Archive

Tag Archives: Royal Anglian Regiment

Cpl Mikko Vehvilainen found not guilty over Breivik manifesto after admitting having CS gas

A serving British soldier who kept a photo of himself giving a Nazi-style salute has been cleared of a terrorism offence.

Cpl Mikko Vehvilainen, a white supremacist who collected a host of legally held weaponry, pleaded guilty to a separate charge of having a banned canister of CS gas, which he kept in a drawer at a property he was renovating in Llansilin, Powys.

A jury at Birmingham crown court cleared him of possession of a terrorism document – a charge that related to a manifesto by the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik – and two counts of stirring up racial hatred, relating to forum posts on a white nationalist website.

Vehvilainen, of the Royal Anglian Regiment, kept a homemade target dummy in the garage of his barracks home at Sennybridge Camp, Brecon, and had a container filled with 11 knives, knuckle-dusters, a face mask and a box of Nazi flags, all legally held.

He kept a licensed shotgun, a crossbow and bow and homemade arrows, he had wiring and electrical parts capable of being made into a crude electro-magnetic pulse device, and he customised army-issue body armour, spray-painting it black. He also had a Hitler Youth knife and an SS ceremonial dagger.

Vehvilainen wrote to two men jailed for race crimes, including a man convicted of making antisemitic remarks to the Labour MP Luciana Berger, telling them “there is still hope”. He wrote a draft of an extreme rightwing magazine he entitled Extinction, in which he railed against mixed-race relationships, “unnatural” homosexuality and “non-whites”.

Vehvilainen’s phone showed 900 visits to a white nationalist website, Cristogenea.org.

Vehvilainen’s barrister, Pavlos Panayi QC, told jurors at the start of the trial that it was “not in dispute that he [Vehvilainen] is a racist”, but he said it was not a crime simply to hold such views.

The prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC said that in collecting weapons Vehvilainen was “putting into effect his repeated call, quite literally, to arms on the part of those who, like him, wanted to create a white-only society”.

An entry in a notebook found at Vehvilainen’s address, read: “Be prepared to fight and die for your race in a possible last stand for our survival.”

Atkinson said: “The lists [of weapons], and indeed the substantial quantity of weaponry recovered from his address, reveal and speak to his intention to stockpile weapons and other equipment in preparation for the ‘race war’ that he spoke of.”

In Vehvilainen’s wardrobe, where he kept his uniform, police found a Nazi flag pinned to the inside of the door. When he opened the door for officers, he turned to them and said: “That’s what this is about, isn’t it?”

On his arrest on 5 September last year, Vehvilainen told his wife: “I’m being arrested for being a patriot.”

He was on trial alongside Pte Mark Barrett, 25, also of the Royal Anglians, and formerly of Kendrew barracks, Cottesmore, Rutland. Barrett was acquitted of a charge of membership of the proscribed far-right organisation National Action.

A 23-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was cleared of having Breivik’s manifesto but convicted of three other terrorism offences.

Vehvilainen and the 23-year-old will be sentenced on Friday.

The Guardian

Mikko Vehvilainen accused of membership of banned neo-Nazi group

 A court sketch of Mikko Vehvilainen, left, and Mark Barrett, centre, on trial at Birmingham Crown Court. (Image: Elizabeth Cook)

A court sketch of Mikko Vehvilainen, left, and Mark Barrett, centre, on trial at Birmingham Crown Court. (Image: Elizabeth Cook)

The “racist” views of an Army trainer and alleged recruiter for banned neo-Nazi group National Action do not make him a criminal, a jury has been told.

The barrister for 33-year-old Lance Corporal Mikko Vehvilainen told jurors on Wednesday it was “not in dispute that he is a racist”.

Pavlos Panayi QC said: “It is not disputed that he has written and said things which the vast majority of people will find utterly repulsive, about black people, Jews, Muslims and lots of other minority groups.

“It is not disputed he has associated with other racists, men and women, from what might be called the Far Right, that might include neo-Nazis, and other different groups of people.”

But he added that while the “groundbreaking case” would test the limits of free speech and freedom of association in Britain, Vehvilainen’s actions were not criminal.

Vehvilainen and fellow Royal Anglian Regiment soldier, 25-year-old Private Mark Barrett are both on trial accused of membership of the far-right organisation, which was banned by the government in December 2016

Also facing the same charge at Birmingham Crown Court is a 23-year-old male who cannot be named for legal reasons, but who was described in court as a “regional leader” for the group.

The jury heard how Vehvilainen had a host lawfully held weapons including “guns, knives and crossbows” which he kept at his Army accommodation in Sennybridge Camp, Powys.

Jurors were also told he had pleaded guilty to unlawfully having a canister of CS spray among those weapons.

Addressing the jury after the prosecution’s opening speech, Mr Panayi said: “In many ways this case is unprecedented because you have heard that National Action was the first far-right group to be banned since the Second World War and this is the first prosecution arising out of that ban.

“It is a groundbreaking case.”

He added: “This case will test the limits of free speech, the freedom to say what you think and the freedom to frighten, offend and discuss.”

The QC said: “You are, in the end, going to have to determine in this case where the boundary lies between L/Cpl Mikko Vehvilainen’s right to speak freely, to think what he chooses to, and associate with others who share his views and where that boundary lies.

“Whether it crosses over into the reaches of criminal law or not.”

Vehvilainen, who is married with children, is also accused of two counts of stirring up racial hatred through posts on the US-based Christogenea.org website, where he used the name NicoChristian.

He has been further charged with possessing a document likely to be of use to terrorists – a copy of white nationalist Anders Breivik’s manifesto.

Counsel for Barrett, of Dhekalia Barracks, Cyprus, where he lived with his wife and children, also told the jury the case was “not about assessing the morality of expressing prejudicial opinions all right-minded people might recoil from”.

Colin Aylott said: “Are the hallmarks of membership truly present in what he did, and how he expressed himself?

“Ask yourself – casual racist of committed fanatic?

“Because that is the issue you have to decide in this case.”

Addressing the court on behalf of the defendant who cannot be named, barrister Christopher Knox claimed National Action “did not exist” as an organisation after it was banned.

Mr Knox said of the 23-year-old: “We will submit to you that he is no terrorist.

“He was involved with National Action and he held views which he well understands you might find really distasteful, but those are views he was, and is, entitled to hold.”

The court heard that the male had made attempts to join the Army.
Birmingham Mail