DEFEND THE RIGHT TO PROTEST - JUSTICE FOR PIERS CORBYN
DEFEND THE RIGHT TO PROTEST - JUSTICE FOR PIERS CORBYN
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Latest: March 31, 2021
Police drop politically motivated investigation into Auschwitz leaflet
I have been informed by the Met Police that no further action will be taken in respect of the leaflet that was distributed last year comparing the (effectively mandatory) vaccine program - whic…Read more
Who am I ? - I am an astrophysicist and weather forecaster living and working in South London.
What do stand for? - I strongly believe that the global policy of 'lockdown' will lead to terrible consequences for ordinary people across the globe - far worse than the coronavirus ever could. Certain people and companies will take advantage of this to accumulate even more power and wealth. The cost to us will not just be lost jobs and destroyed businesses, but for some it will be starvation and the flourishing of real killer diseases like tuberculosis. Above all will be the loss of individual liberty on a scale never before envisaged - mobile phone apps tracking your every move, compulsion to have a dangerous, untested vaccine, and a denial of the most basic human rights.
My legal case - I have twice been arrested for protesting about the lockdown at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park during May 2020. I am due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 24 July and 20 August 2020 at 10am.
Call to action - We are raising £5000 to pay for the legal costs of my defence. I need your support: please contribute and share this page now!
What are we trying to achieve? - I have instructed my lawyers to argue that the newly imposed Health Regulation that forbids public gatherings is a fundamental breach of the human right to assembly and association. If we win the case we will fight to get charges dropped against everyone else arrested. And it will be a huge victory for the right to protest and for free speech!
What is the next step in the case? - I have to appear at court on 24 July and 20 August, 2020 at 10am at Westminster Magistrates'' Court and I need my lawyers working on my case right now.
How much we are raising and why? - I need to raise £5000 as soon as possible to fund the legal costs of the case.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I hope you will support me.
March 31, 2021
Police drop politically motivated investigation into Auschwitz leaflet
I have been informed by the Met Police that no further action will be taken in respect of the leaflet that was distributed last year comparing the (effectively mandatory) vaccine program - which the Evening Standard said was the “Path to Freedom” - to the deliberately false Nazi slogan over the gates to Auschwitz that “work sets you free.” One of our supporters, an artist who drew the picture, was also told that no further action would be taken against him.
This investigation was an utter waste of police time - the right wing political commentator “Guido Fawkes” drew attention to the leaflet last year, falsely claiming it was anti-semitic, but nothing was done until a Labour MP picked up on it this year and made a similar complaint.
I told the police that my freedom of expression was under attack, and I can only assume that even the police realised the leaflet could not considered to be grossly offensive by any rational standard.
This arrest was another aspect of the continuing harassment of me and my efforts to counter the pro-lockdown narrative.
I believe the investigation was politically motivated, inspired by opponents of mine in the London Mayoral election who wish to smear me with fake "anti-semitism" claims as also happened to my brother Jeremy. It is an old tactic, which this time has failed.
My mayoral campaign ('Let London Live!) continues to thrive, and my supporters have been distributing electoral material around London to good effect. You can find out more details about the campaign at www.corbyn4London.com and www.stopnewnormal.net.
March 18, 2021
Victory in Norwich
I am very pleased to announce that the Crown Prosecution Service have dropped another case against me, this time in Norwich where I was jointly facing prosecution with Nigel Utton (see our 'DEFEND THE NORWICH 2' page also on CrowdJustice).
This has saved us not just from 2 days in Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court at the end of March, but from the consequences of both a criminal conviction and the prospect of Criminal Behaviour Orders that could have restricted our access to the internet and prevented us from protesting in the future.
Our solicitor (Richard Parry from Saunders Solicitors) had been prepared to argue that these prosecutions which can carry £10,000 fines are an abuse of process as they are contrary to Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights which guaranteed, in perpetuity, that “excessive fines” cannot be imposed. However, his letter asking the CPS to review the case pre-trial had the desired effect.
We hope that everybody else fighting for freedom and against lockdown takes heart from this further victory.
March 2, 2021
Metropolitan Police go on the offensive with 10 new charges
Last summer, during June and July, until the end of August, the Police up and down the country appeared to relax their attitude a little in the face of public criticism from their over-zealous enforcement actions. But things changed on 29 August 2020 when we had a brilliantly successful demonstration in Trafalgar Square, attended by thousands of people. This clearly rattled both the Tory government and the London Labour Mayor, and at the very end of that demonstration it was ordered “from on high” that I be arrested.
As a result I was given the very first £10,000 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). The law had only come into force that very morning - and well after the event had been planned, as we thought, in cooperation with the Metropolitan Police.
When I received the FPN in the post I decided to ignore it as in my view it was clearly illegal - it is an “excessive fine” which is contrary to the law of England and Wales as expressed in Magna Carta (1215) and in the Bill of Rights (1689) - the 2 founding documents of the otherwise largely unwritten British Constitution. Such a fine is clearly contrary to natural justice as it allows those with the means to pay to escape any criminal liability, something most people simply cannot do.
