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Gregory Lauder-Frost.

A Borders community council chairman and political activist has fallen foul of race hate laws after a social media row with a 21-year-old student.

Gregory Lauder-Frost, 67, sent Isadora Sinha messages telling her to “go home” and saying she had “no right to be in our country or arguing with a superior race”.

As their online argument continued, he posted threats saying: “As the KGB say, you are on the list. Don’t get too comfortable.”

Lauder-Frost, founder and vice-president of the Traditional Britain Group, an organisation calling for members of ethnic minorities to be returned to what it describes as their natural homelands, tried to dismiss those remarks as “throwaway” comments as part of a Facebook debate.

He also claimed that he had been provoked.

However, following a trial at Jedburgh Sheriff Court last week, he was convicted of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner by posting offensive and racist comments likely to cause a reasonable person fear and alarm from his home in Mordington in Berwickshire last year.

A former leading light in the Monday Club, a right-wing Conservative Party pressure group, Lauder-Frost has courted controversy in the past with his extreme views.

He caused an outcry with his comments about Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, mother of the murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence and a campaigner against racism, referring to her as “anti-English” and not suitable for the House of Lords.

In 2013, Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg issued a public apology after attending a dinner hosted by the Traditional Britain Group, admitting it was “unquestionably a mistake” and describing the views of Lauder-Frost as “disgusting”.

This is the first time that the married father of two has been convicted of a criminal offence over his extreme political views, though, and his conviction at Jedburgh Sheriff Court is being seen as a message sent out by the Scottish legal authorities that racist and threatening remarks will not be tolerated on social media despite being notoriously difficult to prove.

He was fined £300 and ordered to pay £200 compensation to Ms Sinha after being found guilty of the racially-aggravated offence.

The trial heard evidence by video-link from Ms Sinha, a postgraduate genetics student at Cardiff University who describes herself as British-Indian despite being born in Hong Kong.

She explained how a video popped up up on her Facebook page from an Arthur Hargrave on British ethnicity which she commented on as she objected to the views being expressed.

A message then came up on April 25 last year sent from Lauder-Frost’s profile saying: “You are not British. You are someone of foreign ethnicity.”

Further such messages followed during the exchanges, with one saying: “It is not skin colour that matters, it is race. Your natural home lies out of the UK.”

“Please go back to your natural homeland instead of insulting us.”

Lauder-Frost later sent a picture of two light-skinned women saying: “Here are Caucasians,” adding afterwards: “I am not a white nationalist. I want to keep Britain British. If you are not ethnically British, you are not British.”

Other messages from his profile stated “you have no right to be in our country or arguing with a superior race” and “what do you think you are doing in my country?”

Lauder-Frost then sent more messages referring to “aliens” and “British haters” and urging her to “go home”.

He also said that non-Europeans should be returned to their natural homelands.

Ms Sinha responds to messages from both Lauder-Frost and Hargrave saying: “Both of you do not get the point. Try and research a bit more.”

She added another comment explaining why she feels she felt qualified to offer opinions, saying “considering I am a geneticist and have got an education in this. You two are just plain racist”.

Asked for her reaction to the views she was responding to, Ms Sinha replied: “Sadness, I suppose. I was taken a bit aback. I was not expecting it.”

However, she implied matters turned even more sinister when she received messages saying: “As the KGB say, you are on the list. Don’t get too comfortable.”

Asked for her interpretation of those comments, Ms Sinha said she took them as a threat, explaining: “No one has the right to make those kind of comments. The KGB killed people on their list. They tortured them and airbrushed them out of photos.

“Not only did he want me out of the country, he wanted me airbrushed from this country.

“I took the ‘don’t get too comfortable’ comment as a threat as well. The comments caused me to worry.”

Ms Sinha, who insisted she was proud to be British, rejected the suggestion that was a general view, saying that she was named in the comment and believed she was being targeted.

Under cross-examination from procurator fiscal Graham Fraser, Lauder-Frost gave his version of events about the Facebook exchange with the student 46 years his junior.

Asked if he had made the comment “please go home”, he replied: “Probably out of frustration.”

He continued: “She kept going on and on, and she was only halfway through a downmarket university course on genetics.

“I was insulted as she was lecturing us when she was making these comments.”

Asked to clarify what he meant about Cardiff’s being a downmarket university, Australian-born Lauder-Frost, holder of an Oxford University degree in modern history and a doctorate, said: “Some are better than others on a sliding scale, I am afraid.”

The pensioner pointed out he did not know who Ms Sinha was and had only found out about her when she responded to the Facebook thread and then checked her profile.

He added: “These debates are going on all the time on Facebook, and I don’t believe anyone takes them particularly seriously.

