brian haw narrowly escaped parliament square ban in court today
the GLA couldn’t get rid of him. the government couldn’t get rid of him. even the flawed SOCPA legislation failed in it’s main aim to get rid of him, but today, a magistrate at horseferry road very nearly succeeded!
the case arises from an alleged assault by brian on a man named nigel cutteridge back in september 2007. although police didn’t even approach brian about the incident until two months later.
nigel cutteridge has previous convictions and is certainly a maverick (he also ran a strange website http://www.angelnigel.com although this is currently down).
during the sentencing today, mr cutteridge (who is a self-confessed alcoholic) was expelled from the court by the judge. he was then expelled from the courthouse building because of threatening behaviour towards one of brian’s supporters, barbara tucker.
at the time of the alleged assault, cutteridge had been drinking cider early in the morning, and had continually interrupted a conversation between brian haw and activist/comedian mark thomas (who was one of the defence witnesses in the case). at the time of the incident, cutteridge was apparently dressed in a pirate hat, wore lipstick, had his pants outside his trousers, and was wielding a cricket bat!
some time after the alleged assault, he boasted to an independent journalist (quite by chance in the street) about how he had been egged on by parliamentary police to goad brian and hassle him – he told her the police were very happy with him and would arrange publicity for him when they arrested brian. the journalist took notes of the strange unsolicited conversation, but the court didn’t get to hear this evidence and the judge also refused to allow other dvd evidence of police collusion, including a long conversation between cutteridge and parliamentary police.
judge tubbs accepted the word of mr cutteridge (whose police record shows an astounding 213 stop-and-searches, as well as other convictions or cautions including ‘drunk and disorderly’ and ‘behaviour liable to cause alarm or distress’), and she found brian guilty last week of common assault.
at the sentencing today at horseferry road, she imposed a 56-day ‘exclusion order’, banning brian from parliament square, whitehall and the area around parliament.
this would have given police the opportunity to remove his last few placards, the tent he sleeps in, and the voice of conscience he represents to the MPs that voted for the wars in iraq and afghanistan. in a flurry of legal activity, barristers argued that the ban could not be imposed as it would effectively make him homeless, but judge tubbs was adamant the decision would stand.
however, brian’s barrister succeeded in lodging an immediate appeal, and in the face of that, judge tubbs had to finally back down, suspending the sentence until the outcome of such appeal.
in the meantime, brian and a few loyal supporters will continue their vigil in parliament square throughout christmas and into the new year – please offer them some support if you can.