Page last updated at 13:52 GMT, Tuesday, 1 September 2009 14:52 UK

Ex-BNP man fined over names leak

Matthew Single outside court
Single published names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses

A former member of the British National Party has been fined £200 after admitting publishing names and contact details of 10,000 party members online.

Matthew Single, 37, formerly of Church Lane, Brinsley, Notts, was fined by Nottingham magistrates after admitting disclosing data without consent.

Judge John Stobart said the fine was "low" because Single was on benefits.

A BNP spokesman branded the sentence "an absolute disgrace" and said Single should have been jailed.

District Judge Stobart also ordered Single to pay £100 towards the cost of the prosecution.

Revenge attacks

The names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of some party supporters were leaked in November.

The judge told Single: "Anything that is posted on the internet has the effect of opening a Pandora's box.

"What you put on the internet can never be taken from it and while there may be some members in this organisation who do not deserve to be protected by the law, they should be able to expect that officers within the organisation will not abuse the information provided to them.

There was pretty serious stuff after what happened. People were fearful for their safety
Det Sgt Chris Reynolds

"The law exists to save people from such revenge attacks."

Judge Stobart added: "It came as a surprise to me, as it will to many members of the party, that to do something as foolish and as criminally dangerous as you did will only incur a financial penalty.

"It comes as no surprise to me that somebody to do with an organisation that prides itself on Britishness is in fact living off the British people on Job Seeker's Allowance and that is why the fine is so low as to be ridiculous."

'Honest people'

The charges were dropped against Single's wife, Sadie Graham-Single. Single, an unemployed engineer, was accused in November 2008 of leaking the BNP's membership list in an online blog.

Among the members named were current and former servicemen, teachers, doctors and a police officer.

The court heard the couple had relocated to the south of England and the judge upheld an order preventing their new address being released.

Generic van
The BNP complained about the online leak

Mrs Graham-Single, 30, a recruitment consultant who has one 14-month-old child and is expecting twins, was not in court.

The court heard the couple began their relationship while both were party members.

Single trained BNP members in security while his wife was head of group development for the party nationally and was a councillor.

The court heard she gave him the information which he then released.

When police raided his home they found a laptop computer and two memory sticks, which were wrapped in cellophane and hidden at the bottom of a cereal box.

Computer analysis linked the computer to the online blog.

Outside court after the sentencing Single criticised the BNP leadership but said "the BNP at grassroots level has some very good and honest people".

It's an absolute disgrace. As far as I'm concerned, it should have been a custodial sentence
John Walker, BNP spokesman

He said the party had become centred around its leader, Nick Griffin.

Det Sgt Chris Reynolds said he was disappointed with the result.

Mr Reynolds said: "There was pretty serious stuff after what happened. People were fearful for their safety.

"There was an arson attack on a vehicle, there were daubings and malicious communications. White powder was also put through people's letterboxes purporting to be anthrax and there were daubings of swastikas on garage doors and on homes."

It was disclosed in court that more than 160 complaints were made nationally to police following attacks on BNP members and their property.

Pair expelled

The police investigation was launched after BNP party leader Nick Griffin lodged a complaint with Dyfed-Powys Police, his local force, on the grounds that publishing the list breached human rights and data protection laws.

BNP spokesman John Walker said some of the party's members were now considering civil cases against Single and his wife.

He said they had both been expelled from the party in late 2007 after sending out a mailshot to members containing their details.

The BNP leadership then obtained a court order banning them both from publishing the list, Mr Walker said.

Mr Walker added: "It's an absolute disgrace. As far as I'm concerned, it should have been a custodial sentence although I do know that there haven't been very many cases brought yet.

"There have been some real victims in this case. People had their homes attacked and some people have lost their jobs."

Advertisement

A former BNP member is fined for breaking Data Protection laws



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Pc on BNP member list suspended
20 Nov 08 |  Merseyside
BNP members 'targeted by threats'
19 Nov 08 |  UK Politics
Unions push to expel BNP members
05 Nov 08 |  UK Politics

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific