Page last updated at 13:56 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Man cleared of BNP racial abuse

Nick Griffin
Nick Griffin was demonstrating in Burnley with other party members

A man accused of racially abusing British National Party (BNP) leader Nick Griffin has been cleared.

A jury at Preston Crown Court took just 45 minutes to find Tauriq Khalid not guilty of using racially abusive threatening behaviour.

The 23-year-old was accused of shouting derisory comments at Mr Griffin and fellow BNP members outside Burnley police station last November.

Mr Griffin said he "would not lose any sleep" over the verdict.

Mr Khalid had admitted shouting "get out of Burnley" but denied being racist.

He said his actions had been "spur of the moment". He admitted sticking two fingers up at the BNP members, but denied any racial motivation.

"I think it's unfortunate and I think it's wrong but that's the jury's right. They saw all the evidence, I accept their decision
Nick Griffin, BNP leader

Mr Griffin had accused Mr Khalid of making a gun gesture towards him as he drove past him, but Mr Khalid had strongly denied the BNP leader's accusations.

He told the jury he stopped his silver Vauxhall Astra and swore at him while making the V-sign with his fingers.

Mr Griffin, however, claimed he was being sworn at by the young Asian man because he was white.

Although he did not hear everything that Mr Khalid said, he told the jury he interpreted his words as a threat to kill or shoot him, prompting him to leave the demonstration fearing for his safety.

Mr Khalid declined to comment as he left court.

Mr Griffin said the verdict was "unfortunate" but that he accepted the jury's decision.

"I think it's unfortunate and I think it's wrong but that's the jury's right," he said. "They saw all the evidence, I accept their decision.

"I know that man threatened me without a shadow of a doubt but he, or his defence counsel, have managed to convince them otherwise.

"I know it's the wrong decision - juries sometimes get it wrong - but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it."

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