An English Defence League member who threatened two elderly asian men has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
Darren Buck, 50, was involved in the demonstration with the far-right group in Halifax town centre on April 16. Calderdale Magistrates Court heard how around 200 EDL members turned out for the demonstration which they claimed was in protest at two of their number being attacked the week before.
At around 2.30pm police reported that a large gathering of protestors were congregating outside The Plummet Line pub, Bull Close Lane, Halifax, and were trying to break through the police line. It was at this time that officers saw Buck, a former sheet metal worker, acting aggressively towards the two elderly asian men. Officers said he was seen trying to punch the two men but he missed and was consequently arrested.
Buck was interviewed by police and admitted the offence saying he was demonstrating to show solidarity with his fellow members. He also told them he had been an EDL member for about a year but didn’t have any racist beliefs.
Buck pleaded guilty to a charge of using insulting or abusive language with the threat of violence.
Judith Poole, chair of the magistrates, said: “We feel this offence is so serious that only custody is appropriate. You were part of a group of 200 people, over 200 police officers had to be in attendance and it was a Saturday afternoon with a lot of people around who must have been really frightened.”
Buck, from Wombwell, Barnsley, was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison which was suspended for 12 months. He will be subject to a curfew on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 9pm for 20 weeks and must pay costs of £85.