Britain First boss Paul Golding to fight hate crime charges in Ballymena
Britain First leader Paul Golding will contest two hate crime charges at Ballymena Magistrates' Court in May, it has emerged.
The 37-year-old, with an address in Dartford, Kent, was accompanied to court yesterday by around half a dozen supporters, some of whom were wearing jackets bearing the Britain First insignia and 'BFD' on the back.
As his backers took their seats in the public gallery, District Judge Nigel Broderick called for "some quiet, please".
Golding is accused of distributing written material in Ballymena on October 20 last year which was abusive or insulting and likely to stir up hatred and of possessing similar material four days later.
The defendant first appeared in court in Ballymena in mid-November last year.
Yesterday's hearing was told his contest would hear from four prosecution witnesses and two defence witnesses.
The charges followed his arrest on October 24 last year in connection with alleged incidents in the Ballymena area on October 20 and 24.
He had been visiting Ballymena in relation to the far-right group, which has held rallies in the Co Antrim town.
Golding spoke at the first rally in the area, but police bail conditions prevented him from attending a second.
After appearing in court in November, the defendant was released on £500 bail and with conditions barring him from being within 500 metres of any parade, protest or public demonstration in Northern Ireland, and from entering Ballymena, apart from to attend court.
Golding was also banned from possessing any material which could stir up hatred and from distributing leaflets.
He was bailed to an address in Belfast and had to report to police once a week.
Golding was initially banned from travelling to England without first notifying police, but his conditions were later varied to allow him to return home.