Piers Corbyn ‘ignored police demands to leave anti-lockdown protest despite being warned he would be arrested as he addressed crowd of more than 100 supporters in Hyde Park’
- Piers Corbyn was pictured arriving at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today
- Ex-Labour leader’s brother is on trial for allegedly breaking Covid restrictions
- The 73-year-old denies participating in a gathering of more than two people
- Groups were banned from congregating during coronavirus emergency period
Piers Corbyn ignored police pleas to go home as he addressed fellow protestors at an anti-lockdown protest, a court heard.
The brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is accused of breaching Covid rules during anti-lockdown protests at Speaker’s Corner in London’s Hyde Park on tow occasions in May.
The 73-year-old has denied participating in a gathering in public of more than two people in England during coronavirus emergency period.
Piers Corbyn, the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is accused of breaching Covid rules during anti-lockdown protests at Speaker’s Corner in London’s Hyde Park in May
The 73-year-old has denied participating in a gathering in public of more than two people in England during coronavirus emergency period
The court was told that the two gatherings near Speakers Corner in Hyde Park on May 16 and May 30 were attended by 100 or more people.
Corbyn sat in front of the dock wearing a grey suit, blue shirt and red tie, and jotted down notes as Ben Cooper, QC, claimed his arrest was politically motivated.
Eight members of Corbyn’s group, Stand Up X, sat at the back of the socially distanced court to support the controversial weather forecaster while others were told to wait outside.
They refused to stand when District Judge Sam Goozee entered the room at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
Police body-worn footage showed the former Labour leader’s brother surrounded by enthusiastic supporters at Speakers’ Corner on 30 May.
The conspiracy theorist was heard saying ‘well thank you for listening officer’ as PC Thomas Pearson warned him: ‘You need to go home or you will be arrested.’
PC Pearson told the court he was there to ‘engage, explain, and encourage’ with protestors – and as a last resort, to ‘enforce’ the law.
‘The engagement phase had already taken place,’ added the officer.
He addressed his supporters and other people gathered outside court before going the hearing today
Corbyn, of East Street, Southwark, appeared at court last week to deny the two counts against him
Mr Cooper asked: ‘Is it because of this policy you chose to issue him with a Fixed Penalty Notice?’
‘You asked Mr Corbyn to leave, then you moved straight from that to enforcement by issuing him with a FIxed Penalty Notice.’
The officer replied: ‘It was almost impossible to explain and encourage because he was using a megaphone – it was difficult to have a conversation.
‘I think I explained for a period of time, the reason why he needed to go home.’
Pointing at the footage, the barrister asked: ‘Do you hear there that Mr Corbyn is explaining he is waiting for a friend before he can go home?’
PC Pearson replied: ‘Yes.’
Mr Cooper said: ‘You’ve seen him picking up his possessions and following your instructions to leave, do you see that?’
The officer replied: ‘Mr Corbyn’s megaphone at that stage did not work, someone else tried to hand over another megaphone.
‘That was him putting his megaphone down.’
Mr Cooper asked: ‘Do you hear him saying, I am going to leave?’
PC Pearson replied: ‘yes.’
The officer’s footage showed a supporter jumping into shot and yelling repeatedly ‘I’m inviting him for a coffee’ minutes before Corbyn was arrested.
At a hearing on Friday Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told Corbyn took part in the protests, which were ‘anti-lockdown’, in May this year and addressed people gathered at the meeting
The court was told that the two gatherings near Speakers Corner in Hyde Park on May 16 and May 30 were attended by 100 or more people, in breach of lockdown restictions at the time
Mr Cooper told PC Pearson: ‘Had you permitted Mr Corbyn to leave with the lady who invited him for a coffee, there would have been no need to arrest him at that stage.
‘He would have simply left.’
The officer replied: ‘I don’t think he would have.’
Mr Cooper said Corbyn was treated differently to fellow anti-lockdown and BLM protestors ‘because he is Jeremy Corbyn’s brother’.
The court was told another officer had explained to the weather forecaster that his arrest was ‘necessary to protect public health’ during the first gathering on 16 May.
Corbyn, of East Street, Southwark, appeared at court last week to deny the two counts against him.
Speaking to his supporters outside court on Friday he railed against the ‘Covid con’ and told around 20 supporters gathered outside court: ‘If we win, all the Covid convictions so far will be questioned.’
The trial continues.
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