I'd like to start by thanking the good folks at @exposingtweets for their permission to use their screencaps in this, my first post. They really are brilliant, and inspired me to begin writing this. You should follow them on Facebook and Twitter. I'd also like to apologise at my complete lack of any technical abilities whatsoever - this will hopefully become better over time.
As you may know, Richard Price is a high-ranking member of the EDL. How high ranking he actually is is something that has been called into question and will be mentioned later. Price is also a convicted sex-offender.
Last night, Indymedia gave a verbatim quote from The Times, reporting that a leader of the EDL had been placed on the sex offenders register. The facts are thus:
Richard Price was arrested in 2009 for 'Public Order offences' (translation: 'being a violent, racist scumbag') whilst on an EDL march. During the course of the investigation, the police searched his house. They found cocaine and crack cocaine there, and seized his computer. On his computer, police found indecent images of children. Price pleaded guilty to four counts of making indecent images of children and two counts of possessing cocaine when he appeared at Birmingham Crown Court in June 2010. He was banned from owning a computer for a year, given a three year community supervision order and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for five years. In December 2010, Price was jailed for three months for public order offences and banned from attending marches outside Birmingham for ten years. The EDL labelled him a 'political prisoner' and campaigned for his release.
Last night, when the story broke, the EDL released a hastily-put together, and frankly laughable, version of events as a public statement on Facebook (since deleted but kept here). In this, they claimed that:
1) The computer Price was using was second hand, and the pictures were already on there.
2) The pictures were on the lowest level on the child pornography scale - which was likened to 'pictures of children in a swimming pool'.
3) The search of Price's house was only done to dissuade him from protesting
4) Price only pleaded guilty because he was told that if he did, there would be no publicity or media coverage, and if he didn't, he would have to go through a full public trial. Apparently this is 'what anyone would do'
5) Price was not, and at no point had he ever been, part of the EDL leadership.
They made no mention of the drug or public order offences at any point.
Taking these points in turn:
1) Whilst this may be true (and I doubt it is, due to point 4), it is (usually) possible to get time and date stamps that show when something was placed on a computer hard drive. All Price needed to do was prove when he bought the computer to show that the images were already present.
2) Whilst it is true that Price was charged with making images of the lowest level on the SAP scale (NOT the COPINE scale - as EDL leaders mistakenly believed after a quick Google), this is defined as "nudity or erotic posing with no sexual activity".
3) As mentioned above, the search of Price's house was in relation to Public Order offences.
4) Find me a man that wouldn't go to trial to clear his name of paedophilia when he knows he's innocent, and I'll give you a medal. There is NO conceivable way that someone would agree to sign the sex offenders register for five years to avoid a trial if they know they are innocent. The very notion is laughable in the extreme.
5) This suggests otherwise.
So, what now?
Well, today we've had members of the EDL defending him, EDL leaders deleting posts that question their version of events and, best of all, swift back pedalling from the idiots in charge
We can only hope that at least some people who have previously affiliated themselves with this odious group finally see the scales fall from their eyes and wake up to the lies, deceit and bile that is spewed by their 'leaders', and leave.
EDIT: It appears they already have