Britain First leader Paul Golding charged over Belfast rally speech

He was detained as he arrived at court in support of his deputy leader Jayda Fransen

Britain First leader Paul Golding charged over Belfast rally speech

The leader of Britain First, Paul Golding (left) arrives at Belfast Laganside Courts with deputy leader Jayda Fransen (right), 14-12-2017. Image: Mark Marlow/PA Wire/PA Images

Updated: 20.15

The leader of far-right group Britain First has been charged with using threatening, abusive and insulting words or behaviour.

The charges against Paul Golding are in relation to a speech he made at a rally in Belfast in August, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said.

The 35-year-old was arrested on Thursday as he accompanied Jayda Fransen, the group's deputy leader, as she appeared in court accused of behaviour intended or likely to stir up hatred during the same rally.

The court ruled that, as a condition of her release on bail, she should not go within 500 metres of any demonstration or parade in Northern Ireland.

Police had also sought curbs on her social media use.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall expressed doubts about whether her jurisdiction extended to Fransen's social media use.

Fransen's lawyer, Richard McConkey, said the curbs on her freedom of speech would be disproportionate for a politician.

Britain First found itself at the centre of a diplomatic spat between the US and UK last month, after Donald Trump shared anti-Muslim videos posted online by Fransen.

Two of the videos retweeted by the US president featured violent scenes, including someone being pushed off a roof and another person being assaulted.

At least one of Fransen's tweets falsely accused Muslims of perpetrating violence.

The group has since claimed it received hundreds of new membership applications.