Police say that the imprisonment penalty imposed in a race hate mail case sends a strong message that this sort of offending is not tolerated.
An Upper Hutt man was today sentenced to six month's imprisonment on three charges of criminal harassment and one charge of unlawful possession of a pistol.
The charges resulted from a Wellington Police investigation last year into the sending of hate mail to members of the Muslim community. Most of the unsolicited letters targeted Islamic women and some were received by Islamic organisations.
Several of the letters contained pieces of processed pork meat attached to the text.
Detective Inspector Harry Quinn, Wellington Police District Crime Services Manager, says the letter recipients, many of whom were recent migrants to New Zealand, were very distressed by the contents and feared for the safety of their families.
"The sending of abusive, insulting and frightening letters in any situation is not tolerated, more so when the recipients are women from ethnic minority groups," Detective Inspector Quinn says. "We hope the outcome of this investigation is that people will see that intolerant behaviour is unacceptable; that they will become more tolerant and respectful of the diversity of ethnic and faith based groups and welcome their contribution to our communities."
Detective Inspector Quinn says police appreciated the help from ethnic community leaders and other agencies during the investigation. "We've built some very good relationships with community leaders and our own knowledge and understanding of the Muslim community has broadened as a result."