The police had 6 months in which to report me for a summons, and just before the end of this period, on 24 February 2021, the Metropolitan Police Public Order Team (MO6) charged me with 5 offences of organising political protests (in their parlance “gatherings”) from 29 August through to 31 December 2020. In the alternative they have charged me with simply participating in the protests.
I now have to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 20 May 2021 to answer these new charges, and of course I will be pleading NOT GUILTY to each and every one.
Each of the 5 offences carries a £10,000 fine - and so I am now facing fines of £50,000 with a possible 18 months imprisonment in default!!
This is by far the most serious attack on the right to protest so far! It comes at a time of increasingly aggressive policing, as witnessed across the county in response to protest towards the end of last year, and against the background of a huge propaganda offensive and censorship of anybody expressing anti-lockdown views.
This will be the biggest legal battle yet! Please give generously to fund this massive assault on the right to protest!
Feb. 28, 2021
My next battles: Great Yarmouth and Loughborough
I now face two further trials - my first is coming up very soon at Great Yarmouth Magistrates’ Court on 29/30 March 2021 - I am jointly charged with Nigel Utton in the ‘DEFEND THE NORWICH TWO!’ Case - in which Norfolk Constabulary not only want to give us £10,000 fines as organisers of the protest in Norwich on 24 September last year, but they also want to impose CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR ORDERS against us both so that we cannot attend any protests for up to 3 years! This is a scandalous misuse of the criminal law to criminalise protest - it must be stopped!
Please note that Nigel and myself have a separate crowd-funder for that case - please donate by going to that web page 'DEFEND THE NORWICH TWO!''
I also have a new case at Loughborough Magistrates’ Court fixed for trial on 22/23 June 2021, this relates to a protest last year when I went to Leicester during the “local lockdown”. This was to protest at the discriminatory policy being imposed by the government on the good people of Leicester. Only 6 of us went and yet they have charged us all with being part of a gathering of more than six! Currently 3 of us face trial in Loughborough in the Summer of 2021. I will need to crowd fund my legal defence for this case as well so any donations will be gratefully received and put to good use.
Feb. 28, 2021
Another 2 court victories makes it 4 out of 5!
I am pleased to report that thanks to the generosity of my supporters and the hard work of my solicitor we have 2 new victories to report. On 4 February my solicitor received a Notice of Discontinuance in respect of the charges arsing from 5 November 2020 - this was the “Million Mask March” when I was targeted by the Met Police high command for arrest at Leicester Square. The new ‘No.4’ Regulations (SI 1200 of 2020) had only just been brought into force that day to prevent anyone getting together (more than 2 people) to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day. [See update 13 for a full report of this arrest].
The case was sent to Westminster Magistrates' Court, but after I served my Defence Statement, on 8 December 2020 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dropped the Serious Crime Act charge. The next day the case was fixed for trial on 29 April 2021 in respect of the remaining charge of participating in a gathering of more than 2 people. But in February 2021 the CPS served a second Notice of Discontinuance, so all charges from 5 November are now dropped. I am now asking for a Defence Costs Order which will hopefully put a little bit back into the fighting fund. I will also take advice on suing the Met police - again- for wrongful arrest and malicious prosecution.
On 2 January 2021 I began the New Year with yet another arrest, this time near Hyde Park. Again I was charged with participating in a gathering of more than 2 people - but the law had changed , it was now the “All Tiers” Regulations that had been imposed in what is called ‘The Third Lockdown.’ I was taken to Brixton Police Station, but this time the police appeared reluctant to interview me, and I was simply charged to attend Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 9 February 2021. The police bailed me on condition not to enter the City of Westminster - obviously to prevent me protesting in the heart of government - you will recall the Met Police imposed the same condition in May 2020 - a condition the Judge deleted on my application as disproportionate.
Just before the hearing date the CPS wrote to request more time. We did not object and the case was adjourned until 11 March 2021. On 24 February 2021 my solicitor received yet another ‘Notice of Discontinuance’ - so now the Hyde Park case is dropped as well. Once again I will be taking advice on suing the Met police for wrongful arrest and malicious prosecution.
So this is now 4 victories out of 5 arrests in 4 court cases over the last 10 months! This shows it is right to fight! Thank you to all who gave so generously to fund my legal costs. We are not even half way through the battle, further updates to follow soon!
Dec. 2, 2020
MY TRIAL - A THREE QUARTERS VICTORY!
After a 2 day trial, I was acquitted today by District Judge Goozee on a charge of breaching the coronavirus regulations at Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park on 30 May 2020 but convicted of a similar offence relating to an earlier protest at the same place on 16 May 2020.
I am delighted to be acquitted of the one, but disappointed at being convicted of the other. In my view the Judge gave insufficient weight to the fact that I was exercising my human rights to freedom of expression and assembly. I find it surprising that he found it was "necessary" for me to be arrested on supposed "public health" grounds. Remember, this was on the very weekend in May after the Regulations were first amended and the Prime Minister called on people to get out into the public parks and enjoy the sunshine! Despite this important change in the Regulations the Met Police failed to alter their over-zealous approach to peaceful protest. This was a contrast to what happened in Nottingham where the police allowed a small but vocal protest to go ahead.
