Britain First leader Paul Golding found guilty of terror offence

Britain First leader Paul Golding found guilty of terror offence
Paul Golding was charged at Heathrow in October, after refusing to give police access to his iPhone and Apple computer following a trip to Russia.
3 min read
21 May, 2020
Paul Golding spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth, address, and nationality [Getty]
The leader of a prominent far-right British group was on Wednesday found guilty of a terror offence after refusing to give police access to his electronic devices on his return from a political trip to Russia, Press Association have reported.

Metropolitan police stopped 38-year-old Paul Golding at Heathrow Airport upon arrival from Moscow in late October last year.

Having refused to disclose the pin codes to his iPhone and Apple computer, authorities charged Golding with "wilfully refusing to comply with a duty under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act".

On Wednesday, Westminster magistrates court in London found him guilty following a trial.

Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot ruled there was "no doubt" Golding had failed to comply with requests for information. His obligations were explained to him and he was given numerous warnings that he would risk arrest if he failed to comply.

Arbuthnot handed Golding a nine-month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £750 in costs and a £21 surcharge. She also ruled he had been lawfully questioned.

Speaking only to confirm his name, date of birth, address, and nationality, the Britain First leader was joined by fellow far-right activist and founder of the English Defence League Tommy Robinson, who sat in the court’s socially distanced public gallery, PA report.

Giving evidence earlier, a border officer who questioned Golding explained that the Schedule 7 of the terrorism act allowed 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".

Under the powers contained within the schedule, police can interrogate, search, and detain anyone for up to six hours at UK ports, the officer added.

He also said that he had cause to examine Golding under the legislation, PA report, recalling him displaying agitation and anger at being stopped, as well as shouting at officers.

Prosecutor Samuel Main said Golding’s questioning lasted three hours, according to the Daily Mail, and surrounded his activities in Russia after flying out with two others in October.

Over the course of three-day trip, Golding gave interviews to the Russian media, met members of the of Liberal Democratic Party – whose ideology has been described as ultranationalist – and visited the Russian parliament, Mr Main said.

A Britain First press release called Russia a "patriotic, nationalist country that promotes all the traditionalist, Christian and Western values" and said the trip aimed to further relations with members of the Russian parliament, The Independent report.

The far-right group was deregistered as a political party in 2017.

Agencies contributed to this report.

Read also: Facebook bans Britain First for inciting hatred against Muslims

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