ExtremismLeader of British Far-Right Group Convicted under Terrorism Law

Published 22 May 2020

Paul Golding, 38, the leader of the British far-right political group Britain First, has been found guilty of an offense under the Terrorism Act after refusing to give police access to his mobile phone on his return from a political trip to Russia.

Paul Golding, 38, the leader of the British far-right political group Britain First, has been found guilty of an offense under the Terrorism Act after refusing to give police access to his mobile phone on his return from a political trip to Russia.

The Daily Mail reports that Golding was stopped at Heathrow by Metropolitan police officers on 23 October 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 willfully refusing to comply with a duty under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act.

Golding denied the charge, but Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot found him guilty following a trial at Westminster magistrates court in London on Wednesday.

Arbuthnot ruled there was “no doubt” that Golding had failed to comply with requests for information, despite his obligations being explained to him and despite 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.

Giving evidence earlier, 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 in order to make a determination of whether they are or have been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.”

The officer explained that Schedule 7 also permitted police to interrogate, search, and detain anyone for up to six hours at U.K. ports.

He said he had cause to examine Golding under the legislation and recalled him being initially “agitated” and “clearly angry” at being stopped, shouting and cursing at officers.

Golding, of Hodder Bank, Stockport, spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth, address and nationality.

Tommy Robinson — whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon — the founder of another far-right group, the English Defense League, watched the proceedings in the court’s public gallery, where attendants were socially distant.

Golding described Britain First as a “patriotic, right-wing, conservative” group which considered themselves “loyalist.”

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