Britain First's deputy leader stands trial for religious harassment after 'Christian Patrol'

Paul Wright
jayda fransen

The deputy leader of controversial political organisation Britain First is due to stand trial for religiously aggravated harassment after helping lead a so-called "Christian patrol" through the streets of Luton.

Jayda Fransen, 30, was accompanied by about a dozen of her party's activists as the group marched through Bury Park, home to a sizeable Muslim community, while carrying Christian crosses and handing out anti-Islam literature.

The self-styled "patrol" in January saw some of the group involved in a stand-off with angry residents and business owners.

Bedfordshire Police did not say which particular incident led to Fransen being taken to court, with the charge simply alleging she "used threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress".

She faces further charges of failing to surrender as part of her bail conditions, and of wearing a political uniform – an obscure offence under the Public Order Act 1936, originally passed to curb the activities of Sir Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists, or 'Blackshirts'.

Fransen, who denies all charges, will appear at Luton Magistrates' Court on Wednesday (2 November) for the beginning of a two-day trial.

If convicted, she could be handed a fine or a prison sentence of up to six months.

A separate case in July saw Britain First's leader, Paul Golding, fined £450 in the same court after he pleaded guilty to wearing a political uniform.

The conviction related to the same "Christian patrol" through Bury Park, during which prosecutors said Golding had worn a Britain First-branded fleece that had been perceived by bystanders as "intimidating".

Related Articles