BNP LEADER CLEARED OF RACE HATE CHARGES
Date: 10 Nov 2006
YOU ARE HERE: AOL Home > News > BNP leader cleared of race hate charges
BNP leader cleared of race hate charges
BNP leaders: Mark Collett and Nick Griffin have been cleared of stirring up racial hatred
- Search: Nick Griffin and Mark Collett
BNP leader Nick Griffin has been cleared of race hate charges.
The 47-year-old Cambridge graduate was found not guilty at Leeds Crown Court of using words or behaviour intended to stir up racial hatred during a speech he made in Keighley, West Yorkshire, in 2004 which was filmed by an undercover BBC reporter.
Griffin, of Llanerfyl, Powys, Wales, denied one count of using words or behaviour intended to stir up racial hatred and an alternative count of using words or behaviour likely to stir up racial hatred.
The BNP's head of publicity Mark Collett, 26, of Rothley, Leicestershire, was also cleared of similar charges.
He denied two charges of using words or behaviour intended to stir up racial hatred and two alternative counts of using words or behaviour likely to stir up racial hatred. These charges also relate to speeches he made in Keighley.
They were both cleared a day after the jury retired to consider its verdicts.
Griffin smiled and nodded as the foreman of the jury of seven women and five men read out the not guilty verdict.
In the public gallery, which was packed with his supporters, his wife Jackie burst into tears, as did some of his daughters, while there were cheers from BNP supporters.
The jury took about five hours to come to its verdicts.
Griffin and Collett emerged from court holding their hands above their heads to the cheers of around 200 supporters who were gathered behind crash barriers and surrounded by dozens of police.
As a small but loud group of anti-racist protesters shouted at him from 20 yards away, the BNP leader thanked his supporters and criticised both the Government and the BBC for their roles in his prosecution.
Mr Collett said: "The BBC have abused their position. They are a politically correct, politically biased organisation which has wasted taxpayers' money to bring two people in a legal democratic peaceful political party to court over speaking nothing more than the truth.''
Mr Griffin said the decision by "12 ordinary, decent commonsense men and women'' to find the pair not guilty on all charges showed the "huge gulf between us, the ordinary people and our masters'', the Crown Prosecution Service, the BBC and the Attorney General.
"They believed they could get a jury to convict over what we say in private meetings but the jury said no.''
He accused the authorities of wasting almost a million pounds in an attempt to convict them for "telling the truth''.
10 NOV 2006.