Monday, 16 April 2012 14:44
||The leader of the British National Party in Stoke on Trent, Michael Coleman, has appeared in court on racism charges relating to comments allegedly made on his website, according to a local paper.
From The Sentinel:
“BNP leader Michael Coleman has appeared in court on racism charges.
“The former councillor will go on trial accused of causing racial harassment over a seven-month period.
“It is understood the allegations relate to comments made on the defendant's website.
“The 45-year-old lost his Meir North seat on Stoke-on-Trent City Council in last May's elections.
“But Coleman remains the controversial party's chief organiser in the city and presented an award to Stoke-on-Trent's BNP activist of the year during a Christmas party last December.
“Asked about Coleman's court appearance, BNP national spokesman Simon Darby said: "I'm not interested."
“Coleman, of Caverswall Road, Weston Coyney, denied two charges of racially or religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress caused by words or writing between August 2011 and March when he appeared at North Staffordshire Magistrates' Court. He requested a crown court trial.
“The BNP had nine seats in 2008/09 and was briefly the second biggest group on the council, earning Stoke-on-Trent the dubious title as the far right party's 'jewel in the crown' from national party chairman Nick Griffin MEP.
“Its prominence in the city sparked national attention and the party twice used the city as a base for launching nationwide manifestos.
“But numbers in the council chamber dwindled to five before last year's all-out elections, where it fielded just 10 candidates and won no seats.
“Coleman picked up just 299 votes last May as he lost out to Labour's Ruth Rosenau.
“Coleman's case will be committed to Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court on May 24.”
BNP members and candidates have in the past been investigated for similar offences relating to racist comments posted on online platforms. Last year a BNP candidate standing for a seat in Blackburn and Darwen posted grossly offensive remarks about Islam and Muslims, and last week the Leicester Mercury covered the case of Leicestershire city councillor, Graham Partner, a former BNP member who is being investigated for distributing leaflets containing inflammatory remarks about Muslims.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 May 2012 22:58