Far-right activist Sam Melia found guilty of inciting hatred by sending out racist stickers
A far-right activist who was caught with a library of online stickers telling non-white people to "go back" has been found guilty of inciting racial hatred.
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The jury at Leeds Crown Court returned a verdict this afternoon after spending less than a day deliberating the case of Sam Melia.
The 34-year-old was on trial following a raid at his Pudsey home on Town Street in April 2021 in which police uncovered a catalogue of downloadable stickers which were “intended to stir up racial hatred” and encouraged racially-aggravated criminal damage. They also found a poster of Adolf Hitler on his wall and a book by the infamous British fascist, Oswald Mosley.
Melia, the Yorkshire organiser for far-right group Patriotic Alternative, was found guilty of stirring up racial hatred between 2019 and 2021 and intentionally encouraging or assisting racially-aggravated criminal damage by distributing material for the Hundred Handers.
Melia was the head of the Hundred Handers, an anonymous group of activists responsible for a spate of anti-immigration “stickering” incidents between 2019 and 2021, the court has heard during the eight-day trial. Followers would gain access to the stickers they could download, print out and then stick up around the UK and abroad.
The Crown said media reports of “stickering” linked to the Hundred Handers in the UK “extended from Cornwall to Northern Ireland” and “may make it clear the incidents have in fact caused fear or alarm”.
The stickers included slogans such as: “Labour loves Muslim rape gangs”; “We will be a minority in our homeland by 2066”; “Mass immigration is white genocide”; and: “Second-generation? Third? Fourth? You have to go back".
But Richard Canning, defending Melia, had said there "was not a shred of evidence that the Hundred Handers or Patriotic Alternative encourage lawbreaking”. He told jurors: “A person’s right to free speech must be protected."
But the jury deliberated for less than a day before returning their unanimous verdict. Judge Tom Bayliss KC said he would adjourn sentencing for a pre-sentence report to be prepared. Melia was granted bail and will appear again in court on March 1.