Britain First leader to contest ‘hate’ charges
Britain First leader Paul Golding will contest two ‘hate’ charges at Ballymena Magistrates Court in May, it has emerged.
The 37-year-old with an address in Dartford in Kent was accompanied to court on Thursday by around half a dozen supporters, some of whom were wearing jackets with Britain First insignia and the letters ‘BFD’ on the back.
As his supporters took their seats in the public gallery, District Judge Nigel Broderick called for “some quiet please”.
Golding is accused of distributing written material in Ballymena on October 20 last year ‘which was abusive or insulting, and having regard to all the circumstances, hatred was likely to be stirred up or fear was likely be aroused thereby’.
The second charge he faces relates to October 24 last year and accuses him of possessing written material ‘which is abusive or insulting, with a view to it being displayed, published, or distributed or included in a programme service, whether by yourself or another, and having regard to all the circumstances, hatred was likely to be stirred up or fear was likely to be aroused thereby’.
Golding had first appeared at Ballymena Court in mid-November last year.
The charges followed his arrest on Wednesday, October 24, 2018, in connection with alleged incidents relating to the Ballymena area on October 20 and October 24.
Golding had visited Ballymena at the time in relation to the far right group which he leads.
Britain First held rallies in the County Antrim town.
Golding spoke at the first rally but police bail conditions prevented him from attending the second rally.
Britain First had gone to Ballymena at a time when tensions had increased regarding aspects of foreign migration to the town.
Following the November court appearance, Golding was released on £500 bail with conditions which included not being allowed within 500 metres of any parade, protest or public demonstration in Northern Ireland.
He was also barred from Ballymena apart from attending court and he was not to be at Dunsilly car park near Antrim between 5-10pm on Saturdays.
That was believed to be in connection to a bus service from Romania which had a drop off point there.
Golding was not to be in possession of any material which could stir up hatred and was not to distribute leaflets.
He was bailed to the address in Belfast and had to report to police once a week and he was allowed to travel to England if he contacted police in advance.
His bail was subsequently amended to allow him to reside in England.
Thursday’s court was told the contest is set to hear from four prosecution witnesses and two defence witnesses.