“Obviously, I have learned a lesson by being here today.

“Through this whole thread, I felt Miss Sinha was being very very provocative.”

When quizzed about his comment about her having no right to be in this country or argue with a superior race, he stated: “I felt she was arguing with the British and the Caucasians.

“She was an alien in this country, my country, and putting forth insulting arguments. She was postulating.”

Asked to explain his question “what are you doing in my country?” and his comment “go back to your natural home and stop insulting us”, he replied: “I was getting a bit tired. You get these throwaway comments on Facebook.

“It’s just amazing that this has ever reached court.

“It is a snowflake reaction. These are throwaway comments. I never meant for this girl to be abused or to be in fear. I don’t even know where she lives or anything about her.

“It is a debate or an argument. We are going down a dark path trying to regulate speech.

“I don’t see why you are singling me out.”

Mr Fraser, summing up for the prosecution, said: “The accused fully accepts he made the observations and he behaved in a way he knew would offend her.”

He highlighted the distress and upset caused by the messages adding: “He was responsible for that.”

Defence lawyer Robert More contended that his client had sent his messages in the context of being provoked but had stopped when asked to by Ms Sinha’s mother.

He said: “This was an intelligent young woman who was keen to get involved in a political debate but then, having been offended, decided to report the matter to the police.

“She did not stay out of the debate but continued.

“It does not prove there has been a contravention of section 38 of the act.”

Finding him guilty following a four-hour trial, sheriff Peter Paterson told Lauder-Frost he had crossed the line by making threatening comments which would have caused a reasonable person fear or alarm.

Regarding the racial element of the charge, he said: “The comments are racist. They clearly are.”

Sheriff Paterson gave Lauder-Frost three months to pay the fine and compensation in full.

Lauder-Frost, chairman of Foulden, Mordington and Lamberton Community Council, declined to comment on leaving court, though he has ince informed us that he intends to lodge an appeal.

Southern Reporter

Mark Meechan's clip was viewed more than three million times on YouTube

Mark Meechan’s clip was viewed more than three million times on YouTube


A man who was fined for posting an online video of a dog carrying out Nazi salutes has failed in a bid to challenge his conviction.

Mark Meechan recorded his girlfriend’s pug, Buddha, responding to statements such as “Sieg Heil” by raising its paw.

He was fined £800 at Airdrie Sheriff Court and had hoped to challenge the case at the highest court in the land.

But this has now been blocked by Scotland’s most senior judges.

Meechan, from Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, has raised more than £75,000 through an online appeal to help pay for the challenge.

The 31-year-old denied committing an offence under the Communications Act during a trial at Airdrie Sheriff Court last year but was found guilty of breaching it by posting the grossly offensive film.

He claimed that the video was only intended as a joke to upset his girlfriend.

Sheriff Derek O’Carroll fined him £800 and a subsequent attempt by Meechan to challenge his conviction at the Sheriff Appeal Court, where the judges are senior sheriffs, failed after it was rejected in the initial sifting process.

Meechan’s lawyers then raised a petition seeking to have the High Court use its powers to allow an appeal to be taken to the UK Supreme Court in London.

But Scotland’s senior judge, the Lord Justice General, Lord Carloway, sitting with the Lord Justice Clerk, Lady Dorrian, and Lord Menzies rejected the move, saying they had no powers to allow any further appeal in the circumstances of the case.

‘Consequences have been immense’

Meechan had sought to pursue a human rights appeal including a claim under article 10 which covers freedom of expression.

His senior counsel, Dorothy Bain QC argued that the petition was competent and necessary to advance the challenge brought by Meechan.

She said: “The consequences of his conviction for this breach of the Communications Act have been immense for him both professionally and personally.”

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC, for the Crown, counter argued that the Sheriff Appeal Court had exercised its powers in accordance with statute and called on the judges to refuse Meechan permission to appeal.

Meechan, who posts videos under the name Count Dankula, has a target of raising £100,000 to cover the cost of his appeal.

BBC News

A North Tyneside man who racially abused a train guard after refusing to pay his fare has been fined.

Sean Thomas McCurry, 39, of Harlow Avenue, Backworth, pleaded guilty to fare evasion and racially abusing the guard at Penrith station on Friday, January 12.

He was fined £160 by Carlisle magistrates and ordered to pay £115.90 in compensation, a victim surcharge of £30 and costs of £400.

The court heard how McCurry had boarded the late-running Trans Pennine service to Manchester Piccadilly at Penrith and sat in the first class carriage.

Shortly afterwards the guard began a routine ticket inspection. When he approached McCurry, he told him that he didn’t have a ticket and would not be buying one as the train was late. The guard repeatedly told him that he must buy a ticket but McCurry refused.

