Joshua Bonehill-Paine

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Joshua Bonehill-Paine
Born
Joshua Mark John Bonehill-Paine

(1992-12-07) 7 December 1992 (age 26)[1]
Criminal statusImprisoned
Conviction(s)
Criminal penalty

Joshua Bonehill-Paine[2] (born 7 December 1992, also known as Joshua Bonehill) is an English far-right nationalist, internet troll, and convicted criminal from Yeovil, Somerset. Styling himself as a "nationalist, fascist, theorist and supporter of white rights",[3] he ran a blog called The Daily Bale ("Britons Against Left-wing Extremism") which published several racist and anti-immigration hoaxes, as well as false accusations against his opponents.[4] He has described himself as "a proud anti-Semite".[5]

Bonehill-Paine's online activity has led to criminal charges being brought against him for harassment, antisemitic commentary and hoaxing, including a 2013 online hoax that led to the owners of a Leicester pub receiving death threats,[6] and other false accusations, for which he received a suspended prison sentence.[4] He was described as an "internet troll" by the prosecutor at a 2014 court hearing. He was arrested in June 2015 for inciting racial hatred against Jews, for which he was found guilty in December, receiving a jail sentence of three years and four months.[7] In 2016, he was sentenced to two years in prison for racially-aggravated harassment to be served in addition to his first sentence,[8] and was serving his sentence at HM Prison Wayland.[9]

Early activities[edit]

A former public schoolboy and briefly a Conservative Party member,[10] Bonehill-Paine was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 100 hours' unpaid work and supervision by the probation service, following an incident on 11 March 2011 in which he broke into and burgled a police station in Chard, Somerset, using his Conservative Party membership card, while drunk.[11][12] He was discovered by a constable outside the station in the early hours wearing a police uniform, and noted their poor security.[11] He resisted efforts to arrest him, assaulting two officers in the process, and was found guilty of the offences of burglary, assault and criminal damage, also pleading guilty to criminal damage committed on 30 March to a flower bed in Yeovil.[10][11][12]

In 2013, Bonehill-Paine announced plans to lead a "Stand Strong" march in Woolwich, a month after the murder of Lee Rigby, describing it as a protest against "extremism, terrorism and oppression".[13]

In February 2014, Bonehill-Paine appeared in court in Yeovil on charges of malicious communications on Facebook which he had made about the UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage in the previous October.[14] That September, Bonehill-Paine announced that he was in the process of registering a political party in Yeovil, called the National British Resistance party. He described it as having "ambitions to replace the British National Party and gain mainstream support", with the intention of contesting elections in 2015.[2] Also that year, he released a video of himself speaking at a British National Party meeting, delivering a call to "rise up and stand up as one white race united" to a small group of people in a pub.[15] By 2015, he was reportedly a member of National Action.[5]

Criminal acts[edit]

Malicious claims on blog[edit]

Bonehill-Paine's blog, The Daily Bale, ran hoax stories which were repeated as fact on social media. A story from The Daily Bale went viral in August 2013, falsely reporting that The Globe pub in Leicester had refused to admit members of the armed forces, so as not to offend immigrants. People who had read the story threatened the pub with arson and its staff with murder. Bonehill-Paine stated in an interview that his intention was to create "a shocking campaign" that people would "share quickly on social media". Security expert Graham Cluley called the stunt "utterly irresponsible and frankly moronic".[16] In April 2014, Bonehill-Paine was sentenced to 180 hours of unpaid work and two years supervision for malicious communications over this incident.[17] A year later, for breaching this community order, magistrates added another 10 hours of unpaid work to the sentence.[18]

In February 2014, a hoax story about a six-year-old girl from Croydon being kidnapped by an Asian child grooming gang was shared on social media.[19] A September 2014 story made false claims about an Asian youth punching a baby and throwing it against a wall, which Bonehill-Paine later said had been written by an English Defence League member and published "without researching the actual article first".[16] The next month, Bonehill-Paine's blog spread a hoax that a Somali immigrant with Ebola had gone missing in Leicester. A fake NHS poster making this claim was publicised by Bonehill-Paine's website, reportedly distributed by one of his supporters in Leicester, and seen in a medical centre in the city.[20]

In October 2014, he pleaded guilty to charges of malicious communications and harassment relating to articles on his Daily Bale blog falsely claiming that innocent people were paedophiles, drug dealers or religious zealots. During one hearing, he took issue with being called an "Internet troll" by the prosecutor, Dafydd Paxton.[21] Sentencing was postponed until 12 January 2015 due to other "very serious" investigations involving him, including alleged incitement to racial hatred against a Member of Parliament,[22] and later postponed again until 5 February.[23] The hearing eventually took place on 9 February 2015, when he was given a three-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months, in addition to 80 hours' unpaid work and ten sessions of "education, training and employment". He was ordered to pay £85 costs and a victim surcharge of £80.[4]

