BNP member fined over racist mail

Lockhart KneenAn internet trader who put racist stickers on packages has been fined after they were spotted by Muslim postal workers. The stickers, which had the statement “no more mosques” and a cartoon figure of a Muslim with a bomb exploding from his head, were found at the Royal Mail Centre, on Green Lane, Stockport.

Lockhart Kneen, of Braemore Drive, Hyde, was fined £150 and ordered to pay £115 costs for racially/religiously aggravated harassment. Kneen, 39, who sells political magazines for the BNP, claimed he put the stickers on the packages in protest against a “Tameside Super Mosque”.

The court was told Kneen became extremely aggressive when arrested and shouted racist abuse. He claimed was advised by a BNP leader that the stickers were not racist, but were illegal if put on public property.

“These parcels are my property and I live in a free country, so I decided to stick them on my property,” he said. “They’re going to move the war graves in Ashton and build a super mosque. There are people in Tameside bricking windows of mosques. I was protesting peacefully and I’m the one in court. I would have been better off throwing bricks.”

Mr Lake, defending, said: “It was an expression of freedom of speech. Freedom to express your views should not only include the inoffensive, but also the contentious, providing it does not provoke violence. And a freedom of speech that does not include the contentious is not worth having.”

Sentencing, District Judge Tim Devas, said: “I believe the defendant was aware of the distress his comments could have caused.”

Manchester Evening News, 15 October 2008