RACE RAP Britain First deptuy leader Jayda Fransen jailed for nine months after racially abusing Muslim men.

The far-right group’s leader Paul Golding, 36, was handed 18 weeks at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court, while Fransen, 31, was caged for nine months

PAUL Golding and Jayda Fransen, the leader and deputy leader of far-right group Britain First, have been jailed for racially abusing Muslim men in Kent last year.

Golding, 36, was handed 18 weeks at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court for three counts of religiously aggravated harassment while Fransen, 31, was caged for nine months after being found guilty of four.

Paul Golding (second right) and Jayda Fransen (centre), leader and deputy leader of far-right group Britain First and supporters upon arrivial at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court where they are expected to receive verdicts in their trial for alleged hate crimes

They were arrested in May last year over the alleged distribution of leaflets and posting of online videos during a trial at Canterbury Crown Court, where three Muslim men and a teenager were convicted of rape and jailed.

Fransen allegedly went to the Kent home of one of the defendants, Tamin Rahmani, and shouted racist abuse through the front door.

His pregnant partner Kelli Best said she was alone with their two children, aged three years and 18 months, at the time of the incident on May 9 last year.

On a video played in court, Fransen could be seen banging on the door and shouting: “Come out and face me you disgusting rapist, come on.”

Far right activist Paul Golding protesting outside Regent’s Park Mosque

Fransen denied using the phrase “Muslim bastards”, or saying that all Muslims are rapists.

Golding said he was only acting as Fransen’s cameraman, and that it was her campaign.

Judge Justin Barron said their words and actions “demonstrated hostility” towards Muslims and the Muslim faith.

The judge said: “I have no doubt it was their joint intention to use the facts of the case (in Canterbury) for their own political ends.

“It was a campaign to draw attention to the race, religion and immigrant background of the defendants.”

Deputy leader of Britain First Jayda Fransen

Britain First is a far-right and British nationalist political party formed in 2011 by anti-abortion campaigner Jim Dowson and Paul Golding.

The group opposes mass immigration but says it is not racist but a loyalist movement.

Its Facebook page has 1.9million “likes”, but their social media posts, including praising a terrorist mosque attack in Finsbury Park, London, have attracted widespread criticism.

The group’s Twitter account is withheld in Germany.

With many thanks to: The Sun for the origional story.

Man who refused bail over tag allowed home for Christmas

A DERRY man who turned down bail because it meant he would be electronically tagged has been granted compassionate bail for Christmas – without a tag.

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Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland told 44-year-old Anthony Michael Taylor, who is accused of having a rifle linked to dissident republicans, would not have to wear the tag because he would only be on bail from Christmas Eve until St Stephen‘s Day. However, the Crown Court judge said all other condititions of his origional full bail would remain. They include the lodgement of £50,000 to the court; that he resides at Farmhill, Derry; reports daily to the police and observes an 8pm curfew each evening. Taylor, a member of Repulican Netwok for Unity (RNU), is accused possessing a semi-automatic rifle with intent to endanger life and under suspicious circumstances on August 2, 2011. It was alleged at an earlier hearing that he could be linked to the car in which the rifle was later found. A prosecution lawyer said that Taylor had been granted full bail but had failed to perfect it because it would involve wearing the tag, which was “a real issue for the accused…. a matter of principal”. The lawyer added hat given his family circumstances, the prosecution were not unsympathetic to his situation in wanting bail over the holiday period. Eugene Grant QC, defending, said while Taylor did not take his full bail, all he wanted now was the opportunity to spend a few days with his family over Christmas. Mr Grant said one way of dealing with any fear of him absconding over the three days was for the police to call on him, if necessary.

With many thanks to: The Irish News.

Masked flag-bearer appeals conviction

‘This classically is a case which calls for an answer from the person who knows whether he was on that march or not – Sir Declan Morgan.

A DERRY man given a suspended jail sentence for being the masked flag bearer in a republican parade was never properly identified, the Court of Appeal has heard. Lawyers for Patrick John McDaid argued that experts in facial mapping and image comparison techniques were not certain he had been the man pictured in a balaclava.

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As well as the photographs and facial mapping evidence, the judge in the non-jury trail in Belfast Crown Court heard how police later seized a document which purported to be minutes of a meeting to organise the march. It included the reference: ‘Colour party – McDaid to get people sorted’. But judges in the Court of Appeal were told on Tuesday that nothing more than a surname was found. Kieran Mallon QC, for McDaid, also challenged the strength of the evidence from an expert who noted striking similarities in the lips and eyes of his client and Man X. “It’s our contention there was not established any form of meaningful identification,” he said. “On balance he cannot say the accused and Mr X were one and the same person, primarily because there was no statistical database against which he could test an individual with that type of eye colour or lip shape.” Lord Chief Justice Declan Morgan, sitting with Lords Justice Girvan and Coghlin, drew his attention to two other strands of the prosecution case: McDaids name being on the organising document and his participation in previous events. Mr Mallon accepted there would have been clear suspicions, but contended this fell short of proof. Sir Declan then alluded to McDaid’s failure to give any evidence at trial. “This classically is a case which calls for an answer from the person who knows whether he was on that march or not,” he said. Judgment in the appeal was reserved.

