Britain First leader Paul Golding appears in court in Ballymena on ‘stirring up hatred’ charges

Britain First leader Paul Golding poses for a picture for one of his supporters at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday.

BRITAIN First leader Paul Golding appeared in court in Ballymena on Thursday to face charges of ‘stirring up hatred’.

He is charged with two counts of ‘possessing written material which was threatening, abusive or insulting, intending to stir up hatred’ and one count of ‘displaying written material which was threatening, abusive or insulting intending to stir up hatred.

A fourth charge accuses him of publishing written material ‘intending to stir up hatred’.

The 36-year-old whose address was given as Shore Crescent in Belfast appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court.

The charges follow his arrest on Wednesday 24 October 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 has held rallies in the town.

Golding spoke at the first rally but his police bail conditions prevented him from attending the second rally.

Britain First came to the town at a time when tensions had increased regarding aspects of foreign migration to Ballymena.

Golding had a number of supporters with him at court and police officers were present in and around the building.

The defendant stood in the dock, first with his hands behind his back and later with his hands clasped in front.

He confirmed his name and listened to the charges.

A police officer said he believed he could connect the accused to the charges.

A prosecution lawyer said a full file has been requested from police and asked for the case to be adjourned for four weeks.

A defence lawyer said because of bail terms police had to be emailed every time the defendant wished to travel to mainland UK.

The police officer said it was “only way we have of keeping track of Mr Golding”.

The defence lawyer said his client also has an address in the London area and resides between both there and Northern Ireland.

District Judge Nigel Broderick released the defendant on £500 bail with conditions which include not being allowed within 500 metres of any parade, protest or public demonstration in Northern Ireland.

He is also barred from Ballymena apart from attending court and is not to be at Dunsilly car park near Antrim between 5-10pm on Saturdays.

That is believed to be a reference to a bus service from Romania which had a drop off point there.

Golding is not to be in possession of any material which could stir up hatred and is not to distribute any such leaflets.

He was bailed to the address at Shore Crescent and has to report to police once a week and he is allowed to travel to England if he contacts police in advance.

The case was adjourned until December.

Afterwards, Golding posed for photos with supporters.

A co-accused, with a different address at Shore Crescent in Belfast, was also in court.

Lee Daniel Brown (28), is charged with displaying written material intending to stir up hatred; distributing written material intending to stir up hatred in the Moat Road area of Ballymena and possessing similar matter.

He was also released on bail.

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