Malicious mail man sentenced

An animal rights activist jailed for sending malicious mail which branded a Huntingdon Life Sciences site an Auschwitz Laboratory has had his sentence and conviction upheld. Andrew Kirk, of Telford Road, Inverness, was jailed for three months in Februa

An animal rights activist jailed for sending malicious mail which branded a Huntingdon Life Sciences site an "Auschwitz Laboratory" has had his sentence and conviction upheld.

Andrew Kirk, of Telford Road, Inverness, was jailed for three months in February after a jury at Birmingham Crown Court convicted him of sending an obscene or indecent package last November.

Kirk, 47, was cleared of 17 similar counts, but convicted over the single "shocking and offensive" package, which was emblazoned with a swastika.

The offending package was mailed to Huntingdon Life Sciences' site in Woolley Lane, Huntingdon, Cambs, and addressed to the "sons and daughters of Josef Mengele" - the Nazi medic made infamous by his experiments.

It also branded Huntingdon's facility an "Auschwitz Laboratory".

He was arrested last January by officers from Staffordshire Police's Environmental Protest Unit, after an offensive letter was sent to a county councillor.

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Kirk's conviction appeal was dismissed by Mr Justice Stanley Burnton - sitting with Lord Justice Rose and Mr Justice Hedley - along with his sentence challenge.

He rejected claims that the trial judge had wrongly directed the jury as to the correct definition of obscenity, commenting that the references to Auschwitz and Dr Mengele "needed no explanation".

The judge said Kirk had been convicted of previous offences of harassment and, while he clearly had "strong views" about the evils of vivisection, his sentence was "neither wrong in principle nor excessive".

The package - although sent to an organisation and not an individual - would have caused "inevitable distress" to those on the receiving end, and a prison term was the only option, said the judge.