Britain First leaders jailed for 'hostility' towards Muslims

The leader and deputy leader of far-right political group Britain First have been jailed for religiously-motivated assault and 'hostility' towards Muslims.

Paul Golding, 36, and Jayda Fransen, 32 had been arrested for targeting and harassing people during a gang-rape trial. Both were handed jail sentences – Fransen for 36 weeks and Golding for 18 weeks – yesterday at Folkestone Magistrates' Court, according to BBC News.

Seven charges of harassment had faced the pair, but three were thrown out, with Fransen ultimately found guilty of three and Golding of one.

Golding and Fransen were arrested last year on charges of harassment during a rape trial at Canterbury Crown Court, in which three Muslim men and a teenager were ultimately jailed.

Judge Justin Barron said the leaders had 'demonstrated hostility' towards Muslims and Islam.

Paul Golding, the leader of Britain First, speaks at a rally held in central London, April 1, 2017.Reuters

'I have 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.'

Last May the pair had publicly targeted a pizza takeaway in Ramsgate, east Kent, banging on the shop windows and shouting 'foreigner' and 'paedophile'. The abuse was filmed and shared online by Britain First, while defamatory leaflets were posted around the local neighbourhood.

In another shared video, Fransen was seen visiting the house of trial defendant Tahani Rahmani, and shouting through the front door: 'Come out and face me you disgusting rapist, come on.'

The Crown Prosecution Service said: 'In each case, they instead targeted innocent members of the public.'

In trial Fransen said she was not a racist and had targeted those accused of sex offences.

She interrupted Judge Barron in court, saying: 'This is a very sad day for British justice. Everything I did was for the children of this country and they are worth it.'

Britain First gained global prominence last year after three of Fransen's anti-Muslim/immigrant social media posts were retweeted on Twitter by US President Donald Trump, a move for which he received widespread international condemnation. Fransen had posted in response: 'GOD BLESS YOU TRUMP! GOD BLESS AMERICA!'