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'Coconut' row Bristol City Councillor in court

15 February 10 18:03 GMT

A councillor has appeared in court charged with racial harassment following an incident where she allegedly abused a fellow member.

Liberal Democrat Shirley Brown is said to have called Asian Conservative Jay Jethwa a "coconut" during a debate at Bristol City Council in February 2009.

Mrs Brown, who is black, indicated she would plead not guilty to a charge of racially aggravated harassment.

Bristol magistrates adjourned the case until 12 April.

The term coconut has been used to accuse someone of betraying their race or culture by implying that, like a coconut, they are brown on the outside but white on the inside.

Mrs Brown, who represents the Ashley ward of the city, has faced calls to step down from the council.

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