When McCurry left the train at Penrith, the guard told him that he would not be permitted to travel on any services he was working on in the future because he had refused to pay for his journey. McCurry responded with an expletive-filled racial slur.

The incident was reported to police and McCurry was arrested for fare evasion and a religiously-aggravated public order offence.

In police interview, McCurry boasted of his support for the British National Party and told of his hatred of Muslims.

Investigating officer PC Stuart Bingham said: “This was a loathsome verbal attack on someone who was just doing their job. Any abuse of this nature will not be tolerated whether directed at a member of the public or rail staff. Hate crime is not acceptable in any form.

“Despite everyone else on the service paying for a ticket, McCurry thought he was entitled to free travel – something he will now regret given he must fork out more than £700, a considerably larger sum than the original fare.”

Adam Swallow, British Transport Police liaison manager for TransPennine Express, said: “Any form of hate crime is totally unacceptable and instances of abuse towards our staff will not be tolerated. Everyone that travels by train should have a valid ticket or pass.

“We continue to work with the British Transport Police to ensure our colleagues and customers are safe and secure.”

News Guardian

Thomas Allen being led away by police during the demos in Sunderland

Thomas Allen being led away by police during the demos in Sunderland

A protester used his head as a weapon to charge at and injure a policeman battling to keep rivals apart during a mass demonstration in Sunderland city centre, a court heard.

Thomas Allen, 58, has been fined and ordered to pay the officer compensation by magistrates who scolded him for his actions.

They were told the unprovoked attack caused the PC to tumble to the ground, causing grazing to an arm.

Despite the assault, he was able to keep hold of Allen, of Hartside Road, Pennywell, Sunderland, who was arrested.

Even Allen’s defence solicitor admitted his client was still “hyped up” when later questioned at a police station.

Sentencing Allen, who is believed to be jobless, magistrates in South Tyneside criticised him for being part of trouble which led to three arrests on the day.

Democractic Football Lads Alliance protest through Sinderland City centre

Democractic Football Lads Alliance protest through Sinderland City centre

They said police had better things to do than wrestle with a man of his age during what should have been an entirely peaceful protest.

The court heard Allen was part of two marches organised by left and right wing groups which descended on the city on Saturday, September 15.

One was by Wearside-based Justice for the Women and Children Group, which was joined by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA).

A counter demonstration was held by Sunderland Unites and Stand Up To Racism North East, which included members of trade unions, political parties and politicians.

Trouble flared close to Keel Square when members of the DFLA ignored march stewards and tried to break through the police lines which separated them from the other group.

Prosecutor Lesley Burgess said: “The officer was in uniform and part of an incident ongoing in Sunderland city centre.

“He was keeping the peace between left and right wing activists. As part of the cordon, he was directing members of the protest.

“He instructed Mr Allen to continue on his way and in the direction of where the demonstration was a heading.

“Mr Allen took no notice. He ducked his head and charged at the officer into his stomach.

“The officer says that he had no regard for him and forced him to fall backwards, and they were both forced to the floor together.

“He kept hold of him and got a graze to his elbow.”

Harry Burn, defending, described Allen, who admitted one charge of assault when he appeared in court, as “hyped up” even after his arrest.

He said his client had denied the offence when interviewed, but admitted he might have pushed the policeman.

Mr Burn said: “It was not nice for the police officer. But the injury is what it is, it’s a graze to an arm.

“It’s not too serious. He hasn’t needed medical support, but it was his job and he didn’t need that to happen.

“Mr Allen apologises to the officer and to the court.”

Magistrates fined Allen £80 – reduced from £120 due to his guilty plea – and ordered him to pay £100 compensation to the officer.

He must also pay a £30 victim surcharge and £85 court costs, with the entire amount being paid at £10 a week.

Sunderland Echo

AN ACCRINGTON dog owner who let his pets foul outside the council’s main office building has been told to pay more than £500.

Nigel Hesmondhalgh was convicted after council staff spotted one of his three dogs — none of which were on a lead — defecating in the garden area outside Scaitcliffe House, in Ormerod Street.

The 41-year-old, who lives in Ormerod Street, also allowed one of the dogs to foul on a grass verge further up the street, Blackburn Magistrates’ Court heard. He did not pick the mess up on either occasion.

The incidents were caught on CCTV and Hesmondhalgh was issued with two fixed penalty notices, which he failed to pay.

Hyndburn Council said he also ignored enforcement officers when they tried to talk to him about the matter on several occasions. Hesmondhalgh failed to turn up in court and so was convicted in his absence. He was fined £200 plus £20 victim surcharge, and ordered to pay £281.96 in prosecution costs.

