Paul Golding convicted of terror offence

Paul Golding

The leader of Britain First, Paul Golding, has been convicted of a terror offence after refusing to comply with a Schedule 7 stop last year.

Golding refused to hand police the passwords to his phone, laptop hard drive after being stopped at Heathrow Airport in October.

He was returning from a trip to Russia, where he carried out media interviews and visited the parliament building in Moscow.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that the far-right Islamophobe and his colleagues were stopped by Metropolitan Police officers under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act.

Golding, 38, refused to give the pin codes for an iPhone and computer and was later charged with wilfully refusing to comply with a duty under the law.

He said the request for his pin codes was “wildly inappropriate”, “completely unjustified”, represented an “abuse of police powers” and was a “political witch hunt.”

He added: “I don’t think think you have any grounds to suspect me of terrorism in any way shape or form”.

Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot ruled there was “no doubt” that Golding had failed to comply with requests for information, despite his obligations being explained to him and being warned “over and over” that if he did not he risked arrest.

He was handed a nine-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £750 in costs and a victim surcharge of £21.

Muhammad Rabbani, Managing Director of CAGE, who also refused to give up his password  following a Schedule 7 stop, said the anti-terror law is inherently wrong no matter who the victim is.

Schedule 7 stops are common at airports

He said: “For two decades now, Schedule 7 powers have been used to stop and search innocent British citizens returning home. This is nothing new. CAGE has been documenting the abuse of these powers for years.

“Far right groups have been allowed to flourish and grow over the last decade, spreading mass hate against Muslim populations, leading to increasingly violent attacks on Muslims. They have been aided by a complicit media and state rhetoric that reaches all the way to occupants of Downing Street.

“Golding and his gang have managed to escape the tentacles of the sprawling counter-terrorism apparatus in this country, but are only now feeling the impact that ordinary Muslim citizens have had to endure for two decades.

“Our commitment to fairness and justice demands that we say it is wrong that Paul Golding – along with the other 10,000 people stopped in 2019 – should be forced to breach personal and professional privacy without any criminal suspicion. Schedule 7 should be brought in line with due process principles.”

Schedule 7 allows police to search, detain and interrogate anyone for up to six hours at UK ports.

The government claims that the law is aimed at determining whether a person is involved in the “commission, preparation or instigation” of acts of terrorism.

Schedule 7 stops have long been criticised by human rights groups for targeting minorities and especially Muslims.

In 2019, the power was used on 9,540 people and a Home Office report said it had become “more targeted.” Almost a third of those stopped identified as Chinese or other, 29 per cent Asian, 26 per cent white, 8 per cent black and 6 per cent mixed-race.

You can read 5Pillars deputy editor, Dilly Hussain’s tips on what to do if you’re stopped under Schedule 7.

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