Britain First leader Paul Golding arrested over Belfast speeches

Saul Bowman
December 16, 2017

The deputy leader of far-right, UK-based group Britain First has been released on bail after appearing in court accused of threatening behaviour.

Britain First's Jayda Fransen was re-arrested just hours after she appeared in a magistrate's court in Belfast on Thursday on charges of using hate speech at a rally in Northern Ireland in August.

Fransen gained global notoriety after her anti-Muslim video clips were retweeted by U.S. President Donald Trump last month, a move criticized by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May.

Ms Fransen, who gained worldwide notoriety after her Islamophobic tweets were shared by Donald Trump, claimed Mr Goulding was arrested on "trumped-up charges". "This is turning into an absolute police state and it needs to stop".

She has been taken to a Belfast city centre police station for interview.

Around a dozen people in the public gallery watched her appearance, which was adjourned until later on Thursday to hear a bail application.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) confirmed a 35-year-old man had been arrested at Laganside courts but did not say what offence he was suspected of committing.

He said she had stood for election and was a politician.

He was detained by PSNI detectives investigating the same anti-terrorism rally in Belfast last summer.

She added: "We were concerned that there would be further offences".

She will go on trial at Folkestone Magistrates' Court on January 29 alongside Golding, who faces three similar charges.

"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".

District Judge Fiona Bagnall expressed doubts about whether her jurisdiction extended to Ms Fransen's social media use.

Jayda Fransen, 31, of Beeches Close, Anerly in London, faces two charges relating to behaviour that is meant to or likely to stir up hatred.

The court was told most of the evidence involved video footage.

Her first Belfast case is expected to be mentioned again in the city on January 9.

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