But, despite finding me guilty for the 16 May offence, the Judge gave me an absolute discharge and I was not ordered to pay anything towards the prosecution costs. This is also a victory as it shows that firstly these proceedings are a complete waste of public money, and secondly that it may be better to go to court than pay a fixed penalty notice! This is why I say it is a three-quarters victory.
The effect of my absolute discharge is that anyone else of good character facing one of these prosecutions ought not to be afraid of the outcome.
The Crown Prosecution Service should now review all these prosecutions as they are clearly not in the public interest. And the Met Police should be facilitating our protests not dispersing them.
I am now considering my appeal options, as the upholding of human rights is an issue of fundamental importance. Any appeal has to be lodged within 21 days.
I am very grateful to all the hard work put in by my legal team: Ben Cooper QC, Rabah Kherbane of counsel, and my solicitor, Richard Parry.
The effective ban imposed by the Metropolitan Police on small peaceful protests during May 2020 was not just wrong - it was the very opposite of what they are required to do by their oath and under existing human rights legislation. They should have facilitated these protests not - by perverse logic - targeted people who were exercising their human right to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.
The situation has been compounded by the Mayor of London giving political support to the police by adding his voice to the notion that all protest is illegal (except BLM) and the failure of the Policing and Crime Committee of the Greater London Assembly to uphold human rights by holding the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) to account.
We have always said that the Regulations must be read in conjunction with existing human rights law. This is now made clear in the judgement given by the Court of Appeal in Simon Dolan v Secretary of State for Health delivered on 1 December 2020, which confirms that the Human Rights Act has to take priority over secondary legislation, and the defence of ‘reasonable excuse’ can (and I say must) include the exercise of the rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech.
The National Police Chief’s Council and the Metropolitan Police should completely review their approach to the enforcement of the Coronavirus Regulations with a view to acting to uphold fundamental human rights in future. Government, police and prosecution lawyers need to highlight human rights when they give legal advice to senior officers and politicians.
Hundreds of arrests have now been made up and down the country - but few, if any, were ‘necessary’ or ‘proportionate’ and they should never have happened. Police officers on the ground acted on instruction from “on high” - and it is the senior officers, lawyers, and politicians in positions of authority who are to blame for the attacks on the right to peaceful protest that has shamefully blighted the year 2020.
Until our human rights are upheld we will continue to defy these ridiculous Regulations.
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS SUPPORTED ME THROUGHOUT THE LAST FEW MONTHS. WE FIGHT ON!
I have new cases coming up soon and so I intend to keep the Crowd funding going to raise funds for these new cases. I will post updates about these cases soon.
Dec. 1, 2020
Quick pre trial update - NEWSFLASH
Today 1 December 2020 we had the Court of Appeal judgement in the case of Simon Dolan - which, although dismissing his claim on all grounds, included a very useful passage in respect to the right to freedom of assembly (article 11). The Court said that the Health Protection Regulations 2020 were not incompatible with the Human Rights Act 1998 because they MUST be read to give effect to those rights, and the exercise of such a right could amount to a reasonable excuse. We have been arguing that this was the case right from the beginning!
It is about time that the Police, the Mayor of London, the Home Secretary, and the Crown Prosecution Service realised this - AND GAVE EFFECT TO IT - by stopping the unnecessary arrests and prosecutions!
Also today the government faced a serious rebellion in Parliament against its new 3-Tier policies (lockdown in all but name) - which shows our message and our protests are having a real effect.
There is some small comfort in the new Regulations - there is now a specific mention of the "protests" but it is still subject to organisers having a 'risk assessment' and taking measures to control the spread of the virus in gatherings of over 30 people - this is the same as before. We know from bitter experience that the police use the interpretation of this Regulation to attack peaceful protests so the struggle is not over despite the gloss put on it by the organisation Liberty who are claiming a victory. (and who refused to take up any complaint about the attacks on our protests since they began 6 months ago).
More to follow tomorrow 2 December - my case resumes at 11.30am. Watch this space!
Nov. 28, 2020
MY TRIAL: DAY ONE
My trial started on Friday morning, 27 November 2020, shortly after I had made a speech to the press and my supporters gathered outside the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court one Marylebone Road. About a dozen people were allowed into the public gallery, although there was space for thirty, as strict social distancing measures had been introduced. Even my solicitor was told he couldn't come into the courtroom as there was insufficient space! Fortunately he found himself a space at the ushers desk across the room from me. As my counsel I was represented as before by Ben Cooper QC and Rabah Kherbane from Doughty Street.
Once again we had a slow start - the Prosecution had made further disclosure this week, but still had not properly complied with the District Judge’s order from 23 October. Although the Judge said that the Prosecution disclosure had been “mishandled” he nevertheless did not find 'bad faith' and refused to stay the proceedings on the grounds of abuse of the court's process.
He made no observation about the fact that the ‘Gold’ commander, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, had apparently “lost" his original log for 16 May when he was in overall command at New Scotland Yard. This is even though the log exists in electronic form. My suspicion is this may be a cover-up as I suspect an order came “from on high” to target me - this is the message I had from police on 29 August when I was targeted for arrest, but how far up the chain of command does this go? From the DAC it is only a couple of steps to the Commissioner and from there to the Home Secretary and the Mayor of London. Perhaps the "lost" Gold Command Log would reveal some interesting communications...