Public order offences and tweets to Jack Monroe[edit]

In February 2015, Bonehill-Paine was due to be charged in St Albans under s.38 of the Public Order Act 1986,[24] the "contamination of goods", for publishing an article on his website suggesting that fruit and vegetables from Tesco were infected with Ebola.[25] The offence carries a maximum 10-year sentence.[24] In October 2015, he was tried at Stevenage Magistrates' Court for "misusing a public computer network to propagate grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing material" in two online articles, one being the Tesco Ebola hoax and the other encouraging the immediate killing of disabled babies for the purpose of eugenics. The district judge cleared him of both charges citing the freedom of speech guaranteed by the Human Rights Act.[26]

In April 2015, Bonehill-Paine claimed to have been the man arrested and released on bail on suspicion of sending "hate" tweets to Jack Monroe, a Guardian columnist.[27][28] The tweets were made by a hoax account purporting to be from a former UKIP candidate, and UKIP reported the account to the police.[27] In a statement on his website, Bonehill-Paine did not admit responsibility, but said that the tweets were "of a comical nature and [I] commend the level of free speech used".[27]

In May 2015, Bonehill-Paine pleaded not guilty to a charge of harassment after it was alleged that he had left a swastika in the home of a Hertfordshire woman with whom he had spent two nights, describing it as a gift that had been touched by Adolf Hitler, before sending her a string of abusive messages and letters and asking her to become "his Eva". The case was adjourned until 15 July.[29]

Antisemitic protests[edit]

In January 2015, Bonehill-Paine called for a "mass protest" in March that year against what he perceived as the "complete Jewification" of Stamford Hill in north London, an area with the UK's largest ultra-orthodox Charedi population,[5] with particular focus on the volunteer neighbourhood watch group, Shomrim, which he falsely asserts is an illegal religious police force.[3] The Community Security Trust (CST) was in talks with local police, and local Jewish leaders were described as calm about the threat. Dave Rich, a CST spokesman said that Bonehill-Paine had "a long record of racist provocation and antisemitic abuse but he doesn't have much record of being able to mobilise large numbers of people on the street".[3] Bonehill-Paine's protest was later cancelled due to lack of support.[30]

In February 2015, Bonehill-Paine was arrested by police officers investigating allegations of inciting racial hatred relating to "two visual and written publications on the internet", and released on bail. He was arrested on suspicion of "racially aggravated harassment and malicious communications".[31]

In June 2015, Bonehill-Paine announced his intention to join a New Dawn Party demonstration[32] in Golders Green, an area of north London with a large Jewish minority, on Saturday 4 July 2015. Bonehell stated his intention to destroy Israeli flags by hand and tread upon them (believing that by not burning the flags he could "avoid prosecution") and said he would be burning copies of the Talmud, a Jewish holy book, in a "private ceremony".[33] Posts to Bonehill-Paine's website featured Auschwitz-Birkenau imagery and said that the demonstration would be an "absolute gas".[34] On 25 June, he was arrested by the Metropolitan Police and charged with inciting racial hatred contrary to the Public Order Act 1986.[35] Four days later, he was remanded in custody at Westminster Magistrates' Court.[36] He was refused bail at a Southwark Crown Court hearing on 13 July.[37] At the next hearing on 21 September, he pleaded "absolutely not guilty" and was again remanded in custody.[38]

The trial began at Southwark Crown Court on 14 December 2015. Mark Weekes for the prosecution described a poster on Bonehill-Paine's website which he invited visitors to print off to publicise the intended march on 4 July. The poster included an image of Auschwitz and a stereotyped cartoon of a Jewish man being sprayed with weedkiller, under the slogan "Join us on July 4 for what promises to be an absolute gas!" with an SS lightning bolt in the ‘O’ of Golders Green. Weekes said the poster "trivialises and mocks the death of millions of Jews during the Third Reich" and considered the use of Nazi imagery in reference to an area with a large Jewish population to be "incitement".[39] On 16 December, Bonehill-Paine was convicted of inciting racial hatred against Jews.[40] He was sentenced to three years and four months imprisonment.[7]

