Britain First leader convicted of terror offence

19th Jun 2020
Britain First leader convicted of terror offence

Paul Golding at a Britain First rally on November 15, 2014 (Credit: Elizabeth Ellis/Flickr)

Nadine Osman

The leader of a far-right anti-Muslim political group has been convicted of a terror offence after refusing to give police access to his mobile phone on his return from a political trip to Russia.

Britain First leader Paul Golding was stopped at Heathrow by Metropolitan police officers on October 23 last year on his way back from Moscow. He refused to give the pin codes for an iPhone and Apple computer and was later charged with wilfully refusing to comply with a duty under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act.

The 38-year-old denied the charge but was found guilty following a trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on May 20.

Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot ruled there was “no doubt” that Golding had failed to comply with requests for information, despite his obligations being explained to him and being warned “over and over” that he risked arrest.

She handed Golding a conditional discharge for nine months and ordered him to pay a £21 surcharge and £750 in costs.

Arbuthnot said Golding had been lawfully questioned and that under Schedule 7 there had been no requirement for “reasonable suspicion” for the stop.

PC Rory O’Connor, a borders officer with the Met who questioned Golding, told the court that Schedule 7 enables accredited officers to “speak to people to determine whether they are or have been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.”
The officer explained that it also permitted police to interrogate, search and detain anyone for up to six hours at UK ports.

He said he had cause to examine Golding under the legislation and recalled him being initially “agitated” and “clearly angry” at being stopped, with him shouting at officers.
Britain First was deregistered as a political party in November 2017 and Golding was jailed for religiously aggravated harassment in 2018 after targeting Muslims he incorrectly believed were involved in an ongoing rape trial.

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