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Grooming Case: Nick Griffin Tweet 'Nearly Caused Rochdale Trial To Collapse'

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Nick Griffin almost caused a grooming trial to collapse
Nick Griffin almost caused a grooming trial to collapse

A tweet from BNP leader Nick Griffin almost caused the trial of a group of men accused of belonging to a child sex ring to collapse when it led to allegations of the jury having a "far-right bias".

Last Thursday afternoon - two-and-a-half days after the jury retired to consider its verdicts - Griffin posted a comment on his @nickgriffinmep account which read: "News flash. Seven of the Muslim paedophile rapists found guilty in Liverpool."


Nick Griffin MEP
News flash. Seven of the Muslim paedophile rapists found guilty in Liverpool.

Griffin later backtracked on Twitter when he was told that the jury had not yet officially returned any verdicts.

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But the tweet led to eight defence counsel calling on Judge Gerald Clifton to discharge the jury before it delivered verdicts after investigations revealed Griffin's comment to be a "100% accurate" reflection of its deliberations so far.

The defence counsel who supported the discharge of the jury said there must have been "two-way communication" between someone in the jury room and a far-right organisation.

Simon Nichol, defending the 59-year-old who cannot be named, said: "From the outset of this trial there have been attempts by right-wing organisations to influence the outcome."

He said "right-wing commentators" had published on the internet reports that the jury had reached guilty verdicts in respect of seven of the 11 defendants.

"Your honour's inquiries of the jury confirmed the accuracy of those reports on the internet."

He said that the proposal that the information could have been "obtained by guesswork is so implausible" that it "can be discounted as fanciful".

Mr Nichol said: "The most reasonable inference from the facts as we know them is that the confidentiality of the jury's deliberations has been breached and that someone outside of the jury who has an improper interest in the outcome of this trial has been receiving communications from within the jury room.

"It seems at the very least likely that if such communication has taken place then it will have been two-way traffic."

Mr Nichol added: "If there has been such improper communication then the impartiality and independence of the jury is compromised."

But inquiries carried out by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service showed that the message, which the court heard was first published on the Infidels of Britain website, was published at a time when the jury was in its jury room where all electronic equipment is banned.

Judge Clifton said that "having heard that the jury deny any improper behaviour" he was "satisfied that no juror is at fault in communicating the jury's position, either deliberately or accidentally to anyone else".

"That means that the question of bias doesn't arise at all," he said.

"I have found no evidence to suggest a juror is at fault."

"The jury have been strictly confined in their jury room during most of the period that some of these tweets manifested themselves."

Judge Clifton said the jury had been regularly passing notes and asking questions in relation to specific evidence and had been taking a "perfectly reasonable, logical and unbiased approach to the evidence".

He added that the suggestion by counsel that he should be forced to dismiss the jury was "both unreasonable and illogical".

He said "there are other scenarios that can explain the tweets" and the jury was allowed to continue with its work.

Then, on hearing that the jury was about to return some unanimous verdicts, the 59-year-old stood up and shouted at the judge: "I don't want this biased jury. You are a biased judge. You are a racist bastard. You bastard!"

He was restrained by security staff and forcibly removed from the dock.

Adil Khan also stood up and said: "I don't want to attend for BNP jury," and he also left the dock.

On Friday afternoon the 59-year-old was allowed back into court only to be restrained again after a complaint was made about him by a jury member.

He shouted: "They are all racist bastards!"

Judge Clifton ordered him to be taken down and he shouted again: "You racist judge. You racist jury. You lying bastards!"
One female juror was visibly upset by the outburst and Judge Clifton barred the defendant from coming back into court for the rest of the trial.
He said: "I'm not having members of this jury intimidated or threatened."

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