September 02, 2009

BNP member rules case adjourned

A legal case about ethnic restrictions on the British National Party's membership rules has been adjourned.

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission is seeking an injunction against BNP leader Nick Griffin and two other party officials. It claims they are breaking the Race Relations Act by restricting membership to "indigenous Caucasian" people. The BNP says it is a "vexatious and spiteful" action prompted by its recent successes in the European elections.

The case was adjourned to give the BNP more time to prepare a defence, after the court was told the party had only instructed its counsel, Jonathan O'Mahoney, at 5pm on Tuesday. Mr Griffin and fellow party officers Simon Darby and Tanya Lumby did not attend the hearing at Central London County Court.

Judge Paul Collins said: "The Commission take the view that the terms on which the BNP admit persons to membership is in breach of the Race Relations Act because it discriminates against persons on the grounds of race and they want an injunction to stop it."

But he pointed out that it had taken a "long time for someone to get round to the idea" that the BNP - which was founded 27 years ago - could be in breach of the Race Relations Act.

The evidence suggested that the case was prompted by complaints made to the Commission after the BNP won two seats in the European Parliament in June, he added. He also pointed out that the EHRC had not provided any evidence that there was "a long queue of black people wanting to join the BNP". But he said the BNP had known since June about the possibility of legal action and said it was "unfair" of the party to have instructed Mr O'Mahoney at the last minute. He therefore ordered the BNP to pay the costs of the hearing.

But the judge refused a request by Robin Allen QC, counsel for the EHRC, to impose an interim order on the BNP preventing it from recruiting new members through its website and forcing it "not to refuse membership to any non-white members, or would-be members, on the grounds of colour". The judge said it would be "inappropriate" given that the BNP had been in existence for 27 years and was due back in court over the matter next month.

He told defendants they had 21 days to serve their evidence, with a further 14 days for the claimants to respond before the next one-day hearing, scheduled for 15 October.

Mr O'Mahoney told the court that the BNP had appointed a new legal team in the past week after dispensing with the services of its original solicitors, who had advised it not to contest the case. But Mr Allen accused the party of being "reluctant to come to court to state their case" and appearing "to be doing everything to avoid the course of justice".

Outside court, a spokesman for the EHRC said its predecessor organisation, the Commission for Racial Equality, did not have the powers to take such legal action and that the EHRC was set up only in October 2007.

Stephen Tyler, the BNP Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Bermondsey in south east London, who attended the hearing, said: "The BNP thrives on adversity. Whatever the outcome, it is going to emerge much stronger than it already is."

Mr Tyler, who teaches international relations at a private college, said it was "a vexatious, spiteful case". And he claimed the BNP had "a lot of supporters from ethnic minorities," adding: "They understand why the membership list is closed to them."

BBC News


eric the fish said...

"He therefore ordered the BNP to pay the costs of the hearing."

good to see all those donations gained from the begging letters is being well spent!

I'm not sure about this case as a tactic, but little details like this are good!

Anonymous said...

So, one day to hear the case and the judge already pointing out all the problems with the case and, it sounds like, basicaly ridiculing the prosecution case before one word of evidence is heard.
Sounds like a victory for Gri££in is on the cards here, then.

Pete Green said...

"He therefore ordered the BNP to pay the costs of the hearing."

LOL I bet Griffin choked on hearing that!

"Sounds like a victory for Gri££in is on the cards here, then."

Nope. I reckon this could go better than expected. The judge pointing out the potential difficulties in the case should make the prosecution buckle down and do the work they should do.

DD said...

"He therefore ordered the BNP to pay the costs of the hearing."

I wonder how much it was. Does anyone know?

Anonymous said...

"He therefore ordered the BNP to pay the costs of the hearing."

"I wonder how much it was. Does anyone know?"

Betya it wont appaer in the accounts!

Old Sailor

JokaJon said...


Thinking whilst smirking sly Gri££in, "I'll do a Matt Single and transfer all party funds to my own personal account, just in-case our court fines are means tested, lol".

Kev Scott love the jam said...

Would the nutzies counsel be this Jonathan O'Mahoney?:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like gri££in has chucked in the towel - or wants to at least.

(sorry for link but cant be bothered pasting all that rubbish)

Anonymous said...

If the BNP takes blacks and asians can we still chant "black and white unite and fight" and can the bnp still be called racist?

Anonymous said...

BNP to abandon ethnic nationalism and adopt cultural nationalism?

Anonymous said...

Things have moved on. Griffin & Barnes have both put posts on the bnp website & the excretable 21st Century British Nationalism 'Blog' effectively saying the constitution will be changed to comply with the law. In layman's terms they've thrown the towel in.


Anonymous said...

Pay cost how much is the victim publicity worth . Philips is a moron the BNP will change constitution then hide nazis in background while new all inclusive BNP propels the nazis to positions of power .

Ben Trunch said...

Costs will be assessed at the end of the case...

"Mr O'Mahoney told the court that the BNP had appointed a new legal team in the past week after dispensing with the services of its original solicitors, who had advised it not to contest the case."

Oh dear... This does not bode well for the Porcine Leader... Going against the advice of their lawyers and that already disclosed to the Court...

After reading about the antics of drunk driver and general all-round Nasty person, Bob Bailey, the sooner we see the demise of this rabble, the better.

Rabble, too mild - this disgrace to Britain and our Island race!

Anonymous said...

they will let blacks and asians join the party very soon before the next court appearence mark my words,but they will restrict power to members who have been in the party for minimum 15 years

eric the fish said...

It does look like they've thrown the towel in. sounds like Counsel's advice also went against them. They haven't the money to fight.

I share other people's misgivings about this action - fun as it is - I wonder about the repercussions for other one-group organizations.

My view(FWIW) is that as with Griffin's Holocaust denial, the fact that they do not want ethnic minorities in the party can be highlighted.

They will use this to seek victim status so I think it needs highlighting. Also the openly racist comments about Phillips on the official BNP site should be noted.

As others have also said, the BBC seems to have given them an easy ride (not our local BBC though) so it is up to us to counter any propaganda.

eric the fish said...

Not sure about 15 years. That would piss off newer members. Maybe an associate membership which effectively disenfranchises newbies and just takes money off them.

In any event, ordinary morons erm members have no power now, other than being able to buy special gold badges!

Another aspect to this is that clearly Griffin's begging letters do not provide much in the way of funds. Some are beginning to question all these demands in the light of throwing costs away through ineptitude.

I'm sure many rely upon sites like this for proper info rather than the puff on the official sites.

Strangely, the only comments published on the BNP site all praise NG for this decision yet before they all seemed to support fighting all the way.

eric the fish said...

In his latest email he seems ready to throw in the towel but still finds time to ask for £20K by next week and £80K in 4 weeks if his troops want to fight.

Interesting that they only managed a relatively junior counsel for the hearing (no disrespect to my learned friend, My O'Mahoney). Not sure if they retain a QC for the main hearing (if it should go ahead).

Wonder if there will be a schism developing among party faithful.

OT - there was a good email from someone called Billy read out on Radio Merseyside this lunch-time noting the irony of Tierney's appearance at L'pool Mags and 3rd September as the phone-in was about 'the day war broke out.'