EDL member
EDL members took part in a protest as a mass trial got under way in Halifax of the alleged trafficking and rape of a girlReuters

EDL members staged a protest outside a Halifax court on 12 February as the mass trial of 25 men accused of offences ranging from human trafficking to the rape mostly of a single girl got under way.

Police surrounded Calderdale Magistrates' Court as the group demonstrated in a planned protest, shouting "EDL" and "Yorkshire".

An EDL flag was unfurled outside the court and one man was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence.

They were protesting as 25 men aged between 23 and 39 appeared in court charged with a slew of offences including trafficking, grooming and rape against two girls under the age of 16 over a three-year period that ended in 2011.

The full list of charges are rape, trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, sexual activity with a child under 16, sexual assault, voyeurism, sexual grooming, conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child under 16, causing a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity without consent and supply of a controlled drug of class B.

The defendants, who are from Halifax, Bradford and Huddersfield, Derby, Shipley, Nantwich and Newport in Wales, appeared in groups of twos, threes and fours, and what was a routine hearing took two hours to complete.

Proceedings were stopped at one point as a disturbance broke out in the public gallery.

After hearing the charges, magistrates sent all cases to Leeds Crown Court to be heard on or before 26 February.

All defendants were granted bail on the same conditions as before: not to contact two named complainants and to report to police stations on dates and time instructed by the court.