Far-right leader cleared of race hate
THE leader of the far-right British National Party walked free from court overnight after being cleared on race hate charges in a re-trial. Nick Griffin, who was acquitted of using words or behaviour intended or likely to stir up racial hatred, emerged from the courthouse making the victory sign as supporters greeted him waving flags, wielding bottles of champagne and chanting "Freedom".
Mark Collett, 26, the BNP's head of publicity, was also cleared on similar charges. Mr Griffin, 47, and Mr Collett had been acquitted in February of inciting racial hatred in a trial brought after an undercover BBC television reporter infiltrated party meetings and recorded speeches. However, the jury was split on the remaining charges, leading to their retrial in this northern English city.
Mr Griffin told his supporters that the case showed that the government and the BBC "cannot take our hearts, they cannot take our cause and they cannot take our freedom".
He said there was an "enormous gulf" between ordinary British people and the political establishment and the "multi-cultural fantasy world" they lived in. "This party is now an icon of resistance to the forcibly imposed multi-cultural experiment which has failed."
He said that West Yorkshire Police should have spent their time and money hunting down Islamist extremists rather than prosecuting him and Mr Collett. Had they done so, he said, they might have stopped the July 7, 2005 London suicide bombings, perpetrated by four British Islamists, three of whom were from west Yorkshire. Mr Collett said: "This is BNP 2, BBC 0.
"I would not have minded going to jail, for telling the truth is no shame whatsoever."
The Cambridge-educated Mr Griffin was charged with Mr Collett after speeches they made were broadcast in a 2004 BBC documentary entitled The Secret Agent.
Mr Griffin was recorded calling Islam a "wicked, vicious faith" and saying Muslims were turning Britain into a "multi-racial hell hole".
The BNP is a fringe party with no members of parliament but has seen its popularity rise - which they attribute recently in part to the court case publicity.
The party now has more than 40 council seats and made a minor breakthrough in becoming the second-biggest group on Barking and Dagenham Council in east London in an election earlier this year.