My QC ran a second abuse argument that I was discriminated against because while I and other protestors were targeted, other protestors - with different political views - had no action taken against them. We also argued that the Regulations were not sufficiently clear as there was no definition of what in fact constituted a “gathering” until the new rules that came into force on 13 July 2020. Both arguments were rejected by the Judge at this stage who said they were essentially 'triable' issues, and rather than requiring a ruling now, they could be taken into account in his eventual findings as to whether or not I had a 'reasonable excuse.'
We then moved on the Prosecution case. The Prosecution wanted to use ‘Evidence Gatherer’ ('EG') footage from 16 May 2020 which had been live-streamed to the ‘Silver Operations Room’ ('SOR') on the day, where Chief Superintendent Karen Findlay made decisions based on it. A decision was clearly relayed to the Bronze Commander, Inspector Muir to task officers to approach me — which suggests that I was targeted. We had not seen this video until this week, but the Prosecution failed to produce a witness statement from the maker, so the Judge disallowed it.
The Prosecutor then made a long opening statement (for the benefit of the press?!) and finally the evidence started at 2.48pm with the Body Worn Video footage of the two arresting officers from 16 May 2020, followed by them giving evidence live and being cross-examined.
We played a video clip of Danny Shine (‘the Spiritual Entertainer’) at Speakers’ Corner who was there with a megaphone (apparently as a counter-protestor). The same officer who arrested me had been on duty at Hyde Park for almost 2 hours and admitted that she was posted next to Danny Shine, but did nothing to ‘engage’ with him or tell him to go home. The next officer denied that she had been standing next to anyone - until she was shown the video clip!
Both officers claimed not to know who I was until I was taken to the Police station and booked in. They also failed to notice the injury to my wrists from the handcuffs even though you can hear me complaining about how tight they were on the officer's own body worn video. This was later noted at the police station. The second officer even disputed that I was 'peaceful' as I was "talking over" her colleague.
At this point the Judge decided it was getting late and there was no real proper too finishing the case that day, so he adjourned it until next Wednesday 2 December 2020 at 11am.
The trial will recommence with evidence from my second (unnecessary) arrest on 30 May 2020. The case is expected to conclude on Wednesday with a verdict one way or the other. Watch this space!
Thank you again to all those who came to court to support me and thank you to all who have supported this crowd funding - without my experienced legal team it would have been so much harder to defend myself. For those of you who can do so, please dig deep to fund our ongoing legal fights. Remember these are criminal convictions that they are trying to impose on me and others.
On with our struggle! Defend the right to protest!
Nov. 25, 2020
The sudden death of the £10,000 deterrent fine?
Two weeks ago on 13 November 2020 the police had a sudden panic when they realised that people who REFUSED TO PAY the £10,000 FPN for being an organiser of a “gathering” were going to Court and getting their fines massively reduced. The Courts had decided that the £10,000 could not be a mandatory minimum fine as it was clearly inequitable.
A ‘joint ethics committee’ (who knew such a thing existed?) of police, court officials and CPS lawyers (no defence lawyers invited) realised that the FPNs - with no capacity to reduce the payment if paid within 14 days, or at all - were a straight breach of natural justice. The National Police Chief’s Council issued a directive to all Chief Constables telling all police forces not to issue them - 6 weeks after the Regulations had been made law - without any Parliamentary scrutiny!
One policing and crime commissioner complained that the government was unable to provide “workable Covid legislation” and said the government’s actions were “questionable” - for which read - LAWS ARE BEING IMPOSED THAT ARE CONTRARY TO NATURAL JUSTICE, IF NOT ILLEGAL!
Yet the government reassured the police that they can be issued again IF it is made clear that you can pay LESS if you take it to Court!! BUT you risk a criminal conviction for doing so!
So now those with the means to pay can escape a criminal conviction, while those without cannot. One law for the rich another for the poor!
THIS IS YET ANOTHER BREACH OF NATURAL JUSTICE!
WE MUST DEFY THESE UNJUST LAWS - DO NOT COMPLY!
Nov. 24, 2020
Let battle commence! Call out for funds!
Only a few days left to go now before my trial this Friday 27 November 2020 at Westminster Magistrates' Court for participating in a gathering of more than 2 people at Hyde Park earlier this year on 16 and 30 May 2020.
The Crown Prosecution Service have today served a further Skeleton Argument on us that claims my behaviour in daring to exercise my human right to protest, by speaking at Speakers' Corner, was "provocative and obstructive and amounted to flagrant breaches of the Regulations," as well as "an intention to provoke his own arrest and prosecution." (!)
This is real DoubleThink - the prosecution are now suggesting that I want to be manhandled, handcuffed, held in cell for up to 24 hours, interviewed, charged, prosecuted, have bail conditions imposed, dragged before the courts, possibly fined, and then imprisoned if I don't pay - all for just trying to SPEAK OUT again this Covid madness! I can assure you I have no such desire - and I make this offer to the police - IF YOU LET ME SPEAK YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ARREST ME!
