NOT guilty pleas have been entered by a defence lawyer on behalf of Paul Golding in relation to two ‘hate’ charges the Britain First leader faces.
Ballymena Magistrates Court this week heard the 37-year-old with an address in Dartford in Kent will contest the charges.
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’.
The defendant was excused from attending court.
Golding had first appeared at Ballymena Court in mid-November last year.
The charges followed his arrest on Wednesday 24 October, 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 a reference 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.
Golding’s case has now been adjourned to March to fix a date for a contest.
A co-accused of Golding’s – Lee Daniel Brown (29), of Shore Crescent in Belfast – faces one charge.
He is accused of distributing written material in the vicinity of Moat Road in Ballymena on October 20 last year ‘which was threatening, abusive or insulting, intending thereby to stir up hatred or arouse fear or, having regarding to all the circumstances, hatred was likely be stirred up or fear was likely to be aroused thereby.’
A not guilty plea has been entered.
Brown was not present in court. District Judge Nigel Broderick adjourned Brown’s case to next week and said if he is not present an arrest warrant may be issued.
Golding had originally faced four charges and Brown three charges but following a decision by prosecutors they now face two charges and one charge respectively.