Britain First deputy leader in NI court on hate speech charges

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The deputy leader of far-right group Britain First has appeared in a Belfast court over a speech she gave in the city.

Golding, 35, was detained shortly after arriving at Belfast magistrates' court where he was accompanying his deputy, Fransen, 31, to her first appearance over behaviour during a rally in Belfast that allegedly meant to, or was likely to, stir up hatred.

"A 35 year old man arrested by police today, Thurs, 14 Dec, has been charged with using threatening, abusive, insulting words or behaviour".

Minutes after her appearance at the court in the city on Thursday, Fransen was re-arrested for questioning about a suspected offence in the city earlier this week.

The police confirmed that they had arrested a 35-year-old man as part of their investigation into the "Northern Ireland Against Terrorism" rally in August.

It relates to a video in which she criticised Islam while standing at a wall used to divide Catholics and Protestants during the Troubles.

From being a small marginal figure of the British far-right, Fransen has a new claim to fame since three of her anti-Muslim videos were retweeted by U.S President Donald Trump.

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She raised her fist skyward in the dock after she was granted bail at Belfast Magistrates' Court, while around a dozen supporters clapped and cheered in the public gallery.

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.

An attempt by police to restrict Fransen's use of social media - Twitter and Facebook - was rejected by the judge yesterday.

The PSNI officer said she was seeking conditions on the accused's bail because of a planned rally on December 10 - Free Speech For Jayda - in Belfast, which was postponed due to snow.

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

Her lawyer, Richard McConkey, said the curbs on her freedom of speech would be disproportionate for a politician.

"We were concerned that there would be further offences".

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