The Prosecution also claim that selective enforcement of the Regulations is simply an operational matter - that the Metropolitan Police are entitled to use their powers against whoever they target (myself and anti-lockdown protestors), while protecting others such as Black Lives Matter. There is no longer one law for all, it depends on who the politicians and police view as their enemy.
It speaks volumes that our cry for freedom and human rights is judged to be more of a real threat to the authorities than BLM who were on the streets in their thousands.
My lawyers are now working hard on my defence, and I do need more funds to be able to pay them for all the hard work they have put in. I have also had to fund other court cases and legal advice for possible claims against the police. I am also facing further prosecutions in Norwich and Glastonbury.
If I can win on 27 November 2020, this will be a victory for all of us who have been arrested and prosecuted.
Nov. 17, 2020
£10,000 fines may be illegal!
The big news today - 17 November 2020 - is that the government's flagship policy of £10,000 fines even the police have now declared may be unlawful. This is because there is no provision for any assessment of means - they are therefore completely disproportionate and must be a breach of natural justice and human rights.
I was the first person to be issued with such a fine, by the Metropolitan Police, on the very same day that this new Regulation came into force, on 29 August 2020.
I never intended to pay the fine anyway, and I have now instructed my lawyer to write to ACRO, the issuing authority telling them to withdraw it.
Anybody else issued with similar FPNs I urge to do the same.
Of course it may be that the government will amend the Regulations (to allow discretion in fixing the amount of the penalty) and they may yet issue me with a court summons, so watch this space.
Nov. 16, 2020
More attempts to silence me!
Another weekend, another arrest - this time in Bristol. Despite the wet weather, we had a lively protest in Bristol on Saturday 14 November 2020. After my speech on College Green I was once more arrested for organising or holding a gathering.
I was taken to Keynsham Police Station 10 miles from the city centre and held for over 10 hours until finally bailed in the early hours of Sunday morning. I demanded my right to make a phone call and made a statement that was recorded and uploaded to Twitter. I was then released with a bail condition not to attend the meeting in Newport in South Wales that I was scheduled to speak at. This was the fourth time the police have tried to silence me with conditions not to attend a protest. Nevertheless I went to Wales and delivered my speech in live time via a phone link to the protest which was uploaded to BrandNewTube and Twitter. So I was able to outwit the bail condition and defend the right to Freedom of Expression!
Although I have been bailed to go back to the police station on 7 December at 12 noon, I was told that this may well be cancelled and that I may receive a FPN though the post. I will not pay it, and take the case to court, once again arguing my human rights have been unfairly and wrongly suppressed.
Thank you to everyone for your support. Please give generously, if you can, as funds are running low now that I have accumulated 6 court cases and 2 actions against the police!
Nov. 7, 2020
Political harassment of me intensifies - new arrest and charge
I have now been explicitly told by Metropolitan Police officers that I am being targeted for arrest on anti-lockdown protests. At briefings, police officers are being shown my photograph and senior officers are personally taking a role in ordering my arrest. I am surrounded by FIT teams (these are so-called 'forward intelligence officers'), EG teams ('evidence gatherers' with video cameras) and MG ('Magnet') teams; behind them come the Police Support Units with Body Worn Video (BWV), and the Territorial Support Group (TSG - basically the riot squad). I have continually tried to avoid confrontation with the police, which is why I have been happy to talk to the Police Liaison officers over the last few months; unfortunately my desire to simply have peaceful protests has not been reciprocated.
Priti Patel the Home Secretary has ordered the police across the UK to crack down hard on protestors during the current lockdown - implemented on fake statistics, as even they now appear to admit. It has been shown that 'cases' are now falling, and Dr Mike Yeardon has shown that the PCR test itself is utterly unreliable as any indicator of the spread of a "coronavirus."
In London cases are falling by as much as 28% in some boroughs, yet a lockdown has once again been implemented which will devastate small businesses and jobs in the run up to Christmas. The government are now saying there is no protest that is legal and the Metropolitan Police were out in force on 5 November 2020.
I was targeted for arrest and taken all the way across London to Lewisham where I was held for 24 hours before being released. I was accused of having sent a 'tweet' advertising the protest on 5 November in Trafalgar Square, a protest that has taken place for a number of years, and which I have no hand in organising. 200 people were arrested.
I have now been charged under the Serious Crime Act 2007 with encouraging people to break the new Regulations. When I posted the tweet the new Regulations had not been published nor implemented, but I was charged and the senior officers in Public Order Command (MO6) opposed bail on the spurious ground that I was a danger to public health. Fortunately my solicitor made strong representations to the Custody Officer to release me, and I was bailed on a condition to "prevent protest" and told to go straight to Bromley Magistrates' Court the next morning.
I travelled to court with my legal support team, and pleaded NOT GUILTY to the new charges - this included a charge of participating in a gathering of more than 2 people. The District Judge sent the case to join up with my case at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 27 November 2020. He deleted the bail condition, but the Prosecution said I should be prevented from travelling to Stroud for the protest I had been invited to speak at. I complained that this was a gross violation of my right to free speech, but the DJ observed that many people wanted to go to dinner with their friends but were not allowed to ! So he imposed a condition that I canot go within 2 miles of Stroud railway station.
