A senior British National Party member was disqualified from driving today after being found guilty of refusing to take a police breathalyser test.
Robert Bailey, 43, of Chadwell Heath, Essex, said he refused to cooperate with officers because he believed they were part of a politically inspired conspiracy acting upon "a higher order".
Havering Magistrates Court, in Romford, Essex, heard Bailey was arrested after being spotted by officers driving along London Road in the town without his lights on at around 11.15pm on May 28. He twice failed to give a proper breath sample at the roadside and then when taken back to Romford Police Station he refused to make another attempt, the court was told. Traffic officers reported smelling drink on his breath and CCTV footage from the station was shown to the court.
Bailey, who was a BNP candidate for London in this year's European elections, refused to speak when asked if he had had a drink. He was warned that refusing to take the breath test could lead to prosecution and was seen on the footage replying: "I'm not going to do that."
The former Royal Marine, originally from Scunthorpe, told the court he believed he was being set up because of his political beliefs. He said: "Well, I spent 14 years in the Marines and spent a good part of this working with the security forces and I know how the system operates."
He added that he believed he was under surveillance because of his political activities and that his phone and house had been bugged. He said: "It adds to my belief it is a conspiracy against me, my party and the indigenous people of this country."
Prosecutor Adebayor Kareem accused him of refusing to take a breath test because it would have shown up that he was drunk behind the wheel. Bailey told the court he had only had one drink earlier in the day but was tired from his election work and had been taking tablets to help him sleep. He said he normally drove a Volvo whose lights come on automatically and he had not realised he was driving without lights. He said: "I dispute strongly that my speech was slurred, that I was drunk and I was unsteady on my feet."
Chris Sweetman, defending Bailey, said his client had a possible personality disorder which made him suspicious of the police and refuse to cooperate with them. He added that Bailey had suffered from depression in the past as well, which may have made him paranoid.
District Judge John Wollard said: "I have heard nothing which establishes in my view that this defendant had a reasonable excuse on medical grounds."
He found him guilty of failing to provide a specimen and fined him £275, ordered him to pay costs of £200, a victim's surcharge of £15 and disqualified him from driving for 18 months.
Note: According to those in the know it was the court-appointed doctor who stated that Bailey was suffering from paranoid delusions and possibly a personality disorder and not, as the Independent states, Bailey's defence team.