A BNP activist from Lancashire who wrote and distributed leaflets which blamed Muslims collectively for the heroin trade has been cleared of intending to incite religious hatred.
Anthony Bamber, 54, told a jury his intention was to create a debate about the "crime against humanity" that was the flow of the drug on to Britain's streets. He was responsible for heading a campaign which sent up to 30,000 of the leaflets by hand or post to targeted areas and individuals throughout the north of England over a 12-month period.
Bamber, of Greenbank Street, Preston pleaded not guilty to seven counts of distributing threatening written material intended to stir up religious hatred between March and November 2008. He was cleared by a jury at Preston Crown Court of all seven counts.
Representing himself, Bamber said there had been "no unpleasant incidents or social unrest" following the sending of the leaflets. Giving evidence last week, he explained they were targeted at educated professionals such as teachers, doctors, lawyers and clerics who were unlikely to take physical retribution against Muslims upon reading the literature. His aim was to create curiosity and interest which would then lead to a debate, he said.
The former part-time lecturer of politics and economics at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston said: "It was a desire to protest at what I say is a monstrous abomination. I believe I have the right to protest about the heroin trade.
"There are 400,000 heroin users in this country which is the equivalent of the size of a city like Liverpool. Half of these people are going to die. I wanted to scream out, I wanted society to pay much more attention to the heroin trade. It is ignored."
He added: "I do not want religious war, I do not want people to hate. I intended to do something about the heroin trade. I was not a monster stirring up religious hatred. I think it should be discussed and debated, and it will come (round) to my opinion that it is a crime against humanity. I believe I was doing a good thing."
Opening the case, David Perry QC, prosecuting, said the leaflets were filled with "hate speech" in which the obvious intention was to provoke hatred of Muslims.
Following the verdict, Detective Supt Neil Hunter, of Lancashire Constabulary's Force Major Investigation Team, said: "While we are disappointed with today's decision, we accept the decision of the court. We have worked very closely with the Crown Prosecution Service throughout this inquiry and careful consideration was given before any decision to charge was made."
Lancashire Evening Post