After court I and my legal support team (including 2 witnesses) were harassed by a dozen officers who shouted at us to get out of the area, even while I was trying to talk privately to my lawyer on the phone. As we got to the car that was to take me home, the police claimed that the driver's licence was out of date and announced that her car would be impounded. Our alternative driver, who had full insurance, was told to leave or be arrested. This was clearly a deliberate strategy to prevent me getting to any protest outside London. The police then began questioning me about my relationship to the others, in an attempt to try and isolate me. They then forced us onto public transport, and followed us all the way. At London Bridge train station there were 2 van loads of police to greet us. This is the ugly face of the 'New Normal.'
Thank you to all those who continue to support me and all those who have been out protesting. We refuse to be silenced, we will continue to fight against these oppressive laws.
Oct. 28, 2020
All charges in Sheffield dropped!
All charges in Sheffield have been dropped! My lawyers have just received a 'Notice of Discontinuance' dated 27 October 2020 in respect of all 3 charges from the 5 September 2020 rally in Sheffield Peace Gardens - organising the rally, participating in the rally and not wearing a mask. The letter states that the decision was taken because "there is not enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction."
If you remember from the update I posted on 6 September, the South Yorkshire police held me for almost 24 hours. I gave a no comment interview but put forward my defence in a written statement. After my release my lawyers followed this up by successfully appealing my bail condition (not to attend any protest in the UK !) and then wrote to the Crown Prosecution Service asking them to review the whole case. As a result all the charges have now been dropped.
I have already started the process to sue South Yorkshire Police for damages for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment; I have now instructed my lawyers to add a further claim for malicious prosecution.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me, both in Sheffield and elsewhere, and especially to those who donated funds to enable me to fight these charges.
It just shows - WE CAN WIN!
Oct. 23, 2020
Trial update - a small victory - case adjourned to 27 November 2020
My trial got off to a very slow start on Friday 23 October 2020. Firstly we had to deal with the fact that the case of Jeff Wyatt had been joined to mine, but without any formal notice to my lawyers, and without additional court time being allocated. The Judge decided to sever his case, so Jeff's trial will now take place on 8 February 2021.
There then began a series of bizarre goings on regarding Prosecution disclosure (see my last update). It transpired that the day after our disclosure application just 2 days ago a new schedule for my arrest on 30 May 2020 had been prepared that showed my name was on the 'Silver' command log - this had not been mentioned on the schedule for 16 May 2020 - but it was the same log. My legal team smelled a rat, and immediately drafted a supplementary Defence Statement requiring disclosure of this document. After much argument the Judge decided we could have the relevant parts of both the 'Silver' and 'Bronze' logs, effectively overturning the decision of the Senior Crown Prosecutor that it was not relevant or disclosable.
This small victory was important as it may assist in my argument about discrimination (contrary to Article 14 of the Human Rights Act) as, while I was targeted for arrest, along with other anti-lockdown protestors, the BLM protestors were not. We say this is 'political' policing.
The Judge was clearly unimpressed by the delay caused to the case by the Prosecution and has reserved the issue of wasted costs to the outcome of the trial - now re-fixed for 27 November 2020. Please put this date in your diary.
A big thank you to everyone who came to support me today. We fight on!
I have now received a letter from ACRO saying that as I have not paid my Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) from 9 May 2020 they will take me to court. I have no intention of paying any fines, so I will fight that case as well on Human Rights grounds.
I will also be fighting the £10,000 FPN for organising the Trafalgar Square rally on 29 August 2020.
I also have 2 outstanding civil cases against the police in London and South Yorkshire for damages arising from wrongful arrest and unlawful detention.
So there is plenty of work for my lawyers to do!
Please continue to give generously so that we can carry on the good fight for these important test cases which may well set a precedent for many others.
Thank you for all your support so far.
Oct. 21, 2020
Crown Prosecution Service fight to keep material secret from me
My lawyers went to court on Wednesday 21 October 2020 to try and obtain some important documents in my case, in particular the decision logs of the senior commanders of MO6 (Public Order Policing), labelled 'Bronze' and 'Silver' for 16 and 30 May 2020. This was refused by the Judge but he did order disclosure of more 'body worn video' camera footage taken by the police, and the police 'Power Point' briefing.
My trial remains fixed for Friday 23 October 2020 at 10am. The legal arguments have now been served and a response received from the Prosecution.
Wish me luck for Friday! Come and show your support if you can!
Oct. 21, 2020
MORE COVID MADNESS!!
My second court case - for allegedly organising an illegal gathering Sheffield on 5 September 2020 - is due in court on 3 November 2020.
My lawyer told the court that I would be pleading NOT GUILTY to the charges and invited them to adjourn the case as I am a Core Participant in the Undercover Policing Inquiry which starts on 2 November. The 3 November is a very important day in that Inquiry as this is when the Met Police and Home Office give their Opening Statements.
BUT the Court refused and said a warrant would be issued for my arrest if I did not attend!
So the Court wants me to breach the Covid Regs by travelling from London, in “Tier 2” lockdown, all across the country to a "Tier 3” lockdown city of Sheffield - so that they can hear a case on the breach of the Covid Regs!
