Monday, January 30, 2006

Day 11: Monday 30th January

Day 11: Monday 30th January

We start the third week of the Leeds Free Speech trial at 11.50 a.m. after yet more legal discussions. There’s quite a funny tale to be told about this when reporting restrictions on such matters are lifted at the end of the trial – watch this space (if I’m at liberty, that is, to fill it).

The judge tells the jury that a photograph of me standing in the witness box has appeared on a website (not ours, of course). This is a serious contempt of court and the judge is rightly angry about it. He warns all in the public gallery that anyone taking a photo or recording proceedings in any way will be brought before him to face an immediate prison sentence if caught.

The warning is justified but, in the unanimous opinion of everyone who has been there throughout the trial, wasted because the culprit is no longer there. Certainly it’s odd that the professional anti-BNP photo stalker Andy Ali made a point of sitting in a place where he had a really good view of the witness box while I was in it, kept a small bag on the desk in front of him, and then hurried out after just a few minutes last Friday. We’ve learned from past experience that this strange, plump coward has a distinctly unhealthy fixation about getting footage of us, and I’d put my money on it having been him this time. If he turns up again he’ll be pointed out to the usher.

Common phraseology

At 11.55 we watch two short clips from the Edge of the City programme. One shows a girl whose mum is worried that she is clearly being groomed telling the camera how her ‘boyfriend’ gives her all sorts of presents and that she loves him. “Is he a Muslim?” asks the presenter. “Yeah, he’s a Paki,” she confirms.

The second clip has another woman relating how another Muslim has told her daughter “Us Pakis are going to have to watch what we’re doing with you young ’uns now.”

Together the clips make it crystal clear that for me to have used the phrase “Paki street thug” to describe a specific type of swaggering young scumbag – equivalent, as I told the jury on Friday, to the “hoodies” and “white trash” who besmirch our own community – was not intended to be, and could not possibly be taken to be, any kind of racist slur or insult. In Keighley, as in fact all over working class Britain, the word is a simple, neutral, descriptive term, used by all communities.

Finally, my Mr King QC has passed to the jury a sheet carrying one final admission extracted from the Crown: That there was spontaneous and generous applause from the audience at a meeting in Halifax when I said that the racist killers of an elderly Asian man in West London the day before should hang for murder. This will come up again later in his actual closing speech.

Prosecution summing up

For now, however, this concludes my defence and Tim King hands over to Roderick Jameson QC, to make his closing speech for the prosecution.

Jameson starts at 12.05. He says he has decided not to show the videos of the speeches again. He will instead use the transcripts. He says the speeches should be taken in full, but of course doing it this way means they cannot and will not be.

He maintains that the prosecution isn’t meant to stifle debate on “serious issues”, but claims it’s a question of controlling how it’s done. He contrasts a report of mealy-mouthed comments by Ann Cryer about the grooming issue (only speaking out under pressure from us) with the way we address the issue. “There’s nothing wrong with the subject matter …. The problem is how it was done and what was intended.”

He effectively concedes that nothing we said can be regarded as ‘threatening’, but says he have been abusive or insulting.

Turning to the speeches themselves, he starts with Mark’s speech at the Reservoir Tavern in Keighley. This one, he says, is very important because it was the only meeting at which we shared a platform.

He deviates to go back to the question hanging over the whole case: “You may not like the BNP, if so, the last thing we are asking you to do is to commit these men.”

Then he proceeds to try to get them to do just that. He reminds the jury that non-whites can’t join the party. He ignores totally my explanation of this as a matter of a) giving us a Race Law defence against our members being victimised at work, etc, and b) our opposition to the integrationist/exterminationist model of community relations. Instead, he says, it shows we hate non-whites. No mention that huge numbers of them take exactly the same position, and that there’s no hate either way in the choice to remain separate.

Our policy to deport ethnic minority criminals is held up as something wicked. Never mind that this was how immigration was ‘sold’ to the British public in the 1950s. Any criminals were going home then, courtesy of a Labour government. But now the idea makes us ‘haters’.

Wild speculation

Jameson scrapes the absurd barrel when he asks the jury to speculate on this happening to someone “whose grandparents came to Britain from Bangladesh in the 1920s.” Hmmm – the fact that none did and that the place didn’t even exist until 20 years later doesn’t seem relevant to him.

Moving on to another of Mark’s speeches, he accepts that trenchant and well deserved criticism of ultra-left firemen’s union leader Andy Gilchrist may be abusive and insulting, but is not at issue as he’s not from an ethnic minority. So why does he mention it?