With thanks to: The Irish News

MAN JAILED FOR STORING WEAPONS

A “RRELUCTANT store man” who was caught red handed with a small arsenal of weaponry has been jailed for more than three years.

Some of the weapons found on Thomas John Edwards. He was jailed yesterday for six and a half years, with half spent on licence.

Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland told 49-year-old Thomas John Edwards he accepted he had been under a degree of pressure from others to become a “reluctant store man” for the items. He sentenced him to six and a half years with half spent on licence. Just before his trial was due to start last July EEdwards, from Tullygalley in Craigavon, pleaded guilty to having guns, ammunition and explosives with intent to enable others to endanger life on 10 August 2011. Edwards also admitted possessing a balaclava for terrorist purposes and providing his home, for terrorism. Prosecuting QC Ciaran Murphy told Belfast Crown Court that in an intelligence led operation, police searched Edwards home and uncovered the items at locations in the house.

An AK47 assault rifle along with numerous bullets were found. The grip stock and trigger mechanism for a recoil less improvised grenade launcher was uncovered in a bag in the kitchen cupboard while 5.1 grammes of black arms propellant was hidden inside s pepper pot. Mr Murphy said that wrapped in a yellow in a yellow duster in the same cupboard was an automatic Beretta pistol with a loaded magazine. He added that in total, police found 46 bullets and told the court how small arms propellant was commonly used in pipe bombs while a grenade launcher was first used in an attack in Belfast in May 1991 but “has been encountered on a number of other occasions”. Following the sentencing, PSNI Detective Superintendent Glenn Wright of Serious Crime Branch said: “Mr Edwards is in jail, the weapons are off the streets. This is yet aanother example of the PSNI’s determination to protect the community and bring terrorists to justice.”

With many thanks to : The Irish News.

Man caught with loaded handgun shouted “tiocfaidh ar la”, judge told.

A MAN allegedly caught with a loaded handgun shouted out “tiocfaidh at LA” as police put him in their car, a judge has heard.

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Belfast Crown Court also heard that when officers stopped the Ford Fiesta car being driven by 29-year-old Mark McGuigan close to a forest outside Omagh, he had to be pulled from the car and struggled throughout. Ciaran Murphy QC, prosecuting, told Judge Corinne Philpott QC, sitting without a jury, that having been restrained and put into a protective forensic suit, Mr McGuigan yelled out the republican mantra ‘our day will come’ as officers put him into a waiting police car. Inside the Ford Fiesta, officer uncovered two socks with one containing a loaded revolver and the other 33 assorted bullets. Mr McGuigan, from Sperrin View in OOmagh, denies possecessing the gun and ammunition with intent to endanger life under suspicious circumstances. Mr Murphy told the court the gun had been deactivated in 2003 but had been reactivated to fire live bullets. He added that the firing pin in the revolver was not long enough, although a small adjustment would have been enough to allow the gun to fire. Three other men who were also in the car, including two men who were hiding under a sleeping bag in the folded down rear seats, have already pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentence. The trial continues.

With many thanks to : The Irish News.

IRA membership accused face trial

Judge rules against suggested media ban

SMASH POLITICAL POLICING

THREE men and two women charged with Provisional IRA membership will stand trial at Belfast Crown Court, a judge ruled yesterday.

Veteran republicans Padraic Wilson (54), whose address was given as the Sinn Fein Advice Centre on Falls Road, West BBelfast, and Seamus Finucane (56), of Hawthorn Hill, Hannahstown, were two of the five people charged with offences relating to organising a meeting on behalf of the paramilitary group. In the dock alongside them were Agnes McCrory (73), of Dermot Hill Road, Bridge Wright (56), of Glassmullin Gardens and Martin Morris (49), of Wellbeck Road in London. Morris is accused of belonging to a proscribed organisation, namely the Provisional IRA. The others are accused of Provisional IRA membership and multiple counts of organising a meeting on behalf of or in support of a proscribed organisation.

District Judge George Conner agreed that all five defendants had a case to answer and returned them for trial at Belfast Crown Court on a date to be fixed. It is alleged that all five belonged to the IRA on dates between 1997 and 2000. Originally two days had been set aside for a preliminary investigation to be held to test the strength of the prosecution case. However, following private discussions between the pprosecution and defence in judge’s chambers it was decided to proceed with a shorter hearing. The five, who are expected to plead not guilty, answered “no” when asked whether they had any comment to make. All declined to call witnesses at that stage. They were released on £250 bail to reappear in court when a date is set for the case. A ban on publishing the defendants ‘ identities was lifted in October last year. Following yesterday’s hearing the Court Service initially indicated that the reporting restrictions were being reinstated until the case reaches the crown court. However, the judge later decided against the media ban provided that an alleged victim connected to the case is not iidentified.

With many thanks to : Allison Morris, The Irish News.

BRIEGE MEEHAN GIVEN SUSPENDED PRISON SENTENCE !

Ex-Shame Fein councillor admitted child cruelty.

A DEFIANT Bridge Meehan left court with a suspended jail term yesterday for shocking cruelty to her 10-year-old stepdaughter. The former Shame Fein councillor, who knocked the young child unconscious and forced her to sleep in a wet bed, was allowed to walk free on the basis of her age, guilty pleas and low risk to the public.

ABUSE: Above Left, former Sinn Fein councillor leaves Belfast Crown Court yesterday after she was given a suspended sentente for child cruelty and assault against her stepdaughter Mary. Above left, Martin Meehan. Above right, Kevin Meehan speaks outside Belfast Crown Court yesterday on behalf of his sister Mary.
ABUSE: Above Left, former Sinn Fein councillor leaves Belfast Crown Court yesterday after she was given a suspended sentente for child cruelty and assault against her stepdaughter Mary. Above left, Martin Meehan. Above right, Kevin Meehan speaks outside Belfast Crown Court yesterday on behalf of his sister Mary.

The 66-year-old had admitted a charge of cruelty and two assaults against Mary Meehan more than 30 years ago while her father, North Belfast IRA chief Martin Meehan, was in prison. The former Newtownabbey councillor originally also faced seven charges of sexually abusing her stepdaughter but they were not proceeded with and were “left on the books”. Belfast Crown Court heard that at the time of the offences between July 1979 and October the following year, an eight-month pregnant Meehan had been left to look after the IRA leader’s three children. Judge Gordon Kerr told Meehan that given her clear record, the “circumstances in which she found herself” and the time taken over the case, “considerable discounts” in her sentence were proper. Suspending the nine-month jail term for two years, the judge said : “The defendant is 66 years of age. The offences were over 30 years ago. There is no evidence she presents any danger to children or anyone else. “There is a low risk of her offending. I do not consider it necessary that she should serve these sentences immediately and think it is proper to suspend them.”

The judge had earlier said that while a remorseful Meehan had “expressed shame at her loss of control”, reports indicated that she “has no empathy or emotional concern” for Mary and the position she found her self in as a youngster, with one parent dead and the other missing. The prosecution proceeded on the basis of an agreed set of facts about her ill-treatment and neglect of Mary and the assaults on her. The first charge of assault related to an incident when Mary was tidying up, but apparently not quickly enough for Meehan, who hit her over the head with a bag containing a glass bottle and knocked her unconscious. Her wound later required stiches. The second assault referred to the youngster being hit by a brush or a shoe which had been thrown at her. The prosecution also told the court how Mary suffered from instances of bed wetting but that her stepmother “forced her to sleep on the wet sheets”. On  another ooccasion, after being accused of smoking by Meehan, the 10-year-old was forced to smoke cigarettes by way of punishment or deterrence. Mary was eventually rescued by social services who placed her into care in October 1980. A medical examination at the time revealed 20 bruises sustained while being looked after by Meehan.

The offences were committed while she was the girlfriend of Martin Meehan, who was on remand in prison on IRA kidnapping charges for which he was eventually jailed for 12 years. Mr Meehan, who died in 2007, was the first person to be convicted of membership of the Provisional IRA (PIRA). Bridge Meehan herself went on to be elected as Newtownabbey’s first Sinn Fein councillor in 2001, being reelected in 2005. She was suspended after the allegations of abuse first surfaced in February 2009. Karen Quinlivan QC, defending, said the offences were committed against a background of widespread disapproval of her relationship with Martin Meehan. This resentment came not only from his family but also her own. A remorseful Meehan, she said, had been left to care for three young children “quite abruptly” filling the shies of their mother who had died from cancer. Ms Quinlivan said while it was a serious matter, the level of physical abuse was “at the lower end of the scale” and Meehan had been widely criticised in the media and her own community. Outside the court, Kevin Meehan read a statement on behalf of his sister Mary, in which she said that the crimes of her former stepmother had finally caught up with her. She said BBridge Meehan had terrorised and brutalised her as a youngster and displayed nothing but callous disregard for what happened, rejecting any suggestion that she had shown any regreat. Meehan, the statement said, had ddemonized her through a tangled web of lies and deceit despite her crimes being exposed by her own guilty pleas. However, while Mary said that the court case could help to bring closure to the abuse she suffered at the hands of her stepmother, the 66-year-old had yet to offer her any apology. Meehan, for her part, would only tell reporters as she left the court : “No comment.”

