Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool man Rimmer accused of 'stirring up hatred' at Belfast Britain First rally to plead not guilty

By Alan Erwin

An Englishman accused of inciting hatred at a rally in Belfast is to plead not guilty, a court has heard.

Paul Rimmer's lawyer confirmed he will be fighting charges connected to a speech he gave at an event also attended by the leaders of far-right group Britain First.

Rimmer, 55, of Modred Street in Liverpool, faces two counts of using threatening, abusive or insulting words during last summer's demonstration.

He allegedly intended to stir up hatred or arouse fear by his comments, according to the police and prosecution case.

Appearing for the first time at Belfast Magistrates' Court, Rimmer spoke only to confirm that he understood the charges, nodding his head and replying: "Yes."

Defence solicitor Darren Duncan disclosed that his client is to enter not guilty pleas to both alleged offences.

The charges relate to speeches made at a 'Northern Ireland Against Terrorism' rally at City Hall on August 6.

Demonstrators had gathered on the same day as a republican march organised to mark the use of internment without trial by the British Army at the height of the Troubles in 1971.

Similar charges have also been brought against Britain First leader Paul Golding, 35, and his 31-year-old deputy Jayda Fransen.

They are set to stand trial together in April.

Rimmer was arrested in Liverpool last month and brought to Northern Ireland by PSNI officers investigating the incident.

A detective involved in the case told the court she could connect him to both alleged offences.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall heard three witness statements have been obtained.

They are to be supplied to the defence, along with video recordings from the rally, within the next two weeks.

Mr Duncan submitted: "Actual footage of the speech was available and played during the course of interviews.

"Can I ask if that could be forwarded or disclosed to ourselves."

Rimmer was released on continuing bail to return to court on January 31.

A date for his contested hearing is expected to be set at that stage.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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