Michael Coleman, leader of the British National Party (BNP) in Stoke-on-Trent, has been found guilty of racially-aggravated harassment. Sentencing will be on 28th September. No bail restrictions have been placed on him until then.
The 46-year-old was reported to police by Labour Cllr Joy Garner, now running for Police Commissioner in Staffordshire, after two blogs he posted, one in response to the 2011 London riots appeared online and the other about Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
Cllr Garner had been asked to read the blog posts by a member of the public.
Mr Coleman admitted to the court that he wrote the posts on the website Stokepatriot.blogspot.com on August 9 and September 12 2011, but had denied that he intended to cause harassment, alarm or distress. Both the post were read out to the court.
Cllr Garner told thecourt:
“I couldn’t believe it. It really angered me. I felt real disgust.”
In one of the post, the father of three, wrote about the London riots:
“London darkies have reacted with violence. The darkies have exposed their true nature in siding with criminality.”
In another post about Stoke-on-Trent he wrote:
“The ultimate outcome will be a city with no jobs, 100 mosques, a massive crime wave and thousands of very poor elderly folk.”
Coleman had voluntarily attended a police interview following Cllr Garner’s complaint. He was later charged by Staffordshire Police with intending to cause racially-aggravated harassment, alarm or distress by displaying writing, a sign or other representation, which was threatening, abusive or insulting.
Coleman explained to the court that he used the website to express his personal views and communicate with BNP members:
“We had been warned against using the word ‘black’ in the party. Instead of using that ‘darkie’ came to mind. It’s a good old English word, I’m a good old English boy. If people are offended I’m sorry.”