With many thanks to : Allison Morris, The Irish News.

VICTIM: She shows total lack of remorse

THE VICTIM of Bridge Meehan last night expressed her disappointment at the sentence handed to the self-confessed child abuser – and her continuing refusal to apologise. Mary Meehan said her stepmother had shown a “total lack of remorse” for the harm inflicted on her, at a time when she was still grieving the loss of her mother from cancer.

Mary Meehan in tears outside Belfast Crown Court yesterday after her stepmother Bridge Meehan was sentenced for cruelty and assault against her when she was 10 years old.

The former Sinn Fein councillor, who once revelled in the notoriety gained from her marriage to the late Martin Meehan, barked “no comment” at reporters who asked yesterday if she would appoligise. She pushed the media out of her path and muttered expletives as she left the Laganside court complex. Neighbours in Addoyne who spoke to The Irish News back in 2010, when details of the case first came to light, described Mary prior to her mother’s death as happy, well cared-for child who could be seen with biws in her hair playing in the front garden of the family’s Northwick Drive home. However, after her mother’s death and imprisonment of her father, his new girlfriend Briege McLaughlin moved into the family home and took an immediate dislike to the little girl who so closely resembled her mother.

She had walked out on her husband to take up with newly widowed Martin Meehan and this resulted in her being shunned by many in the close-knit community of Ardoyne. Resentful of the affection in which the woman she replaced was held, she appeared to take her anger out on her namesake daughter. Neighbours reported hearing nightly screams from the little girl. Mary developed a stammer and was rarely seen out of her bedroom. On occasions she did attend Holy Cross Girls School she was dirty and unkempt. Social services received calls after she was seen on three seperate occasions with black eyes. Mary Meehan said despite her guilty plea, her late father’s widow has shown no remorse for her actions. “I only ever wanted Briege to admit what she had done to me after all these years,” she said. “She may have pleaded guilty but even then it seemed to be something she was doing to save herself from prison rather than to clear her conscience. “I was disappointed at the leniency of the sentence but more upset that she has never apoligised or even a shred of remorse. “I can only thank my family, friends and children who have supported me throughout this difficult process. “I just want to put it behind me now and move on with the rest of my life.”

With many thanks to : Allison Morris, The Irish News.

EX-SINN FEIN COUNCILLOR TO BE SENTENCED FOR ABUSE

‘[The victim] had 20 bruises on the head, six stitches under her left eye, cut on the right cheek, severe bruising on her inner thighs, gashes and scarabs on her back, bruises on her trunk, a burn on one foot and cuts on the other – Medical report.

FORMER Shame Fein councillor Bridge Meehan is to be sentenced today for abusing a stepdaughter left in her care more than three decades ago. Last month the former New town abbey councillor pleaded guilty to child cruelty and neglect over a 15-month period from 1979 to 1980 when Mary Meehan was 10 years old.

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Briege Meehan, a widow of IRA commander Martin Meehan, also admitted two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against the child left in her care while her father was in prison. In the first she hit the girl with a bottle in a bag, causing an injury to her head. The second attack involved either a shoe or a a broom. It caused an injury to the child’s eye that required stitches. Sexual assault charges were not proceeded with but were left on the books. Reports from social services and a nurse at Holy Cross Girls School showed that concern for the child’s welfare had been raised on several occasions.

Anonymous phone calls were also made to social services by neighbours who reported seeing the child with bruises and black eyes. Malnourished to the point of collapse, battered, bruised and locked in an attic room, Mary Meehan was eventually rescued from the house in Northwick Drive in Ardoyne by the parish priest. On October 16 1980, the day she was placed into care, a medical report stated : “When examined at Lissue she had 20 bruises on the head, six stitches under her left eye, cut on the right cheek, severe bruising on her inner thighs, gashes and scarabs on her back, bruises on her trunk, a burn on one foot and cuts on the other.” Bridge Meehan has been on bail throughout the case. Judge Gordon Kerr QC asked for pre sentencing reports and a victim impact statement to be prepared before he sentences the 65-year-old, whose address was given as Elmfield Street in North Belfast. Judge Kerr QC, adjourned the case yesterday morning to read over the new reports and put back sentencing until Friday morning 5th July.

With many thanks to : Allison Morris, The Irish News.

MAN ‘BREACHED’ SEX OFFENCES ORDER

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A man who was freed from prison last Wednesday has been sent back to jail after he allegedly breached a Sexual Offences Prevention Order within 24 hours of his release.

Ian Kernohan, with an address at a probation hostel on Belfast’s Ormeau Road, is accused of breaching the order by contacting a “vulnerable” female.

Belfast Magistrates Court was told he allegedly went to an internet cafe and contacted the person via Facebook.

A judge remanded him into custody.

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