Paul Golding
© Press Association
The 38-year-old had refused to give police access to his mobile phone on his return from a political trip to Russia
Britain First leader Paul Golding has been found guilty of a terror offence after refusing to give police his phone's PIN following a trip to Russia.

Golding, 38, was stopped at Heathrow Airport on October 23 last year on his way back from Moscow by officers from the Metropolitan Police.

He refused to give the pin codes for an iPhone and Apple computer and was later charged with willfully refusing to comply with a duty under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act.

Golding, the leader of the far-right political group, denied the charge but was found guilty of the offence following a trial at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on Wednesday.

Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot ruled there was "no doubt" that Golding had failed to comply with requests for information, despite his obligations being explained to him and being warned "over and over" that if he did not he risked arrest.

Comment: He most certainly failed to comply with requests but the real issue is whether the request to search was necessary or warranted. Which it wasn't.

She handed Golding a conditional discharge for nine months and ordered him to pay a £21 surcharge and £750 in costs.

Ms Arbuthnot said Golding had been lawfully questioned and that under Schedule 7 there had been no requirement for "reasonable suspicion" for the stop.

Comment: This is where the 'War on Terror' really pays off: not stopping Islamists - it was never about that - but stopping ANYONE who doesn't comply with ANY order...

PC Rory O'Connor, a borders officer with the Met who questioned Golding, told the court that Schedule 7 enables accredited officers to "speak to people in order to make a determination of whether they are or have been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism".

The officer explained that it also permitted police to interrogate, search and detain anyone for up to six hours at UK ports.

He said he had cause to examine Golding under the legislation and recalled him being initially "agitated" and "clearly angry" at being stopped, with him shouting at officers.

Comment: Of course he was agitated and angry at being stopped. Who wouldn't be at least slightly agitated and upset when some low-level pencil pusher on a power trip stops them and demands to look through their personal items for no reason knowing that they don't need a reason and can make up ridiculous charges based on what they do or don't find.

Prosecutor Samuel Main said that for nearly three hours Golding was questioned about his activities in Russia after flying out with two others on October 20.

Comment: This absurdity is compounded by the fact that - because of their massive global surveillance apparatus - it's very easy for them in 2020 to know exactly what Golding did in Russia, and who he met.

The court heard that Golding said he was on a "purely political trip" after establishing friendships in Russia during an international congress on an earlier date.

Comment: That's his real 'offence'.

He told officers that he had returned to the country under the invitation of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), which he described as a "right wing, conservative, patriotic group" who were not "extreme".

English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, watched the proceedings in the court's socially distanced public gallery.

Over the course of his three-day trip, Golding gave interviews to the media, met members of the LDPR and visited the Russian parliament, Mr Main said.

He also visited Moscow's Red Square and laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier.