Friday, 18 June 2010

Peter Tierney guilty of assault as Liverpool BNP implodes

Firstly, the good news from Liverpool Antifascists;
High-profile BNP member Peter Tierney has been found guilty of assault and causing actual bodily harm to an anti-fascist protester on St George’s Day last year.

During the incident, which was captured on CCTV, Tierney swung a camera tripod at the back of the activist’s head. The victim subsequently needed his head wound gluing up at hospital.

The jury took just an hour to find Tierney guilty, rejecting the notion that he acted in self-defence and was “in danger for my life.”

A spokesperson for Liverpool Antifascists said: “This is absolutely a positive result.

“Tierney’s guilt was clear-cut, as we have seen from the CCTV footage, and it is absurd that he has been able to drag this out for so long – at unnecessary expense to the taxpayer and stress to the victim.

“Liverpool Antifascists have protested at every single one of Tierney’s court appearances.

“Despite the wish of the BNP that this incident be forgotten, we have refused to turn a blind eye to the violent criminality of so prominent a member in Liverpool BNP. This result vindicates our stance.”

The sentence will be announced on July 12th. Judge John Roberts, adjourning, said: “I have not made a final decision on sentencing. That would be wrong at this stage, but provisionally I am thinking of some kind of community service.

“To decide how I should sentence you I will need a report from probation services.”

Peter Tierney has engaged in aggression and violence during BNP activism, and in full view of his fellow members. Liverpool BNP’s support of him, and of this violent criminality, has been unwavering throughout the trial.

Political violence is a characteristic of fascism, and Liverpool Antifascists are glad that the truth has come out.
The verdict should be no surprise to those who have been following the case for a long time.

The antifascist counter-accused by Tierney ended up with just a fine for breaching section 5 of the Public Order Act - essentially, swearing in public. Charges of assault and criminal damage were thrown out as untenable long before the trial.

Liverpool BNP subsequently delivered leaflets claiming that the antifascist in question was a "LABOUR PARTY SPONSORED thug who PLEADED GUILTY to an attack on the BNP." Which was funny, since he pleaded guilty to no such thing. Surely, if they had evidence for this, the magistrates' court would have been given something more incriminating than a short video of him saying "turn the fucking camera off"?

They tried to learn their lesson after this verdict. The main BNP website has posted up a story claiming that the court ignored "clear CCTV footage showing the leftist thug starting the physical confrontation."

The accompanying video, however, shows no such thing. In fact, in the time lapse you can see precisely what the victim of the attack described in his testimony;
As they [the BNP] went to move off a couple of us decided to go round the front of the Hall to where they were going to leaflet people at the front, so we could get our message to them before the BNP could get their message to them.

As we ran past them I felt a massive blow to the back of my head. I didn’t realise what it was at the time, I then turned around and saw I had been whacked. I say the guy standing there with a camera tripod in his hand and I put my hand to the back of my head. I realised that whatever I had been hit with had caused my head to bleed.
The jury clearly thought the same, taking just an hour to reach a guilty verdict after hearing the testimony of witnesses and watching the same footage.

The BNP website claims the footage shows "that the protagonist ... was the one to first start the physical attack" and that he "stormed the group" of BNP activists. But even Peter Tierney, though adamant of his innocence, admits this isn't so [emphasis mine];
This Video is a time lapse, a format of photographic images pieced together in sequence, to try and build up a true picture of the Attack. But ! As you can see by this carefully animated sample that was given to our solicitor from the CROWN PROSECUTION months later, it does not show the attackers kicking and punching me or one of the other BNP members..... Just like the famous advert you've been Tangoed . 
So, no "travesty of justice," then. Unless you're of the opinion that whacking somebody across the back of the head with a camera tripod as they run past you is a human right.

Tierney's brother Andrew, the goon most enamoured by the act of shoving a camera in the faces of antifascists, has "asked for supporters to be at the court in a show of support." No doubt Liverpool Antifascists will be there on the day as well to counter this fascist presence.

That is, if there is any credible presence. On the first day of the trial, the BNP contingent outside the court was propped up by activists parachuted-in from the North East, who were over half the number at their picket. In part, this was due to the fact that Tierney was accompanied inside the court by the majority of the local party's suited thugs. But it certainly can't help that Liverpool BNP is very publicly imploding.

This cannot be blamed on the Tierney case as much as it can on the factionalism and in-fighting affecting the broader party.

In Liverpool, the divisions between reformists and hardliners is particularly acute. The Merseyside BNP blog has come out in support of BNP dissident Eddy Butler and declared that "now is the right time for a change of BNP leader." At the same time, the newly-created Liverpool BNP blog has accused Butler of being in the pay of Searchlight.

On white nationalist forum VNN, the in-fighting is more vicious.

Already, we have seen Joe Owens accuse practically everyone he knows the name of in Liverpool BNP (along with several others nationally) of being a Searchlight Spy. The thread has at the time of writing run on for eight months and 217 pages, and the latest revelation - from a poster calling himself "heretic" - is that Liverpool organiser Peter Squire and former candidate Tony Ward have been sacked.

The post also included a YouTube video attacking BNP candidate Peter Stafford Jnr. for being gay. Following on from the attacks on Gary Aronsson for being Jewish, this shows the true colours of many BNP supporters.

It has also inspired another thread, titled "Liverpool BNP's Resident Homosexual," in which the hostility between the two Liverpool BNP factions - voiced by "Heretic" and "Mersey" - becomes plain for all to see. Each side, equally childish and idiotic, thinks of the other as "traitors" and "spies," and if nothing else it is entertaining to watch them throw jibes like the two dumbest kids on the schoolyard. Certainly, it fits with the behaviour they displayed at Tierney's trial.

I feel sorry for Peter Stafford. God only knows how difficult it must have been to discover that you are gay in a fascist household, and to reconcile that with the politics you feel you have no choice but to support.

For Peter Tierney and the Liverpool branch of the BNP, however, I have only schadenfreude. It will be a pleasure to watch them fade into obscurity and to see the streets of this city fascist free once again.