The Tier 3 regs come into force first thing on Saturday 24 October 2020 and are due to be reviewed 28 days later.
Here they are:
* people should try to avoid travelling outside the very high alert level or entering a very high alert level area.
* people must not socialise with anybody they do not live with.
These Regulations are neither necessary nor proportionate - and now it seems that the Court do not think either...!
Oct. 5, 2020
Taking action against the police
On Sunday 4 October 2020 we had a lively protest outside New Scotland Yard against the police attacks on the Trafalgar Square rallies of 19 and 26 September 2020 during which a number of people were injured. The orders to close down the protests were completely unnecessary, but appear to have had political backing at the highest level, from Sadiq Khan, the Labour Mayor of London, who declared on 18 September that all demonstrations were now illegal. He was echoing the words of the Conservative Home Secretary, Priti Patel who had already declared large political gatherings illegal on 8 June 2020. This is simply untrue - the right to freedom of assembly is not just a human right protected by law, but the new No.2 Regulations even give an exemption for political protest.
I have now instructed my lawyers to sue both the Metropolitan Police and the South Yorkshire Police, following my arrests on 29 August in London, and 5 September in Sheffield. I am claiming damages for wrongful arrest, unlawful imprisonment and assault. In neither case did the police have any good reason to arrest me, and I was detained for 10 hours and 24 hours respectively. Letters of claim have been sent out today.
In Sheffield my arrest had the effect of preventing me attending the rally next day in Glasgow, and the police then imposed bail conditions that would have forbidden me from attending any protest rally in the UK for the next 2 months! I asked my lawyer to fight this and within a week the bail conditions were lifted. I will continue to protest against global ‘lockdown’ policies and attend rallies across the UK. They will not silence me!
I still have further court cases to fight - the £10,000 fine for the protest on 29 August is likely to go to Westminster Magistrates’ Court some time before the end of the year, and the £10,000 fine from Sheffield on 5 September, has a first hearing on 3 November 2020.
I hope to update you soon about my cases from the May protests in Hyde Park which are due to be heard together at my trial on 23 October 2020.
Thank you for your continued support.
Oct. 1, 2020
The biggest rally yet: Trafalgar Square 26 September 2020
We had an amazing day on 26 September, over 40,000 people turned up to protest against the government's crazy lockdown policies. This is the biggest protest so far, and we hope they will get bigger. We had been in touch beforehand with the Met Police Public Order Liaison Team, and we had a risk assessment in place that had been accepted by the City of Westminster. We wanted a peaceful, legal rally. As a tribute to the police officer killed in Croydon, we all fell silent for a minute. There were some great speeches, and public announcements were made throughout the day to remind people about social distancing between family groups and 'bubbles' of six, and we continued to liaise with the police. However, about 30 minutes before the rally was due to finish, a messenger, PS Sehmby, arrived with orders from the 'Gold' Commander, Ade Adelekan, to shut our rally down, on the basis that they believed there was insufficient 'social distancing.' Of course the issue would have been solved had they let us march down Pall Mall to Hyde Park as planned, and where there was much more space. We asked to speak to the Commander, but without warning about 2.45 pm he unleashed the Territorial Support Group (TSG) with full force to seize the sound equipment, just as Dr Heiko Schöning began to speak. Simultaneously, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced that our peaceful protest was "unacceptable."
I am sure many of you have seen the videos posted on social media that include pictures of protestors with their faces covered with blood, having been hit with police batons. Is this now "acceptable" on the streets of London? This unnecessary use of force was clearly designed to provoke a response, in order to pretend that our movement is violent. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Both the Coronavirus Act 2020 and the Regulations have had a "chilling effect" on the right to protest as even the human rights charity, Liberty now acknowledges. Cressida Dick, Priti Patel and Sadique Khan now form an unholy tripartite alliance to suppress protest. They should be ashamed, and resign forthwith!
At then end of the rally, at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park, Dr Heiko Schöning spoke to a small gathering. The TSG moved in and forcibly arrested him, snapping the handcuffs on so tightly that his wrist was injured. He was held for 21 hours, his mobile phone and laptop seized for interrogation, and asked by police in interview if he had "mental health" issues. It appears that the authorities are now prepared to declare us mentally ill because we disagree with their massively disproportionate lockdown policies. This is a very sinister development, all part of the psychological warfare campaign being conducted against us.
The other attack on us is that we are all politically "far Right." This is simply untrue. we are ordinary people who want to defend our livelihoods, jobs, businesses and our education and health systems; we want to defend civil liberties as guaranteed from as far back as Magna Carta (1215) to the Human Rights Act (1998). We are neither 'Left' nor 'Right'; we are the People; and we will NOT be silenced.
Thank you to all those who have given so generously, but there may still a long way to go. My trial for the Speakers' Corner arrests in May is coming up on 23 October 2020, please watch this space.
Sept. 6, 2020
Arrested again! More orders from "on high" to lock me up.
I've just been released after being locked up for almost 24 hours by South Yorkshire Police. I have been charged with 3 offences - not wearing a mask in Marks & Spencer, participating in an illegal gathering (at the Peace Garden, Sheffield) and organising the gathering, contrary to the Coronavirus Regulations. A second £10,000 fine is looming if I am convicted.
