The leader of far-right political group Britain First has been charged with an offence under the Terrorism Act after refusing to give police access to his phone.
Paul Golding was stopped at Heathrow Airport in October on his way back from a trip to the Russian Parliament in Moscow by officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.
He refused to give the pin codes for a number of his electronic devices.
Golding was later charged with refusing to comply with a duty under Schedule 7 of the act.
In a statement, Golding said he was not a terrorist and described the charges as “an abuse of legislation”.
Schedule 7 allows police to interrogate, search and detain anyone for up to six hours at UK ports without any suspicion that a person is involved in terrorism.
And while many people may not feel much sympathy with Golding, Schedule 7 is often abused and misused. As the Network for Police Monitoring pointed out:
Repulsive as Golding is to most people, the law allowing for the arrest and prosecution of people on a terrorism charge for refusing to give the police access to their phone is open to massive abuses of state power. It needs abolishing https://t.co/xRsdzU0guv
— Netpol (@netpol) February 21, 2020
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