristol City councillor found guilty

Shirley Brown was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £620 costs

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A councillor has been found guilty of racial harassment after she called a political opponent a "coconut".

Liberal Democrat Shirley Brown called Asian Conservative Jay Jethwa a "coconut" during a debate at Bristol City Council in February 2009.

District Judge Simon Cooper, sitting at Bristol Magistrates' Court, told Brown: "You made a mistake this time. You have to accept responsibility."

He gave Brown a 12-month conditional discharge.

She was also ordered to pay £620 costs, following the trial on Monday.

The term coconut has been used to accuse someone of betraying their race or culture by implying that, like a coconut, they are brown on the outside but white on the inside.

Brown, who is black, had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The councillor, who represents the Ashley ward of the city, has faced calls to step down from the council.

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