Our ‘crime’, he claims, is trying to “blacken an entire ethnic community by stirring up fear, and thus hate. Why? For votes.” No mention of course, of the fact that in most cases, if all we wanted were votes, we’d get more of them by forgetting our concerns about immigration, etc, and joining New Labour.

Desperate claims

The absurdities continue. Mark had contrasted the way in which gangs of ‘Asian men’ in Keighley were involved in the paedophile racist rapes/grooming scandal with the way in which a young white lad might pick up a dolled-up 15-year-old in a nightclub in a genuine mistake. He complains bitterly that Mark should have used the example of a young Asian lad going into a nightclub and picking up the 15-year-old by mistake. The fact he didn’t, claims Jameson, shows Mark was trying to incite hatred of Asians. Desperate stuff, but it might fool some.

Mark had gone on to say that the problem here was anti-white racism among the media, police and some ‘ethnics’. Ah ha! Claims Jameson, “this comment shows the issue in his mind is racism.” We’re not far here off ducking witches: If they sink they’re innocent; if they float they’re guilty!

Repeatedly, he dishonestly and deliberately tries to confuse racial awareness with racial hatred. Again, it could fool some, but will it? We’ll know soon enough. For now the problem is that a serious barrister is desperate and dishonest enough to try out such drivel.

I should have ‘corrected’ Mark for perhaps giving a ‘false impression’ of BNP policy in his speech. Convenient that he raises this now, rather than asking me why I didn’t while I was in the dock. Perhaps he had an inkling of the verbal roasting I had lined up for him if he’d gone down that road.

The fact that Mark’s home city of Leicester is now more than half non-white is written off as “not a very serious matter”, and Mark’s comment that it is now “not a very nice place” is described as “insulting to non-whites living in Leicester.”

He complains that Mark was guilty of ‘over-statement’ for describing the Bradford riot as “clinically planned” (despite press coverage of police comments that it was).

“Does Mr Collett have any real regard for the truth of what he’s saying?” he asks. I’d love to put the same question to him, and rattle off a list of his little deceptions.

Mark is taken to task for having received a tip-off about guns and explosives in a mosque in Bertram Road, Manningham, Bradford. “I have no idea whether the police checked it out,” he says, unwittingly exposing the criminal irresponsibility of the entire British Establishment in the months before 7/7.

Possible scenario

In my opinion, Mark was mistaken in his speech and was running together two separate pieces of intelligence we’d received. Explained properly this would have significantly strengthened our case, and left the Powers That Be looking utterly incompetent. This is only one of a number of powerful points that slipped through the net of our double defence this time around. Such failings (minor in the grand scheme of a very skilfully fought action by our excellent teams) will be put right next time if there’s a hung jury and a retrial.

That’s not a prospect I relish from a personal or family point of view, but for the standing of the party overall in the eyes of the public, and as a source of more publicity for our views on these vitally important issues, it would be the very best result possible. Especially as our defence would be tightened up further next time around. Perhaps if the Attorney General isn’t too busy giving Blair bent advice on how it would be ‘legal’ to flatten Iran he’ll make the mistake of giving us a second bite of this very juicy political cherry!

Jameson claims that Mark’s use of the word ‘breed’ in describing the different birth rates of the white and Muslim Asian communities is “meant to imply they breed like rabbits.” At this point most of the jury members laugh. This, from his face, is definitely not in the script! Down in Islington the PC approved reaction is a sharp gasp of collective shock. But West Yorkshire, of course, is not Islington.

Moving on to Mark’s comments on the asylum issue, he says it’s a legitimate issue to discuss but complains we never gave our solution to the problem while we were in the witness box. There is, of course, a simple reason for this omission – the florid little creep never asked us!

He admits that, after these speeches, no-one went out and committed any act of violence. But, he claims, the problem is “the long term pernicious effect” of people making ‘racist’ comments in the community.

Funny that, since the CPS spent considerable time asking the police to see if there had been any immediate effects in terms of racist incidents after our speeches (there were none), and neglected to check their own records to see if anyone has ever claimed as mitigating circumstances the ‘fact’ that they’d months before heard a speech by me or Mark, or talked to someone who had, and been wound up by it.

Sadly, I managed to leave my laptop in the wrong vehicle this morning, so am having to type this up from notes. Accordingly, a group of us are going to eat now, so I’ll have to type up the rest later tonight. It may not get online ’til the morning, but it will be there.

Tomorrow, just for the record, will be the second half of the closing speech for Mark, the closing speech by my excellent Mr. King, and perhaps part of the summing up from the patient judge. There is no chance now of a verdict before the end of Wednesday, quite possibly Thursday.