Retrial for web hate publisher

By Leon Symons, August 1, 2008

A man who fled to America after being convicted of publishing racially inflammatory material on the internet will face a second trial in December.

Simon Sheppard, 51, from Selby, North Yorkshire, is being held in Santa Ana jail in California, together with his co-defendant Stephen Whittle, after the pair were detained at Los Angeles airport last month.

Sheppard was convicted of 11 of the 18 charges against him at Leeds Crown Court, while Whittle, 41, was found guilty of all five counts against him. The jury was still deliberating, but ultimately failed to agree, on the remaining seven charges against Sheppard alone - relating to pamphlets he was alleged to have published and distributed called Tales of the Holohoax and Don't Be Sheeple - when the pair absconded.

At a hearing on Monday the Crown Prosecution Service told the court that it wanted to retry Sheppard on the counts on which the jury failed to agree. That trial will start on December 8. Whittle, from Preston in Lancashire, will be sentenced on his return.

It is understood that the pair asked for political asylum when they were arrested in Los Angeles. Now they will go before a hearing to determine their claim or whether they should be sent back to Britain.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed that the two men were being "held in the Los Angeles area while they await a decision related to their immigration claim".

Last updated: 1:06pm, July 31 2008