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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 November 2006, 13:57 GMT
Rowdy scenes for race hate trial
Nick Griffin [left] and Mark Collett arrive at court in Leeds
Nick Griffin and Mark Collett were greeted by supporters outside court
British National Party leader Nick Griffin was heckled by protesters and cheered by flag-waving supporters as he arrived at court for a race hate trial.

Amid rowdy scenes outside Leeds Crown Court, he and his co-accused, BNP activist Mark Collett, greeted party members waving Union flags and banners.

Mr Griffin, 46, from mid-Wales, is charged with using words or behaviour intended to stir up racial hatred.

Mr Collett, 24, of Leicestershire, faces four similar charges.

The pair were charged in April 2005 after the BBC screened a secretly-filmed documentary "The Secret Agent" in 2004.

Mr Griffin was filmed making a speech in Keighley, West Yorkshire. The charges faced by Mr Collett relate to two speeches he made.

You will hear...speeches on the Muslim religion and issues of racism together with criticism of elements of present government policy
Judge Norman Jones QC

Surrounded by police and minders, the pair kissed and shook hands with supporters during an extended walkabout.

Protesters chanting "smash the BNP" and "black and white, unite and fight" jeered and heckled him and sounded foghorns.

About 50 police officers kept the two groups apart and helped to clear the way for the pair to enter court for their re-trial.

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Norman Jones QC, warned the jury that the case involved "both politics and issues relating to criminal law".

Anti-BNP protesters outside Leeds Crown Court
Anti-BNP protesters made their feelings known outside court

He said: "You will hear in the course of the evidence that is given strong criticism and speeches on the Muslim religion and issues of racism, together with criticism of elements of present government policy.

"Members of the jury, such criticism can sometimes raise conflicts in people's minds.

"It is very important that the jury who are selected to try this case try it as it is, that is the charges brought that the defendants have committed criminal acts."

The judge told the jury to ignore any leaflets handed to them on the way into court and to destroy any they had already been given.

He added: "There's a deal of demonstrations outside today. You must not allow that in any way to influence you."

The trial was adjourned until Friday when the prosecution will open the case.




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