Apprentice solicitor cleared of taking part in protest linked to BNP leader TV appearance
An apprentice solicitor was cleared today of taking part in an unlawful parade linked to a television appearance by British National Party leader Nick Griffin.
Barbara Muldoon, a member of the Anti-Racism Network, had been charged after helping to organise a protest outside the BBC's Belfast headquarters in October 2009.
But the allegation of participating in an un-notified public procession was dismissed today at the city's Magistrates' Court.
Ms Muldoon (40) welcomed the decision but expressed disappointment at the Public Prosecution Service's decision to bring the case.
She also said it was a vindication of the right to peaceful protest and assembly under human rights legislation.
The trainee lawyer, who specialises in immigration law, had joined trade unionists, school children, pensioners and ethnic minority representatives at the anti-BNP protest.
They were there to demonstrate against the BBC's decision to invite Mr Griffin onto the Question Time programme.
Ms Muldoon gave evidence that during the protest, which was notified to police in advance, officers on the ground told organisers they should proceed to City Hall and disperse from there.
Her defence aragued that the alleged unlawful parade resulted from those police directions.
Following a two-day hearing Deputy District Judge Brian Archer dismissed the charge and acquitted Ms Muldoon.