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Solicitor is cleared of unlawful parade role

An apprentice solicitor has been cleared of taking part in an unlawful parade linked to a television appearance by BNP 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 yesterday by Belfast magistrates.

Ms Muldoon (40) welcomed the decision but expressed disappointment at the PPS'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, joined trade unionists, children, pensioners and ethnic minority representatives at the anti-BNP protest against the BBC's decision to have Mr Griffin on the Question Time programme.

Ms Muldoon gave evidence that during the protest, notified to police in advance, officers on the ground told organisers they should proceed to City Hall and disperse from there.

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Her defence argued 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.

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