A businessman who confronted British National Party members when they put a leaflet through his door has said he feels "vindicated" after being found not guilty of threatening the men.
Mohammed Latif, 38, was accused of swearing at Duncan Warner, 44, and Gerard Williams, 54, and calling them "Nazis" before trying to snatch their leaflets. But the business manager, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, who is married with two young children, insisted he did not use any foul language. And the court believed his version of events - that he was actually trying to hand the pamphlet back.
Mr Warner, organiser for the party's Stockport branch at the time, and Mr Williams, who has been a BNP member for five years, were delivering pamphlets on April 9 this year when the incident happened. The pair were distributing flyers in Broadstone Road, Stockport, when a "Muslim man" approached and asked if they were responsible for the material, Mr Warner told Stockport Magistrates' Court.
"I ignored his question and walked away. He came back and called us Nazi f***ers, and shouted "hey, I'm talking to you d***heads," he said. "I was very offended by this insult because members of my family died in the war fighting the Nazis."
But Mr Latif said he was handing the leaflet back because he did not want his wife or two young sons to see it. He said he only approached them to ask why they deliver leaflets without checking who lives in the houses.
"Maybe if I wanted to plaster my bedroom in BNP leaflets I might have taken them. I wanted a civil conversation. I didn't threaten to follow anyone home. In fact I told the police I was worried for my own safety, in case there were any reprisals," he said.
Speaking after the case, Mr Latif urged people to stand up for what they believe in. He said: "I feel vindicated. I was an innocent man who was dragged through the courts, causing a lot of distress to my family and friends. I do not want other people to go through what I have been through but everyone should try to find a voice to defend their beliefs. It is so important."
Huddersfield Daily Examiner