Events followed a similar pattern to London last weekend. Suddenly, at around 3pm orders came from "on high" to arrest me. There had been no attempt by police to disperse the rally beforehand, and I told the Inspector I was not an organiser (I live in London) but just a speaker; I gave him my details should he want to report me for a Fixed Penalty Notice. He later ordered me to leave the area which he has no power to do, unless the gathering is illegal - which it wasn't. After the rally I went into M&S to use the toilet and when I came out police made a heavy handed attempt to arrest me.
This arrest was arbitrary and unlawful, and did not even follow the Regulations themselves. These specify that an arrest can only be effected if the conditions in s24 PACE 1984 apply - which they did not. The police then tried to justify the arrest by saying it had been done "to prevent [me] causing physical injury to [myself] or any other person. PACE CodeG 2.9 (c)(i)." A load of nonsense.
This unlawful arrest triggered an unfortunate confrontation in the shopping centre as people were concerned at police arresting me unlawfully, and hence assaulting me. I know that 3 others were arrested as well.
I have now instructed my lawyers to draft a letter to South Yorkshire Police to ask them to justify my arrest or issue an apology. As for the Court case that is at Sheffield Magistrates' Court on 3 November 2020 at 10am.
I have been bailed on condition not to attend any illegal protest of more than 30 people anywhere in the UK. I will challenge that condition as it allows the police to arrest me pretty much on sight at any protest on "reasonable suspicion" that I am breach of my bail conditions. This is a clear attempt to silence me. Who gave the order for my recent arrests? PM Boris Johnson said on 7 June 2020 that there was a right to protest peacefully; if that is still the case in the UK, Boris please tell the Police! Or have all human rights now been suspended?!
Please note that I am still allowed to attend and speak at any rally of more than 30 on a public open space that is organised within Regulation 5B. But this is not enough - this is still a chilling effect on the right to protest, and human rights must remain paramount.
Please write to your MP to protest about any extension of the Coronavirus Act and Regulations due to be renewed and debated in Parliament for the very first time within 7 days of 26 September 2020. Complain to them about the assault on our freedoms and civil rights.
Thanks to everyone for their support. I vow to keep up the good fight - do not expect me to be silenced any time soon!!
Aug. 31, 2020
Arrested again! For organising the biggest anti-lockdown protest in the UK
On Saturday 29 August 2020, we had a hugely successful rally at Trafalgar Square in central London with well over 10,000 people attending and a number of excellent speakers. This was followed by a march to Downing Street. Everything passed off peacefully, but out of the blue I was suddenly arrested for breaching Regulation 5B which restricts gatherings, and which I was told had only come into force 24 hours earlier!
This arrest was completely unnecessary and arbitrary. I was told orders had come from "on high" - another example of political policing. I am the first person ever to be arrested under this new law - passed without any Parliamentary scrutiny.
I was detained for almost 10 hours until finally released in the early hours of the morning, having been interviewed by an officer seconded from Counter Terrorism Command. The Police have now reported me for being an organiser who allegedly failed to take appropriate measures to stop the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This is further attack on civil liberties. I will refuse to pay the £10,000 fine and take the matter to court. This will be my second major court battle - and another TEST CASE!
Let’s continue to fight for our freedoms, against the destruction of normal social and economic life, for a healthy society free from fear. No second lockdown, no ‘New World Order’ based on lies!
Aug. 31, 2020
MY DEFENCE STATEMENT
Aug. 31, 2020
Defence Statement Served
My Defence Statement was served on the Crown Prosecution Service and the Court on Friday 28 August 2020 - you can view it below.
My defence is essentially that the exercise of my right to protest should be a ‘reasonable excuse’ under the Regulations. It was also grossly unfair that anti-lockdown protestors were targeted by the Metropolitan police for arrest, while they ‘facilitated’ the Black Lives Matter protest - this is discriminatory “political policing.”
I now need to raise further funds for a QC to defend the case at trial on 23 October 2020 - it is very important that we win, not just for me but for all the other protestors who now have trials lined up in November and December on charges arising from the same protests in May 2020. I have therefore raised the target to £25,000.
Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far!
June 28, 2020
BAIL CONDITIONS VICTORY
Your support is already bringing results!
On 24 June, despite strong opposition from the Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan Police the District Judge upheld our application to delete the bail condition not to enter the City of Westminster, imposed by Metropolitan Police on 30 May.
This condition was designed to stifle my right to protest in the political heart of the Capital.
The trial will now take place on 23 October 2020, and we urge any other protestors due to appear at court to ask for their cases to be adjourned until after this date. If we win then all other protest cases should be dropped!
Our CROWD FUND EXTENSION is to make this possible. Thank you one and all for great support!
June 17, 2020
THANK YOU ALL, KEEP IT UP!
Thank you very much for your contribution. We've had a tremendous response and are pressing on beyond the original limit into "stretch fund" to support others who are affected by this case and potential further actions such as a Judicial Review.
We are of course liasing with other case on the wider Lockdown issue.
For the latest on what's going on in the campaign look on twitter #StandUpX and follow @Piers_Corbyn
Do pass on the links to contribute and join action.
Thank you again!
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