Day 2 : Tuesday 17th January
Day 2 : Tuesday 17th January
N.B. These notes are as typed in court, in snatches with my attention often on the court proceedings itself. It therefore isn't proof-read and probably has a fair few typographical errors. Sorry about this.
Woke up just after six this morning struck by a thought about a question that my barrister should ask the BBC's far-left mole and sneak cameraman Jason Gwynne. My lead barrister mentioned yesterday that the prosecution are calling him as a witness, probably today. The idea is too useful to risk forgetting and my mind starts racing anyway, so I get up and grab the laptop to get to work.
I forgot to mention in yesterday's hastily done opening blog, by the way, that my barristers had both told me that they saw no reason why I should not have a laptop in the dock with me, but said that my lead counsel, Tim King QC, should ask the judge's permission. He did so yesterday and the judge said 'yes' without hesitation. Then he immediately went on to ask if I had access to a power point. This response showed me two things: First, it was another example of the remarkable agility of the brains of these men who juggle the intricacies of a number of cases, and of each case itself, without - as a rule - dropping any of them. One moment he was focussed on questions of law, the next moment he flicked channels to think wholly practically, and behalf of someone else, about 240 volts. Second, while one can of course never be sure, I felt it showed a spontaneous fairness and human decency that a man who had already prejudged us in some way would not have shown.
Touched by that, and also because I knew that Tim King did not know the answer to the question (one of the two security guards we have in the dock had found the power point in the main court but within cable reach), I called out "Yes, my lord, thank you." I'm pretty sure that defendants aren't really supposed to speak to judges without being spoken to, but he didn't seem to mind. We moved on straight away.
With a bit more time now to set down my thoughts, I need to put on record my very sincere thanks to the big team from
While the liars at the BBC did their best to conceal this contrast (leading the pack of media liars reporting the seven arrests, without making it clear that they were all from the Marxoid zoo compound) some of the TV reports showed great shots of our supporters outside the court. The flags of our nations, free speech and Christian heritage placards, smiling faces, old ladies and little children as well as decent honest men who had clearly taken time off work - all those images will have struck home at a subconscious level with enormous numbers of viewers. Once again, thanks to all concerned.
Now to today's hearing. We arrived outside the court with our security team to be greeted by small groups of party sympathisers (there in addition to the massive support among passers-by, workmen, delivery drivers, etc) and a whole crowd of press cameramen and TV crews. We swept past a crowd of people waiting to go in to court. Only after we were inside the court foyer did we realise that we had just engaged in a massive and very un-British act of queue jumping! The girls and young men immediately behind us seemed to think it was all a bit of a laugh, but one of our team went out to apologise in any case.
The prosecution lead QC, Mr Jameson, is quietly spoken and very different to the Crown Prosecution Service's first choice, Patrick O'Connor, who repeatedly seemed to anger the judge, and was replaced or stepped down (we will probably never know which) after the earlier hearings. Mark's lead counsel, Stuart Lawson-Rogers QC, is the tallest of the legal eagles. Absent yesterday owing to sickness (during which time his place was taken by his able Junior Mr Julian Nutter) he spoke clearly and concisely on several issues.
The court case itself didn't begin until 10.45 am, with a ruling by the judge (the Recorder - i.e. senior bigwig - of Leeds Crown Court, Mr. Justice Norman Jones) and other legal arguments and technicalities which are - quite properly - subject to reporting restrictions. With these over there was an adjournment while certain papers were redrafted in the light of those discussions. Proceedings resumed with the jury in their seats at 12.24.
Advice to jury
Advice to jury
The Judge impressed on them the need to put out of their minds opinions about the case expressed by others, and in particular in the media. "If you are reading a newspaper and you come across an article about the case, the best thing is not to read it.
Mr. Jameson opened for the prosecution at 12.30. Told the jury briefly about our positions in the party, and about where and when the speeches were made. Said that he hoped I didn't mind if he referred to me as 'Nick' rather than 'Nicholas' "as that is how he is generally referred to." In pointing out to the jury which of us was which, he said that Mark is "the younger man, sitting nearer to you" and that I was the one with the computer in front of me. He also told them about each of the barristers in court, including his junior, sitting immediately behind him, Mr. Mansell.
Having told them that they would watch the speeches in full later, but that he would summarise them beforehand. He then read out the prosecution opening statement, which had earlier been 'tweaked' between all the lawyers. This included the point that "these proceedings are not a judgement on the views, perceived or otherwise, of the British National Party.... not a mini-referendum." He went on to claim that debate on such issues as race,immigration and asylum is acceptable. "It is not the purpose of this prosecution to stifle such debate", he said, but pointed that the law nevertheless forbids doing so using words which are intended or likely to incite hatred.
Then briefly went through each speech in turn, picking out the most forthright fragments. No doubt the press will publicise these bits for me. To give him his due he corrected silly transcription errors as he went. That said, having told the jury early on that he would be very careful not to misrepresent what we said, he proceeded to do just that - deliberately confusing a phrase in which I attacked "these people". From the context of my speech it is crystal clear that I was referring to Labour politicians, not Asians as he alleged to the jury.
Acknowledged I "accurately predicts, in May 2004, the events that occurred in London with the terrorist bombs in June 2005," but claimed that my "real intention" was to incite hatred by telling the audience about media-suppressed racist murders of young whites such as Sean Whyte (I note from the prosecution jury bundle that they still can't even be bothered to spell his name right. Imagine the fuss if the Met Police had written about Steven Lorence!), Gavin Hopley and Chris Donald.
Then he told the court that the only live witness the prosecution would be calling would be undercover paid provocateur Jason 'Gwynne' (I for one doubt that 'Gwynne' - Welsh for 'White', is the creep's real name, although frankly I don't really care).
Gwynne in dark suit and dark sludge green shirt and tie - came in at just after 3pm. Ultra-sincere look, although his record as an undercover agent proves he is a studied and convincing liar. Pompous twit, whenever he could answer just 'yes', he says "that is correct, yes." Prosecution took him briefly through how he infiltrated the BNP and attended "a great many meetings."
Mr Lawson-Rogers QC then rose to cross-examine. “Is it right that the initiative for the programme was from people hostile to the BNP?". Gwynne squirmed somewhat but admitted this. Four million people watched the broadcast. Various questions to establish points for further use.
Mr King QC then asked him to confirm he attended a meeting at which I spoke at Halifax and asked if there was an 'overlap' between the people attending. Gwynne replied he would "often see the same people .... a considerable number of people would attend all the meetings."
No other questions. Straight into playing speeches. Jury watch on big TV. Lawyers have small TVs on their desks. We watch it through glass screen in front of us.