Joshua Bonehill-Paine, the race hate internet troll, has been convicted of incitement to racial hatred by Southwark Crown Court for calling for “anti-Jewification” demonstrations in neighbourhoods with large Jewish populations this summer.
Bonehill-Paine has been in police custody since June, when he was arrested in a dawn raid. At a hearing in July, he pleaded “absolutely not guilty” and he has now been convicted at a trial which made for an uncomfortable spectacle for our volunteers.
The trial centred on advertisements Bonehill-Paine produced for the “anti-Jewification” demonstrations and though calm, articulate and confident, Bonehill-Paine’s testimony was simply not credible.
In one exchange with prosecutor Mark Weekes, Weekes said: “You describe yourself as a facist,” to which Bonehill-Paine replied: “I am a freedom fighter. If that means I’m a facist, then yes.” Weekes sought to clarify: “You accept the description of yourself as a facist, yes?” Bonehill-Paine replied: “No.”
At one point, Bonehill-Paine claimed that he was not an antisemite when asked about a ‘joke’ on his website in which he asked “How do you fit six million Jews in a car? In the ashtray.”
The trigger for Bonehill-Paine’s arrest and prosecution was his production of two advertisements for the “anti-Jewification” demonstration in Golders Green in July. One advertisement featured Adolf Hitler rendered as a smiley face captioned “#SummerOfHate”, with text claiming that the demonstration would be “an absolute gas”. The other advertisement featured an antisemitic caricature of a Jew being sprayed with weedkiller behind the entrance to Auschwitz, with a caption declaring: “We’ve become complacent and allowed for weeds to grow in the cracks of London. It’s time to clear them up with Round-Up and Liberate Golders Green for future generations of White People.”
Giving evidence, about the advertisements, Bonehill-Paine was asked by Weekes about the comment in the ads that the demonstrations would be “an absolute gas”. Bonehill-Paine claimed that the comment was a joke “for a younger generation”. Weekes asked why it was funny, to which Bonehill-Paine remarked simply: “I have a dark sense of humour.” He went on to claim that every single antisemitic element of the ads was an example of “dark humour” aimed at “younger generations”, including the imagery suggesting that Jews were weeds which should be eliminated with weedkiller.
Weekes was impressively dogged, painstakingly taking Bonehill-Paine through the evidence. When he came to the smiley face rendered as Adolf Hitler, Weekes said: “You used a smiley face with a Hitler face.” Bonehill-Paine gave his stock response: “I think it’s absolutely funny.” Weekes retorted: “You think people in Golders Green would think this is funny?” When Bonehill-Paine replied “Yes I do”, Weekes sharply enquired: “Even with the ‘Summer of Hate’ written underneath?” Bonehill-Paine weakly responded: “That was the theme.”
At one point Weekes asked incredulously about the demonstration: “This is supposed to benefit Golders Green?” Bonehill-Paine replied that he “wanted to cooperate with the community.”
Bonehill-Paine’s defence was utterly shredded as private correspondence recovered from his computer by police data forensics officers came to light.
In one e-mail, Bonehill-Paine had written: “Perhaps a civil war is looming or a world war. If we don’t take action we can say goodbye to independence. Pointing the finger at the Jew has proven to be suicide for many aspiring nationalists but I must take a stand as I see Jews taking dominion over white folk.”
In a Skype conversation, Bonehill-Paine wrote: “Apparently Israel has condemned the marches. We are shaking them to the very core…The Jews are absolutely outraged.”
Whilst Bonehill-Paine has no significant far right following, it was his online activity that started the “anti-Jewification” demonstrations and prompted Campaign Against Antisemitism and others to repeatedly bring his activity to the attention of the police.
Although Bonehill-Paine did not successfully organise any demonstrations due to police bail conditions banning him from London, another neo-Nazi, Eddie Stampton, picked up the idea and organised demonstrations, but dropped “anti-Jewification”, instead claiming to be demonstrating against the Shomrim Jewish neighbourhood watch patrol which works with the police. This change of theme may have caused Bonehill-Paine and Stampton to fall out. In an argument in the comments section of the Daily Stormer neo-Nazi website, a user purporting to be Stampton angrily wrote to Bonehill-Paine: “An [sic] demo in Stamford Hill billed as ‘anti-Jewification’ will be banned by the Home Office as ‘likely to stir up racial hatred’. That is why we have done the next best thing. Use your brain.”
Bonehill-Paine attempted to blame Stampton for incriminating comments made in a video in which Bonehill-Paine says: “Jews are a foreign enemy.” Bonehill-Paine claimed Stampton had sent him text to read out and even though Bonehill-Paine said he “didn’t agree with it” he claimed “it was a favour for a friend and I never agreed to have it published.” The idea was openly mocked by Weekes during his summing up, asking: “Why would he read a text that he disagrees with for 31 minutes?…It is clearly racial hatred.”
The defence was left arguing that Bonehill-Paine was an aspiring comedian and even quoted jokes by Jimmy Carr, claiming that Bonehill-Paine’s comments were “for publicity, attention, self-advertisement”. The defence also tried to argue that the legal threshold for incitement had not been met because Bonehill-Paine had issued no “call for blood”.
As Bonehill-Paine awaited the verdict, his demeanour changed and he started to fidget nervously, grasping a wooden crucifix that he had been wearing around his neck earlier. Finally the jury emerged from its deliberations and delivered its unanimous verdict: guilty.
His Honour Judge Leonard QC ordered that Bonehill-Paine will remain in custody and return to Southwark Crown Court tomorrow for sentencing.
Commenting on the verdict, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Barnes, who led the investigation, said: “As this case demonstrates, there is no place for people inciting racial hatred under the guise of protest and those that do this will be investigated and brought before the courts to answer for this crime.”
The anti-Jewification demonstrations were firmly put to a stop after a demonstration planned for 4th July was forcefully opposed by Campaign Against Antisemitism. We prepared to bring thousands of counter-demonstrators out to oppose the neo-Nazis in Golders Green whilst simultaneously negotiating with the police. It was our counter-demonstration and firm negotiating position which the Metropolitan Police Service said prompted the use of powers under the Public Order Act to exclude the neo-Nazis from Golders Green, instead kettling them in Westminster and limiting their demonstration to an hour spent surrounded by police. No further demonstrations have taken place.
We are pleased that Bonehill-Paine has been convicted of this serious crime and is no longer at liberty to incite racial hatred.
We would like to thank our volunteer team which worked tirelessly to successfully oppose the antisemitic demonstrations, and the volunteers who have attended court proceedings so that Bonehill-Paine’s pathetic reality can be brought to light.