NEWS

Britain First Loses High Court Injunction Bid From Bedfordshire Police

This could well be the end of the group.

15/08/2016 17:28 | Updated 16 August 2016

Britain First could be facing ruin after losing a High Court battle with Bedfordshire Police.

The force’s successful injunction bid means leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen are barred from entering Luton and any mosque in England and Wales for three years, reports the BBC.

They are also forbidden from directing their activists into the town.

Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen join British First group protest march at Bury Park on June 27, 2015 in Luton.

The ruling extends an interim civil injunction against Golding, and deputy, Jayda Fransen, and forbids them from: 

  • (a) Entering any Mosque or Islamic Cultural Centre or its private grounds within England and Wales without prior written invitation.

    (b) Being within a designated exclusion zone in the Bury Park area save unless that person remains at all times within a railway carriage travelling along the railroad adjoining Luton railway station.

    (c)  Causing, permitting, encouraging or inciting any person to enter or remain in designated exclusion zone in the Bury Park area save unless that person remains at all times within a railway carriage travelling along the railroad adjoining Luton railway station.

    (d) Publishing, broadcasting, distributing or displaying, or causing or encouraging to be published, broadcast, distributed or displayed, any images or films showing any person or event, on a date after the making of this order, within designated exclusion zones in the Bury Park and Town Centre areas.

    (e) Entering a designated exclusion zone in the Town Centre area save in accordance with paragraph 1 (g) below.

    (f) Causing, permitting, encouraging or inciting any person to enter or remain in the designated exclusion zone in the Town Centre area save in accordance with paragraph 1 (g) below.

    (g) The Respondents are permitted to enter a designated area in the Town Centre for the purposes of, and only for the purposes of, attending hearings at Luton Magistrates Court and Luton Crown Court at which they are required to attend as defendants in criminal proceedings. They are also permitted to instruct legal representatives to attend such hearings. The Respondents must give the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police advanced written notice of all such attendances by 5pm on the working day before the relevant hearing.

The result could spell the end of the group, with Golding explaining in a video message last month that it risked being “bled dry with endless court appearances and injunctions that simply make it impossible for Britain First to continue operating”.

He said: “I have some shocking and disgusting news to inform you of today. Britain First has received notification that once again we are being dragged to the High Court by Luton Police. 

“What we are dealing with here is a direct challenge to exist as a political party. Why do I say that? It’s simple. If Luton police can achieve an injunction against a legally registered party then what’s to stop then what’s to stop every other town obtaining similar injunctions”.

Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
Paul Golding, turns his back Sadiq Khan of the Labour Party makes an acceptance speech as the new Mayor of London at City Hall on May 06.

He added: “If we lose this court hearing, as we are dealing with the highest court in the land, the ruling will bind all other courts. Thus, if we lose it becomes ridiculously easy for other police forces to obtain injunctions.

“As this is the High Court in London we simply have to win. If we lose, not only will we face an avalanche of other injunctions being sought but we will probably be liable for the costs of the other side which will run into the tens of thousands of pounds. This is literally all or nothing. 

“If we do not win we are finished and I mean that with all seriousness,” Golding concluded.

Britain First rely on donations for funding their legal costs and a recent event highly publicised by the group only managed to raise £800.

The ruling comes just over a year after authorities failed to gain an almost identical injunction in anticipation of a planned Britain First march last June.

In a statement, Assistant Chief Constable Mike Colbourne told The Huffington Post UK: “Applying for such an order is not a decision we take lightly, however we decided to take action following a number of incidents where these parties came into areas of Luton and caused community tensions.

“Luton is an incredibly diverse and vibrant town and we will not tolerate any individual who seeks to cause disharmony or provoke tensions within our communities.

“I would like to be clear that we would never seek to ban demonstrations or peaceful protest, however we have a duty to protect our communities and will always act in their best interests.”

Britain First has staged a number of marches in Luton which it calls an “Islamist hotspot”.

In January, Golding and his deputy, Jayda Fransen, led a small contingent of activists through Luton handing out newspapers and confronting local Muslims in what anti-extremist charity Tell Mama said was an “intimidating” fashion aimed at “inflaming” tensions.

Golding was later arrested, charged and fined £450 for “wearing a uniform with political objectives” under the Public Order Act 1936, a law originally enacted to tackle Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists, also known as the ‘Blackshirts’.

Fransen, 30, was also arrested and charged with religiously aggravated harassment over the incident, a separate case that is still ongoing. 

More to follow...

Suggest a correction
137 Comments

CONVERSATIONS