Claudia Webbe: Acid threat MP Claudia Webbe’s appeal against conviction to be heard in 2022
The former Labour MP, who avoided an immediate jail sentence after being found guilty of harassment, is appealing her conviction
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A former Labour MP who was convicted of harrassment after threatening to throw acid in the face of a friend of her boyfriend’s will appeal her guilty verdict in 2022.
Claudia Webbe, who is an MP for Leicester East, was convicted of the crime at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on November 4.
She had been accused of threatening violence and making harassing phone calls to Michelle Merritt and was expelled from the Labour Party following her sentence.
At a glance: 5 key points
- Webbe was found guilty of harassment after threatening to throw acid in the face of Michelle Merritt, a friend of her boyfriend Lester Thomas
- She was handed a sentence of a 10-week jail term, suspended for two years
- As a result of the conviction, Webbe was expelled from the Labour Party and now sits an independent in the House of Commons
- Labour has said that they will try to trigger a by-election through a recall petition if Webbe does not quit her role as MP for Leicester East
- Webbe denies being guilty of the crime and has now launched an appeal again the conviction and sentencing, which will be heard in 2022
What was Claudia Webbe convicted of?
Webbe was found guilty of harassment after threatening to throw acid in the face of Michelle Merritt after becoming jealous of her relationship with her boyfriend Lester Thomas.
She also threatened to release naked images of the 59-year-old to her family and made abusive phone calls to Merritt between September 2018 and April 2020.
In one of the phone calls, Webbe was heard calling Merritt “a slag” and told her to “get out of my relationship” 11 times.
During the original hearing, Webbe was told by Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring that her behaviour “crosses the custody threshold”.
On November 4, the MP was found guilty and was sentenced to a 10-week jail term, which was suspended for two years.
Why has Claudia Webbe appealed the conviction and sentencing?
Webbe has denied being guilty of harassing Merritt.
She claimed that the phone calls made to Merritt were “courtesy calls” to tell her not to breach coronavirus regulations by meeting with Thomas.
In a statement after the sentencing hearing, Webbe confirmed that she would be appealing the verdict.
She said: “I am deeply shocked by today’s verdict. I am innocent and will appeal this verdict.
“As I said in court and repeat now, I have never threatened violence nor have I ever harassed anyone.”
She has also said that she felt like a “victim” in the situation due to the amount of abuse she had received on social media.
When will the appeal be heard?
Webbe and her lawyers have lodged an appeal against the conviction and sentence, which will be heard next year.
It is listed to be heard on March 9 2022 and could last up to three days.
Judge Deborah Taylor told Webbe’s lawyers: “No doubt the appellant has been told sentences can go up as well as down.”
Raj Chada, who is representing Webbe, replied: “She has been advised.”
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