Bonehill-Paine was held at HM Prison Manchester and HM Prison Wandsworth. In January 2016, he was investigated by the Prison Service for letters to fans, inside envelopes with drawings of Hitler, the September 11 attacks and Harold Shipman. In the letters, he mocked taxpayers for the £120,000 costs of holding him in prison and spoke of plans to stand for election as a member of parliament in Bradford when eligible five years after his release.[41] The Appeal Court upheld the length of Bonehill-Paine's sentence in May 2016.[42] He also spoke of a desire to run for MP of Yeovil, his home constituency, in order to build a "rural utopia" that would "ignite the fire" to spread throughout the country.[43]

Harassment of Luciana Berger[edit]

In October 2014, Bonehill-Paine was investigated by police over antisemitic comments about the Labour MP Luciana Berger published on his website, after Garron Helm, a member of National Action, was imprisoned for sending antisemitic messages to her.[44]

On 15 February 2015, it was reported that Bonehill-Paine had been arrested on suspicion of having sent antisemitic tweets to Berger.[31] On 14 June 2016, he was charged with the racially or religiously aggravated harassment of Berger between October 2014 and February 2015.[45] At a hearing at the Old Bailey on 19 July 2016, with Bonehill-Paine participating via a video link, he was sent for trial.[46]

The trial began on 5 December 2016. The court was told that Bonehill-Paine had posted five "hateful and insulting" articles about the woman he blamed for the jailing of a far-right extremist he regarded as a comrade.[47] His defence counsel said Bonehill-Paine would not be giving evidence at the trial, but asserted that the defendant in posting his "pathetic, puerile rubbish" was, however, living in a country "where everyone is entitled to a voice".[48]

