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Dublin: 7°C Thursday 25 February 2021

Britain First leader and deputy leader jailed for religiously aggravated harassment

The group’s tweets had been retweeted by Donald Trump.

Britain First leaders Paul Golding and deputy leader Jayda Fransen and entourage arriving at Folkestone Magistrate Court.
Britain First leaders Paul Golding and deputy leader Jayda Fransen and entourage arriving at Folkestone Magistrate Court.
Image: Andrew Aitchison

THE LEADER AND deputy leader of Britain First, the right-wing group retweeted by US President Donald Trump, have both been jailed for religiously-aggravated harassment.

Jayda Fransen, 31, filmed and posted online videos of people who she wrongly believed were defendants in a rape trial at Canterbury Crown Court in May last year, in a case that led to the conviction of three Muslim men and a teenager. She was jailed for 36 weeks.

Britain First leader Paul Golding, 36, was also found guilty and jailed for 18 weeks.

The court heard how Golding, 36, and Fransen, 31, confronted people they believed were defendants in the case. However, in each case, they instead targeted innocent members of the public.

They filmed the abuse and then released it on social media and through the Britain First website. They also posted offensive leaflets through the letter boxes of houses in the area where the rape trial defendants lived.

Jaswant Narwal from the Crown Prosecution Service, said:

“The prosecution case demonstrated these defendants were not merely exercising their right to free speech but were instead aiming religiously aggravated abuse at innocent members of the public. The victims suffered the distress of the abuse followed by additional stress when the footage was uploaded to the internet.

“This offending also related to an ongoing criminal trial and the actions taken by Fransen and Golding could easily have derailed the justice process.”

Trump’s sharing in November of three inflammatory anti-Muslim videos posted by Britain First, unrelated to the videos in the Folkestone trial, sparked a diplomatic spat with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

The retweeting of the controversial videos led to renewed calls for Trump’s planned state visit to the UK to be cancelled.

He later made a rare apology, saying he did not know the group’s background before retweeting.

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