British far-right leader released on bail by Belfast court
Jayda Fransen of Britain First charged with making anti-Islam comments on social media
Jayda Fransen (31) has been charged with threatening behaviour over remarks made earlier this week beside a peace wall in Belfast. Photograph: Mark Marlow/PA Wire.
The deputy leader of far-right group Britain First has been released on bail after appearing in court in Belfast charged over comments posted about Islam on social media.
Jayda Fransen (31) has been charged with threatening behaviour over remarks made earlier this week beside a peace wall dividing Catholics from Protestants in the city. The comments were posted on social media on Wednesday.
The message said it was shot in the staunchly unionist Shankill area of west Belfast. The video post was critical of Islam.
Ms Fransen was bailed after a short hearing before a district judge in Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Friday, although police objected to her release.
Ms Fransen, from Anerley in south east London, was arrested at the same court on Thursday, having appeared on a charge related to other remarks she made at a Northern Ireland Against Terrorism rally in the city in August.
Britain First leader Paul Golding (35) was also arrested at the court on Thursday as he accompanied Ms Fransen.
He was later charged with using threatening, abusive, insulting words or behaviour during a speech he made at the same Belfast rally in August.
Mr Golding was bailed to appear in the same court next month and Ms Fransen will also appear before that court again next month.
Ms Fransen winked and raised her fist in the dock after bail was granted. Around a dozen supporters clapped and cheered from the public gallery.
A police officer had objected to bail, claiming Ms Fransen would commit similar offences to the one she is charged with if released.
He said Ms Fransen had made comments urging people to “rise up and take action now” against the “Islamic ideology”.
He raised concerns further similar comments could lead to attacks on Muslims.
Judge Fiona Bagnall said she acknowledged his concerns but said she would apply bail conditions to mitigate that risk.
Ms Fransen has been prevented from going within 500m of any demonstration or procession in Northern Ireland — the same condition applied when she appeared on the August charge on Thursday.
“We’ll see if bail terms work,” the judge told the court.
“If they don’t work, she’ll be brought back to court and she will be in custody.”