Britain First leader charged over Northern Ireland rally speech

Paul Golding was in Northern Ireland supporting his deputy, Jayda Fransen. Credit: PA

The leader and deputy leader of far-right group Britain First have been charged over offences in Northern Ireland.

Paul Golding, the group's leader, has been charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour over a speech he made in Northern Ireland in August.

Golding was arrested by police in Belfast earlier on Thursday while he was at court supporting deputy leader Jayda Fransen during her appearance on charges of using words which were threatening, abusive or insulting which she is alleged to have made at the same Northern Ireland Against Terrorism rally in the city in the summer.

Just minutes after her appearance at a Belfast court on Thursday accused of behaviour intended or likely to stir up hatred arising from her speech in the summer, Fransen was re-arrested.

The 31-year-old was re-arrested for questioning about a suspected offence in the city earlier this week, and later on Thursday she was charged with threatening behaviour.

Fransen's arrest came after she featured in a tweet on Wednesday purporting to show her at a wall used to divide Catholic residents from Protestants to prevent violence during the Troubles.

The message said it was shot in the staunchly unionist Shankill area of west Belfast.

During the video post she criticised Islam.

Jayda Fransen was in court over charges relating to an alleged hate speech. Credit: PA

After their arrests on Thursday, Fransen and Golding were taken from the Laganside court building to a Belfast city centre police station for interview.

Police later announced that the pair had been charged.

Golding is due to appear before Belfast Magistrates' court on January 10, while Fransen is due in court on Friday morning.

Fransen is also on bail facing trial over four unrelated charges of causing religiously aggravated harassment as part of a Kent Police investigation into the distribution of leaflets and the posting of online videos during a trial held at Canterbury Crown Court in May.

She will go on trial at Folkestone Magistrates' Court on January 29 alongside Golding, who faces three similar charges.

Her Belfast case is expected to be mentioned again in the city on January 9.