Man who sent abusive tweet to Humza Yousaf is sentenced to home curfew

A former farmer who posted an abusive tweet suggesting Scotland’s then Justice Secretary sympathised with terrorists has been sentenced to a home curfew.

Stuart Smith, 63, was found guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court in November last year of sending the message which read: “Humza Yousaf, good Scots name. I am sure he is 90 per cent backing Muslim killers.

“Be having a whip round for terrorist families soon.”

The offending tweet was sent on November 14 2015 – the day after the Paris terror attacks, and appeared in the feed of Mr Yousaf, then minister for external affairs.

Sentencing Smith at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Monday, Sheriff Sean Murphy said the tweet was “an exhibition of narrow-minded religious bigotry”.

He sentenced Smith to restriction of liberty order requiring him to remain at his home in Gretna, Dumfries and Galloway, between 7pm and 7am daily for six months.

Sheriff Murphy told Smith: “You misused Twitter to post a grossly offensive message containing derogatory remarks about Islam through your comments about a person of that faith who held – and holds – a prominent place in Scottish life.

“Your behaviour was nothing less than an exhibition of narrow-minded religious bigotry. Prejudice of this kind has no place in modern Scotland in the 21st century and you should be ashamed of yourself.

“When cases like this one come before me, as, regrettably, they have done more and more often in recent years, I find it impossible to understand why people like you, sitting alone somewhere with access to social media, think it is acceptable to transmit to the rest of the world hateful messages without having to look in the face the people that you are talking to or talking about: that is a form of moral cowardice.

“Your offence was one of abusive behaviour which sought to incite resentment and hatred towards others on the basis of their religious belief, and at a particularly sensitive time on the day after the dreadful events on France. ”

Following a trial at the same court last year, Sheriff Murphy found Smith guilty of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner likely to cause a reasonable person to suffer fear or alarm by posting an abusive comment to Twitter that contained grossly offensive and derogatory remarks regarding a religion.

The offence was aggravated by religious prejudice, the court found.