Britain First deputy leader re-arrested after court date on 'hate' charges

The deputy leader of the far-right Britain First group has been re-arrested in Belfast.

It came minutes after Jayda Fransen, 31, appeared in court in the city accused of behaviour intended or likely to stir up hatred.

Detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) also detained the leader of the group, Paul Golding, who was there supporting his colleague.

The PSNI said: "Detectives investigating an incident at a peace wall in Belfast on Wednesday 14 December have arrested a 31-year-old woman in the Belfast area today."

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

Jayda Fransen's supporters outside court in Belfast (Mark Marlow/PA)
Jayda Fransen's supporters outside court in Belfast (Mark Marlow/PA)

Fransen posted a tweet showing her at a wall used to divide Catholic residents from Protestants in the city to prevent violence. During the video post she criticised Islam.

She was in the city with Golding, 35, to answer charges arising from her speech at a Northern Ireland Against Terrorism rally in August.

Golding was detained by detectives investigating the same demonstration.

US President Donald Trump retweeted three unrelated anti-Muslim videos posted by Fransen.

Two featured violent scenes, including someone being pushed off a roof and another person being assaulted.

The group has since boasted it received hundreds of new membership applications and said its Facebook posts were reaching hundreds of thousands more users.

Fransen, from Anerley in south-east London, was charged at Belfast Magistrates' Court with using words which were threatening, abusive or insulting during her speech.

Detectives investigating speeches made at the Northern Ireland Against Terrorism Rally on Sunday 6th August this year have arrested a 35 year old man in the Belfast area today. He has been taken to Musgrave PSNI Station for interview.

-- PSNI (@PoliceServiceNI) December 14, 2017

Police had sought curbs on her ability to participate in future rallies in Northern Ireland as well as social media use.

But she went on Twitter within minutes of her release on bail and said it was a "nonsense charge".

"I criticise Islam and now they want to send me to prison for two years."

The court ordered her not to go within 500 metres of any demonstration or parade in Northern Ireland as a condition of her release on bail.

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

Fransen's barrister, Richard McConkey, branded the curbs on her freedom of speech, as a politician, as disproportionate.

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