Day 7: Tuesday 24th January
Day 7: Tuesday 24th January
Up until nearly 3.30 this morning going through defence material. I've had to go hunting for material to use in response to various allegations made very recently by the prosecution, and this now has to go in all of a rush at the last minute. Up at just gone six for a bath then the journey to court. Have to be there at nine for another conference. Once in the court one of the staff again presents Mark and me with a bundle of what he calls 'fan mail'. Letters and cards from well-wishers all over the country. To anyone who's sent one, many thanks, they're a welcome and touching boost.
"Thank you for saying what we would like to. It is shameful that you have been persecuted for exercising your right to free speech. Very best wishes and good luck," goes a typical one on an animal charity card. "The best of luck to you both, from two angry pensioners" is the message in another. Tear in eye time.
One of the jurors is held up, so we start properly at 11.05 a.m. The judge explains that the arrival of new evidence on my behalf means that the case will have to be adjourned early today once Mark's case is finished.
Then it's on with the last part of Mark's cross examination by his defence counsel. He is asked why he gave a 'No Comment' interview, and replies that it was because he was sure he'd said nothing wrong, and that his arrest was simply Politically Correct harassment.
Cross-examination of Mark
By 11.12 a.m. Mark is being cross-examined by the prosecution's Mr. Jameson QC. My accounts of these exchanges may not be totally literal, not word-for-word.
He starts off by asking if all of his speech at the Reservoir Tavern in Keighley represented BNP policy. He asks if I approached him afterwards to say he'd gone "a bit too far" in anything he'd said, Mark replied 'Not that I can remember".
What our policy on dealing with a member of an ethnic minority who commits a crime? Kicking out members of ethnic minorities who have committed crimes but who were born in Britain? The prosecution is trying to get towards a position in which he can claim that our policies are based on fundamental antipathy towards non-whites. Mark kicks back with a measured and gutsy query as to whether the question at issue is BNP policy, whether the BNP is on trial, or just what we said in the speeches?
Moments later there is another low-key clash, and Mark again shows that he won't be brow-beaten.
"I was preaching to the converted" says Mark. "Suppose there had been Asians or asylum seekers at the meeting," he is asked, " would you have said the same things?" "This is a ridiculous point," Mark replies, "it would simply never happen, so I cannot answer it. It's like me saying to you, 'if there was a flying pig, would you ride it?'"
"What is the 'hell' that people in Bradford have to go through?" "The muggings, rapes, grooming, attacks, rioting, etc," Mark tells him.
"Did you include in that 'hell' the actions of white criminals?" Mark responds by stressing the sheer horror of the 'grooming' issue in the area. Jameson keeps pressing on this point, and takes advantage of the fact that he suckered Mark into saying that he had only had about twice as many cuttings as submitted in the defence evidence bundle, to say he was exaggerating when he talked of two rapes of white girls happening a week.
Knowing he's on ground which could look weak, Mark tries to shift the discussion back to the grooming issue, "it's not just a problem in Keighley, or even Bradford, it's been happening all over the country." Then he gets in the point Jameson has been wilfully ignoring all along "When we heard on 'Edge of the City' of how one girl of 13 was drugged, and ended up having sex with more than 100 Asian men - that's rape."
"Why did you not give the example of a 'young white lad' innocently picking up an underage girl dressed up to look older than 16, rather than illustrating it by talking of an Asian lad in that position?"
"No. The clubs and pubs I go to aren't frequented by Asians. I was simply giving an example from my own experience. It's what happens in real life."
Mark spots that Jameson is about to say that Ann Cryer, Labour MP for Keighley had been involved on this issue, which would lead on to the proposition that, as the prosecutor actually said moments later, that everybody was disgusted by what was going on and opposed to it (hence there would be no need for us to make an issue of what was going on). Mark wasn't going to let that trick be played, and showed a flash of real emotion and righteous indignation as he pointed out that, if it hadn't been for our campaigning on this issue, then Ann Cryer and the media wouldn't have done anything about it.
Jameson moves on, asking one question about my speech that follows. Not sure why, we'll see where that goes when I'm in the witness box.
Then back to another of Mark's speeches. Jameson is much exercised by Mark's motive for talking about the dangers of the indigenous population of Britain becoming a minority in their own homeland. Mark attacks by saying the prosecution is trying to say that such comments are not a subject that should be talked about as a legitimate political point. The prosecutor rushes to say that's not the case. Good point scored.
Jameson goes on to say that such things can be discussed, but apparently we're not allowed to do so while pointing to recent historical examples (such as Rhodesia) as to precisely what happens to white populations that find themselves in a minority.
