Two men who fled to the United States after being found guilty of publishing race-hate articles on the Internet have launched appeals against their convictions.
Simon Sheppard, of Brook Street in Selby, and Stephen Whittle skipped bail and headed across the Atlantic in July after a jury at Leeds Crown Court convicted them of a series of race-related offences. The pair claimed political asylum, and have been held in a California prison for two months while US officials set a date for their immigration hearing.
Leeds Crown Court has since received papers from the pair's legal teams, applying for leave to appeal against their convictions.
Barrister Adrian Davies, who represented Sheppard during the trial, said the case would probably be heard at London's Court of Appeal if the pair are allowed to challenge the jury's verdicts.
Sheppard, 51, and Whittle, 42, were given bail by a judge on July 11, despite the jury having already returned guilty verdicts on some of the charges. They were due to return to court three days later while jurors deliberated over further charges, but failed to show up. It's believed the pair travelled from the UK to Ireland by ferry before taking a direct flight to Los Angeles. The pair claimed political asylum and were detained at Los Angeles Airport by the US Immigration Naturalisation Service.
Their case has been followed by extremist websites, and supporters have begun sending donations.
Sheppard was found guilty of 11 counts of publishing racially inflammatory written material. He's due to return to Leeds Crown Court on December 8. Whittle, of Avenham Lane in Preston, was convicted of five counts of publishing racially inflammatory written material.