Britain First leader Paul Golding denies terror charge

By Jess Glass, PA
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Britain First leader Paul Golding denies terror charge

The leader of far-right political group Britain First has denied a terror offence after refusing to give police access to his phone.

Paul Golding, 38, was charged under the Terrorism Act after he refused to give police the passcodes for a number of his electronic devices while entering the country last October.

He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, accompanied by 26 of his supporters, and denied a charge of willingly refusing to comply with a duty under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act.

The court heard Golding was stopped at Heathrow Terminal 4 on October 23 last year when he refused to give the passcodes.

Britain First leader Paul Golding (centre) is flanked by supporters (Victoria Jones/PA)

Golding, of Hodder Bank, Stockport, was in the dock wearing a grey suit and red tie and waved as his supporters entered the public gallery.

As he entered his not guilty plea, he told the court: “I am a politician not a terrorist, I think this is a politically-motivated charge.”

Two uniformed police officers were in the court during the short hearing.

He will appear for trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on May 20.

The trial is expected to last half a day and will feature live evidence from two police officers involved in the stop.

Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act allows police to interrogate, search and detain anyone for up to six hours at UK ports.

It is designed to determine whether an individual is involved in the “commission, preparation or instigation” of acts of terrorism.

Golding said the prosecution was politically motivated while giving his not guilty plea (Victoria Jones/PA Wire.

Speaking outside court, Golding told the PA news agency: “This is the first time that laws and powers designed to stop terrorists have been used in a politically motivated fashion against a political activist.

“There’s a lot going to be revealed when we get our hands on the audio that I was under no suspicion of anything to do with terrorism whatsoever.

“They simply laid a trap for me to try and prosecute me like they’ve done. This is pure politically motivated harassment of a politician.”

Britain First was deregistered as a political party in November 2017.