Fireworks! Mark responds to a question with another. Jameson of course doesn't answer it. Mark points this out. Jameson says it's because he's here to ask questions, not answer them. Mark counters "Well I think that's because you can't answer it!" The judge intervenes for the first time to remind Mark that it's the job of counsel to ask questions, not answer them. "I'm sorry, My Lord", Mark accepts. Fun while it lasted, and fair play to the lad!
On to the Bradford riots. The prosecution want him to accept that only a small proportion of the 'Asian' population was involved in rioting. "Yes, and no", says Mark pointing out that although only a minority of them were rioting, this still represents a huge number. Mark once again tells the court that the prosecution is trying to twist his words and see things that aren't there.
Scraping the barrel
Jameson now goes to scrape the barrel. In Mark's speech he had referred to a Muslim businessmen who was arrested and convicted for barricading the doors of Manningham Labour Club, then petrol-bombing it while more than twenty elderly members were inside. Jameson points out that the local press cutting says that the fire-raiser was convicted of arson with reckless endangering of human life, but not of attempted murder. "It was my value judgement," says Mark "If someone locked us in this room here today, and then set light to it, I think it's a fair thing to assume that they would be trying to kill us."
Next stop Mark's claim about "guns under the mosque." Because he can't or won't name his police source, Mark is accused of making it all up, despite the fact that the Crown have given in their unused material a copy of an internal police intelligence report about a tip-off that there were guns and explosives in a named mosque in Bradford. I suspect that this issue will arise when I am cross-examined later in the trial, so will say no more about this for now.
"Why are you only talking about helping white people?" "Because there are other groups out there standing up for the Asian community, the black community and so on. There's the Black Police Officers' Association; the Asian Lawyers' Association. They're there for their people. We're here for ours."
A pattern is now emerging: Jameson is picking up on things like the use of a word such as 'the' rather than 'these' to claim that such tiny differences are intentional and can be picked over at length in an effort to infer politically incorrect thoughts in our heads. Given that the law is clearly that the speeches have to be taken in their entirety, as that is a key part of "having regard to all the circumstances", this is extraordinarily unfair.
Mark makes exactly this point after lunch. "If the media talk about white racist crime, for example, no one expects them to say "of course, we're not saying that everyone in the white community is a white racist criminal."
There's a fair bit on Mark's allegation that Stephen Lawrence may well have been a drug dealer. "What is the relevance of this?" "Because the media have said that it was a racist murder, and I am merely pointing out that he might have been killed for reasons other than white racism, something which would be particularly likely if he was indeed - as is common gossip in the lower ranks of the Metropolitan police - involved in drug dealing."
Jameson has 'teed up' the DVD player to show us the BNP’s audience reaction to this comment. Mark is shown giving a partial list of what asylum seekers get, and includes a car "with which they run over someone like Lee Massey." The list of what they get goes on "these people are cockroaches". The audience gives a huge cheer. Jameson makes a big thing of this, but nothing of the fact that Mark's immediately subsequent point - in which he says that he doesn't hate anyone except the white liberals responsible for the asylum flood - is also rewarded by an enthusiastic round of sustained applause.
Mark repeatedly points out that Jameson is "cherry-picking" his speech by missing out the huge amount of material in them about positive political organisation and action.
Jameson again pushes the cockroach button, and Mark kicks back by asking how the word is so different to terms appearing in the tabloid papers at the time, such as "spongers, vermin and parasites."
Jameson then produces a document taken from Mark's computer and asks if he wrote it? Mark reads it carefully and then confirms that he wrote it. Then there's an exchange about mixed race relationships that the judge effectively cuts short by his concern about the use of such evidence. Jameson backs off slightly, then comes back to allege that all Mark's points go towards creating an image of non-whites to be feared, and hated.
A third week ahead
It's now a quarter past three. Mr. Jameson appears to be nearly finished, but has a point of law to raise so the jury is sent out and my fingers must fall still.
The jury return to be told that the prosecution have finished their cross-examination. Their is no re-examination. Mark returns to the dock with me. Job done very well indeed to my mind.
That's it for the day. My turn tomorrow, and I've seen how the prosecution works. It's pretty clear now that the case is going to run on into a third week. Verdict next Monday or Tuesday from the way things are going.
Rajinder Singh has arrived to give evidence on my behalf if there is any suggestion that I'm not 100% sincere when talking about the particular danger posed by fundamentalist Islam. The prosecution look as though they may well try to claim that I use 'Muslim' as a code-word for Asians in general. Well, if they want a fight on that ground, they're going to get it.