Britain First’s Jayda Fransen And Paul Golding Arrested In Belfast

Both detained outside court.

The deputy leader of the far-right group Britain First has been re-arrested in Belfast.

It came minutes after Jayda Fransen, 31, appeared in court in the city accused of behaviour intended or likely to stir up hatred. Her lawyer told the court she intended to plead not guilty.

Detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) also detained the leader of the group, Paul Golding, who was there accompanying his colleague ahead of the hearing.

Jayda Fransen arriving at Belfast Laganside Courts on Thursday morning
Jayda Fransen arriving at Belfast Laganside Courts on Thursday morning
Charles McQuillan via Getty Images

Golding, 35, was detained by officers investigating the pair’s speeches at the same “Northern Ireland Against Terrorism” rally in August.

Fransen, from Anerley in south-east London, has been charged with using words which were threatening, abusive or insulting during her speech in Belfast in the summer.

Police had sought curbs on her ability to participate in future rallies in Northern Ireland as well as social media use.

But she went on Twitter within minutes of her release on bail and said it was a “nonsense charge”.

“I criticise Islam and now they want to send me to prison for two years.”

The court ordered her not to go within 500 metres of any demonstration or parade in Northern Ireland as a condition of her release on bail.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall expressed doubts about whether her jurisdiction extended to the accused’s social media use.

Fransen’s barrister, Richard McConkey, branded the curbs on her freedom of speech, as a politician, as disproportionate.

It is believed Fransen was re-arrested by police investigating an incident at a peace wall in Belfast on Wednesday. Fransen posted a tweet showing her at a wall used to divide Catholic residents from Protestants in the city to prevent violence. During the video post she criticised Islam.

Paul Golding (left) and Jayda Fransen (right) arriving at court on Thursday morning
Paul Golding (left) and Jayda Fransen (right) arriving at court on Thursday morning
PA Wire/PA Images

Fransen was arrested by PSNI detectives in London last month.

Around a dozen people in the public gallery watched her appearance. A detective constable told the court she could connect the accused to the charges.

The court also heard from a lawyer: “The bulk of the evidence is presumably by way of video footage. There do seem to be transcripts of this speech which the Crown will say constitutes the offences.”

The officer said she was seeking conditions on the accused’s bail because of a planned rally on December 10 which was postponed.

“We were concerned that there would be further offences,” she added.

She said the rally had been suspended but added that police wanted to prevent her participation in a public rally.

Fransen’s lawyer said: “This lady is as entitled to free expression within the law as anyone else. If there is an offence she will be arrested like everyone else.”

He said she had stood for election and was a politician. “The idea that she be prevented from speaking in my respectful submission is completely disproportionate.”

The officer said police were seeking a further condition regarding the defendant’s use of social media and the likelihood of reoffending.

Fransen is due to return to court on 9 January.

US President Donald Trump retweeted three unrelated anti-Muslim videos posted by Fransen.

Two featured violent scenes, including someone being pushed off a roof and another person being assaulted.

The group has since boasted it received hundreds of new membership applications and said its Facebook posts were reaching hundreds of thousands more users.


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