Police are continuing an investigation into allegations that a Birmingham councillor called for a newspaper columnist to be stoned to death, despite the journalist announcing she did not want him to face charges.
West Midlands Police said it would be up to officers and the Crown Prosecution Service to decide whether to charge Coun Gareth Compton (Lab Erdington) who made the comment using internet messaging service Twitter last week.
The row began after Yasmin Alibhai-Brown appeared on a BBC radio programme and argued Britain’s politicians had no right to condemn human rights abuses such as stoning in other countries, because of the country’s record in Iraq.
Coun Compton sent a message saying: “Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan’t tell Amnesty if you don’t. It would be a blessing, really.”
When Ms Alibhai-Brown learned of the comment, she said she would make a complaint to the police.
West Midlands Police officers arrested Coun Compton, a 38-year-old barrister, although it later emerged that they had responded to a complaint from another member of the public.
Ms Alibhai-Brown said: “My objections have been made and there is no need for more.”
She said she had decided not to press charges against Coun Compton.
The force said he was arrested under section 127(1a) of the 2003 Communications Act for sending an offensive or indecent message. He was later bailed pending further inquiries.
Coun Compton was also suspended from the Conservative Party, and Coun Mike Whitby, Birmingham Council’s Tory leader, described the comments as “unacceptable”.
Ms Alibhai-Brown stated that she does not want charges bought - but once again condemned the comments made about her.
Writing in The Independent, she said: “Some crazed demons on Twitter believe anything goes. Written words matter and hold meanings beyond that narcissistic urge to send off instant thoughts.
“The Tory councillor who sent out a vile and scary message about me says it was a joke. After some thought I decided I will not press charges.
“My objections have been made and there is no need for more.”
But she said she was disturbed by some of the comments made about the incident, and her response, in blogs and on Twitter.
“Yet having read many blogs and tweets that followed the incident, I do wonder whether our manners and morals will survive and if English itself, the best thing about us, is now seriously endangered.”
A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said: “Our inquiries are continuing. A decision on whether to charge will be made by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.”