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Leaders of far-right group Britain First jailed for religiously aggravated harassment
Britain First is not one of the groups I have followed but I view this with concern as it will affect all of us. Holding a placard saying 'Behead those who insult Islam' or 'British soldiers butchers' is, according to the police, free speech and an opinion to which the Muslims who hold such a placard are entitled. However to express views critical of Islam is a hate crime. Golding and Fransen (whose physical courage I do admire) are not the first and I don't suppose they will be the last. We live in interesting times.
From ITV News
The leader and deputy leader of far-right group Britain First have been jailed after being found guilty of religiously-aggravated harassment.
The group's leader Paul Golding, 36, of Penge, south-east London, was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison after he was found guilty of one charge of the hate crime but two other counts against him were dismissed.
Deputy leader, Jayda Fransen, 31, also from Penge, was convicted of all three charges and jailed for 36 weeks.
The pair were arrested last May over the distribution of leaflets and posting of online videos during a rape trial at Canterbury Crown Court involving three Muslim men and a teenager, who were later convicted and jailed.
Delivering the judgment, Judge Justin Barron told Folkestone Magistrates' Court said the words and actions of Golding and Fransen "demonstrated hostility" towards Muslims and the Muslim faith.
Sentencing the pair, the judge said the crimes were "deliberately planned against targeted victims".
The court descended into chaos as he attempted to continue, but Fransen, dressed in a black suit, spoke over him and said: "This is a very sad day for British justice. Everything I did was for the children of this country and they are worth it."
This caused cheers and applause to erupt from the public gallery as the pair were led away. As supporters left the court room, they hurled abuse at court staff and members of the press, branding the proceedings a "shambles". and shouting: “Left-wing twats, scumbags, no surrender” and adding: “If we say anything these days we get sent to prison.”
During the trial, the court was told Fransen went to the Kent home of one of the defendants, Tamin Rahmani, and shouted racist abuse through the front door. On a video played in court, Fransen could be seen banging on the door and shouting: "Come out and face me you disgusting rapist, come on." Fransen denied using the phrase "Muslim b*****ds", or saying that all Muslims are rapists.
Restraining orders were granted to stop the pair contacting victims and witnesses in the case. Fransen was ordered to pay £2,000 in compensation to those affected and Golding was told to pay £500.
Which is more than some of the girls abused by the rape gangs have received, due to their abuse having contributed to their own later anti-social behaviour.