The man found guilty of leaking the membership of the British National Party (BNP) has been fined just £200 and ordered to pay £100 in costs.The Nottingham court found Matt Single, a former senior official in the BNP, guilty under the Data Protection Act after police found two USB drives hidden inside a cereal box in his kitchen, containing the incriminating data.

His penalty was reduced from a maximum of £5,000 due to him receiving state benefits. A total of 12,000 people were on the list.

The leak led to 160 of those revealed to be members of the far-right party complaining that they had been threatened or had their property vandalised as a result of their details being on the leaked list.

John Walker, a spokesman for the BNP, told The Times that some members were considering civil cases, he said: "There have been some real victims in this case. People had their homes attacked and some people have lost their jobs."

While there is little sympathy for the members or appreciation for BNP policies or memberships, the fact is that the personal details of those people on the list were freely distributed and revealed to all who wanted to view them.

Would this list have been so widely distributed if it were the membership of a mailing list, or any other political party? What if the list had contained the names of celebrities or media figures, what action could they have taken to get their names taken off the list before, or after, the list was released?

People can choose their political allegiances, and it is our right in a democracy to do so, but I can't help feeling that a £200 fine is a measly deterrent to prevent such an act to happen again.