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

Paul Golding was arrested in Ballymena last month and faces four charges relating to written materials
Paul Golding was arrested in Ballymena last month and faces four charges relating to written materials

Britain First leader Paul Golding has appeared in court in Co Antrim 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 October 24 in connection with alleged incidents in 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 has 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.

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 and two further charges of distributing written material intending to stir up hatred in the Moat Road area of Ballymena.

He was also released on bail.