Cabinet member for environmental services, Coun Paul Cox, said: “There is no excuse for not picking up after your dog. We have plenty of dog bins around the borough.

“This case highlights that there is an irresponsible minority who fail to pick up faeces left by dogs in public places, which is not only unpleasant, but can also transmit disease to other dogs and humans.

This case sends a strong message to irresponsible dog owners.

“We take a tough line on this kind of offence and will take people to court if necessary.”

Residents are offered £50 rewards for information on dog owners who allow their pets to foul public spaces, as part of a council drive to tackle dog fouling, subject to conditions.

To report anyone you witness allow-ing their dog to foul in a public place or any other dog related offence, call the council on 01254 388111
Lancashire Telegraph.

From 2014

Gavin Fowler called for the “extermination” of all Muslims on newspaper Facebook page.

A man who posted pro-Hitler comments on a newspaper forum has been fined £1000.

Gavin Fowler posted online abuse calling for the “extermination” of all Muslims after permission was granted to build a new mosque in Perth.

He posted the comment on a local newspaper web forum during a debate about a proposed march against the mosque by the Scottish Defence League.

Fowler, 60, said he wished Adolf Hitler would return and lead the cull.

Sheriff Lindsay Foulis said: “It would be bad enough if this comment had come from someone in their teens or early 20s.

“It would still be extremely offensive, but at least it might be put down to ignorance.

“But being the age you are, born in the 1950s, I find it hard to believe you would not have a modicum of knowledge of recent history.

“It was published in a way that others would read it and without thinking that they might be influenced by it.”

Fowler admitted posting a bigoted message aggravated by religious prejudice on August 4 last year when he appeared at Perth Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

Defence solicitor Linda Clark said: “He acts impulsively and without thinking through the consequences of his behaviour to himself or others.

“He is genuinely remorseful and embarrassed by his conduct. He is 60 and has never come to the attention of the police or the court before.”

STV

Defendant, 20, reacted after counter-protester chucked firework during demonstration organised by Stoke-on-Trent Infidels

‘Abusive’ Britain First supporter David Davis ran at a police line and shoved an officer in the chest during a far-right protest.

The 20-year-old attended the Burslem protest which was organised by Stoke-on-Trent Infidels and featured Britain First leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen.

But the father-of-one became angry when a counter-protester threw a firework towards the Swan Square crowd during the ‘rally against grooming’ demonstration.

Now Davis, of Leek New Road, Cobridge, has admitted assaulting PC Stuart Fellhouse.

Britain First supporter David Davis being arrested at far-right rallyBritain First supporter David Davis being arrested at far-right rally

Britain First supporter David Davis being arrested at far-right rally

North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard the rally took place on October 28. Police have previously stressed more arrests will be made following last month’s protest.

“Davis pushed the PC with both his hands in the middle of the chest before jumping back into the crowd. He was then put on the floor by another officer and arrested.

“The defendant accepted he should not have done it and said he pushed the officer because he wanted to get to the other crowd.”

Britain First supporter David Davis is wrestled to the floor by police

Britain First supporter David Davis is wrestled to the floor by police

Scott Ashdown, mitigating, told the court that the defendant has started an anger management course. He is already subject to a 12-month community order for a racially-motivated offence and has been working with the probation service.

PC Fellhouse was not injured in the incident and called for a community order to teach him about other beliefs and cultures.

The defendant was handed a 12-month community order.

Magistrate Vivian Patterson said: “It is to your credit that you have been complying with the probation service but you have found yourself in court for assaulting a police officer. You know it is wrong and we are making you subject to the community order so you do more work with the probation service.”

Davis must also pay £135 court costs, an £85 victim surcharge, a £50 fine, and £30 compensation to PC Fellhouse.

Stoke Sentinel

A 29-YEAR-OLD man who was trying to get taxi drivers to discuss his extremist views ended up being arrested when he failed to comply with a police request to move on.

Samuel Madden, of Lower Hollin Bank Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly in Railway Road, Blackburn. He was fined £100 with £85 costs and £30 victim surcharge.

The court heard Madden had a can of beer in his hand when he was trying to engage the taxi drivers in a debate. He took exception when police took the can off him and became abusive.

Jonathan Taylor, defending, said his client realised he had been stupid.

“He didn’t take kindly to having his can taken off him,” said Mr Taylor. “He is a different person when he is in drink.”

Lancashire Telegraph

DARREN Fee, 41, of Falmouth Road, Alvaston, was given a one-year restraining order, was fined £165 and was ordered to pay £300 costs, a £520 criminal courts charge and a £20 victim surcharge for using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress that was racially aggravated in Derby on April 19.

Derby Telegraph