The leaders of far-right group, Britain First, have been jailed over a “political campaign” that wrongly branded some Muslims as child sex offenders and rapists.
Leader Paul Golding and the group’s deputy, Jayda Fransen, distributed leaflets and online videos – targeting homes and people in Kent, UK whom they believed were connected to a rape trial at Canterbury Crown Court last year where three Muslim men and a teenager were convicted of rape and jailed.
Fransen, found guilty of three offences of religiously aggravated harassment, was handed a 36-week prison term with Golding jailed for 18 weeks after being convicted of one charge.
In sentencing the pair, who both live in Penge, south-east London, Judge Barron said they had “demonstrated hostility” towards Muslims and the Muslim faith, adding that he was in no doubt it was their joint intention to use the facts of the case in Canterbury for their own political ends.
He said it was a campaign to draw attention to the race, religion and immigrant background of the defendants.
After the case, Detective Inspector Bill Thornton of Kent Police said: “The crimes committed by Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen were abhorrent and motivated by religious insensitivities.
Thornton said, “The fact that completely innocent members of the public were accused of being rapists, making them fear for their own safety, shows how little regard they have for the consequences of their actions.
“Kent Police simply will not tolerate any offences that are motivated by prejudice and hate, and will investigate all such incidents thoroughly in order to bring those responsible in front of the courts.”