On 7 December 2016, Bonehill-Paine was convicted of racially-aggravated harassment.[49] The following day, he was imprisoned for two years,[50] this new custodial term to be added to the existing sentence. A criminal behaviour order was imposed to restrict his internet use after his eventual release, including the barring of any attempt to contact Berger and other listed individuals, and the police were authorised to monitor his online activities for five years.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Genes Reunited (2015). "Joshua Bonehill-Paine's birth record". Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b Easland, RP (13 September 2014). "Yeovil man Joshua Bonehill-Paine appears in court over false claims". Western Gazette. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Booth, Robert (2 February 2015). "Police alerted to planned march against 'Jewification' of north London borough". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Yeovil man Joshua Bonehill-Paine handed three-month suspended prison sentence for posting "malicious" content online". Western Gazette. 9 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  5. ^ a b c Annalies Winny "Stamford Hill anti-Jewish rally", Hackney Citizen, 2 February 2015
  6. ^ Fagan, Ciaran (25 April 2014). "Joshua Bonehill-Paine sentenced for online slur against Leicester's Globe pub". Leicester Mercury. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Joshua Bonehill-Paine jailed for more than three years for inciting hatred against Jews". The Jewish Chronicle. 17 December 2015. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  8. ^ a b Simpson, Fiona (8 December 2016). "Jailed: Neo-Nazi Joshua Bonehill-Paine who subjected MP Luciana Berger to 'vile' anti-Jewish abuse". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  9. ^ Siddle, John (22 June 2016). "Man charged with race-hate harassment of Liverpool MP Luciana Berger". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  10. ^ a b Alleyne, Richard (4 August 2011). "Young Tory broke into a police station and stole inspectors uniforml". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  11. ^ a b c Bruxelles, Simon de (5 August 2011). "Young Tory burgled police station". The Times. Retrieved 21 August 2016. (subscription required)
  12. ^ a b "Drunken Somerset teenager burgled police". Western Gazette. 4 August 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
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  14. ^ Sherborne, W.G. (6 February 2014). "Yeovil man Joshua Bonehill-Paine due in court tomorrow charged with posting offensive Facebook message about UKIP leader Nigel Farage". Western Gazette. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
  15. ^ Harry, Shukman. "Should we feel sorry for the BNP's next big thing?". The Tab. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  16. ^ a b "'Moronic' Joshua Bonehill-Paine admits Leicester pub hoax". BBC News. 15 March 2014. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  17. ^ "'Moronic' hoaxer Joshua Bonehill-Paine spared jail". BBC News. 25 April 2014. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  18. ^ "Further 10 hours of unpaid work for Joshua Bonehill-Paine after breaching order". Western Gazette. 5 April 2015. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  19. ^ Withnall, Adam (3 February 2014). "Missing 'Amy Hamilton' poster circulating on social media revealed as racist right-wing propaganda hoax". The Independent. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  20. ^ Saul, Heather (23 October 2014). "'Illegal immigrant with Ebola missing in Leicester' hoax poster appears in medical centre". The Independent. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  21. ^ "Yeovil 'internet troll' Joshua Bonehill-Paine used website to spread 'web of lies' about other social media users". Western Gazette. 30 October 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  22. ^ "Sentencing of Yeovil internet troll Bonehill-Paine delayed as "more serious charges" to be considered". Western Gazette. 25 November 2014. Archived from the original on 30 November 2014. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
  23. ^ ""Malicious" internet troll Joshua Bonehill-Paine has sentencing adjourned so he can be charged with further offences". Western Gazette. 13 January 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  24. ^ a b "Public Order Act 1986 S.38". Legislation.gov.uk. 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  25. ^ "Yeovil man Joshua Bonehill-Paine in court tomorrow accused of saying food at Tesco was infected with Ebola". Western Gazette. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  26. ^ Corcoran, Kieran (16 October 2015). "Internet troll in court for saying disabled people should be exterminated is cleared because punishing him would breach his right to freedom of speech". Daily Mail. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  27. ^ a b c Jenn Selby "Jack Monroe: Man posing as Ukip candidate arrested for abusing gay poverty campaigner", The Independent, 19 April 2015
  28. ^ Press Association "Jack Monroe Twitter abuse: man re-bailed", The Guardian, 25 April 2015
  29. ^ "Joshua Mark John Bonehill-Paine, 22, allegedly sent a woman a swastika and asked her to be "his Eva"". Western Daily Press. 27 May 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  30. ^ Blood, David (22 April 2015). "Community unites against neo-Nazi demonstration". East London Lines. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  31. ^ a b Oscar Quine "Organiser of anti-Jewish rally arrested over anti-Semitic tweets to Labour MP", The Independent, 15 February 2015
  32. ^ Rosa Doherty "Alert over Golders Green rally", Jewish Chronicle, 21 May 2015
  33. ^ Marcus Dysch "Extremists plan to destroy Israeli flags and burn Talmud at Golders Green rally", The Jewish Chronicle, 16 June 2015
    - Tom Marshall "Organisers of anti-Jewish protest announce plans to 'dismember and destroy' Israeli flags and burn Jewish holy books", London Evening Standard, 17 June 2015
  34. ^ "Joshua Bonehill-Paine charged over antisemitic blog post". The Jewish Chronicle. 28 June 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  35. ^ Marshall, Tom (27 June 2015). "'White rights advocate' charged with inciting racial hatred after blogging about destroying Israeli flags and burning Jewish holy books". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  36. ^ Dysch, Marcus (29 June 2015). "Bonehill-Paine remanded on racial hatred charge". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  37. ^ Firsht, Naomi (13 July 2015). "Joshua Bonehill-Paine denied bail at court hearing". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
    - Goodchild, WG (14 July 2015). "Joshua Bonehill-Paine denied bail until September court date for allegedly inciting racial hatred". Western Gazette. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  38. ^ "Yeovil's Joshua Bonehill-Paine 'loudly denies' inciting racial hatred before neo-Nazi rally". Western Gazette. 21 September 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
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    - Al-Othman, Hannah (16 December 2015). "Joshua Bonehill-Paine found guilty of inciting racial hatred against Jews". Evening Standard. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  41. ^ "Fanatic Joshua Bonehill-Paine investigated over letters sent from cell covered in Hitler doodles". Western Daily Press. 20 January 2016. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  42. ^ "Joshua Bonehill-Paine 'deserved sentence' after posting Nazi death camp flyer in build-up to rally". Western Daily Press. Western Gazette. 19 May 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
    - "Extremist loses appeal against jail sentence". The Jewish Chronicle. 19 May 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  43. ^ "Joshua Bonehill-Paine 'to stand as Yeovil's MP' on release from prison". Somerset Live. 31 May 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  44. ^ Dysch, Marcus (30 October 2014). "Neo-Nazi gave out internet abuse tips in campaign against Luciana Berger". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  45. ^ Oliver, Charlotte (22 June 2016). "Extremist Joshua Bonehill-Paine charged with harassing Luciana Berger". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  46. ^ "Joshua Bonehill-Payne to stand trial over abusive posts attacking Luciana Berger". The Jewish Chronicle. 19 July 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  47. ^ "Labour MP Luciana Berger subject of hateful blogposts, court told". The Guardian. Press Association. 5 December 2016. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  48. ^ Kirk, Tritan (6 December 2016). "'Pathetic' extremist accused of abusing MP Luciana Berger was 'exercising right to free speech'". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  49. ^ "Man guilty of harassing Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger". BBC News. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  50. ^ "Man jailed for harassing Labour MP Luciana Berger". BBC News. 8 December 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.