Operator to face no further action in golly doll dispute

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

No further action: CPS measures for prosecution not met regarding White Hart Inn racist doll display (Credit: Getty/	Michał Chodyra)
No further action: CPS measures for prosecution not met regarding White Hart Inn racist doll display (Credit: Getty/ Michał Chodyra)

Related tags Legislation Essex Social responsibility

Former operator of the White Hart Inn, Grays, Essex, will face no further action after displaying racist dolls behind the bar, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has decided.

Essex police seized a collection of the offensive dolls​​, which are based on 18th-century minstrels and are regarded as a racist caricature, on 4 April this year as part of an investigation into an alleged hate crime dating back to 24 February. 

A spokesperson for CPS said: “CPS has a duty to make fair and impartial legal decisions based on police evidence.

Legal test

“We considered the available evidence and concluded our legal test for a prosecution was not met."

A spokesperson from Admiral Taverns, which owns the pub, said the firm was focused on "reopening the pub under new management" and is currently "reviewing all options".

Following the seizure of the dolls, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) axed the pub​​ from its Good Beer Guide​ and said it would not consider it for future awards as long as the dolls were on display. 

Heineken and Carlsberg also told the pub to stop serving its lager, while maintenance company Innserve refused to continue working on the site, according to reports from The BBC.

CAMRA National Chairman Nik Antona said: ​“Pubs are a uniquely social space for communities to come together and CAMRA believes that everyone should feel welcome at their local.

"It’s good news that Admiral Taverns intends to reopen the White Hart, and I am sure our members in Essex will look forward to welcoming the venue’s new management.”

Hurt and upset 

The White Hart closed its doors​ on 1 May this year and the building was later vandalised with white paint and had its windows damaged on 16 April. 

In an interview with Thurrock Nub News​, the White Hart former operator Benice Ryley, who ran the pub for 17 years, said she felt “hurt and upset” by the backlash.

She continued: “Young people these days don’t understand from years ago where do the gollys originate from. It’s such a shame. 

“It’s my collection. They are antiques some of them and I want them back.​ This is my life now that they have ruined. We have a stigma about our name now and our pub.” 

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