Billy Charlton trial: Jury set to retire to consider verdict tomorrow

A jury in the trial of a campaigner accused of stirring up hatred during city protests has not yet retired to consider a verdict.

Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 3:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 3:13 pm
Billy Charlton pictured speaking in Sunderland

William Charlton, known as Billy, is accused of targeting "immigrants, Asians, black people and police" during a series of public rallies in Sunderland and causing a rise in racial crime and disorder in the city.

Prosecutors claim he hid his "racist agenda" under a "cloak of respectability" that he wanted to protect women and children from attacks.

The 54-year-old, of no fixed address, denies six charges of stirring up racial hatred and is being tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

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Charlton has told the court his references to "immigrants" during his city centre speeches referred to "criminal immigrants" and was not intended as a racial slur or insult to anyone.

He has denied outright being that he is a racist and told jurors: "I would never racially abuse anybody."

Charlton has said communities are "living in fear" and there have been police "cover ups" about what has gone on in the city.

Judge Simon Batiste has spent today summing up the case to the jury, which will retire to consider a verdict tomorrow.

Charlton denies all charges.

The trial continues.