As Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen begin their time behind bars, they might contemplate the tired but true adage that actions have consequences. Their misinformed hate campaign following an incident at a takeaway in Margate ended with them in jail. Next month they are due in court in Belfast - maybe by videolink - on similar charges. That may result in a similar outcome. And it will not be over for them even then.
That is because, in addition to the criminal law, there is the small matter of a looming court case arising from a libel claim made against them. Golding and Ms Fransen are once again facing those consequences which have arisen from their actions. This time, they are looking at a legal bill which will extend well into six figures, together with a claim which is expected to cost them at least £100,000. So what did they do to provoke that?
The claim form gives you all the information needed. The claimants in the action are the Halal Food Authority in North London, plus two others whose details are redacted. The defendants are Paul Golding and Jayda Kaleigh Fransen. And what has provoked the action is a YouTube video posted, it seems, by the Britain First duo.
Here’s the main event: “The claimants claim for libel arising out of a video published or caused to be published online by the Defendants (personally, and in their capacity as leader and deputy leader of Britain First) to a massive audience of persons unknown on or around 2 February 2016 including at [URL] under the title ‘Britain First Anti-Halal Campaigning Supermarkets across the Nation’ which falsely alleged that the claimants were involved in funding Islamic terrorism”. There was more.
“The claimants all claim for general and aggravated damages for libel, and also seek an injunction to prevent further publication … The First Claimant further claims special damages in the sum of £43,361 plus interest … the Second and Third Claimants further claim for breach of statutory duty by the Defendants under s.4(4) of the Data Protection Act 1998 …giving rise to a claim for damages under s.13 DPA … The Claimants also seek their legal costs of this action”. And the amount expected to be awarded?
“The Claimants expect to recover more than £100,000”. The amount claimed is described as “Up to £500,000”. Note that the Court Fee has already put £10,000 on the bill. Legal costs will be added to those amounts, and if the Claimants have employed the services of a specialist libel lawyer, they will be well into six-figure territory.
So in addition to being jailed yesterday, and the consequently increased likelihood that they may be jailed next month by the court in Belfast, Golding and Ms Fransen face being cleaned out by a libel action which has arisen purely out of their own actions. Accusing business people and their trade body of being involved in terrorism is a serious claim to make, and if they made it, they should have been able to back it up.
No doubt the Britain First brains trust will cry “victimisation” and pretend that the duo are being “hounded” for merely speaking the truth. But in the real world, hate speech and gratuitous defamation just to advance the agenda of bigotry is not acceptable.
The Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen Wild West show is running out of road. Good.