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Public order offence

Jack Beasley

An English Defence League supporter who shouted abuse and used threatening behaviour during a demonstration in Walsall – has been handed a criminal anti-social behaviour order after narrowly avoiding a jail term due to health problems.

Jack Beasley travelled from Durham to take part in the protest which brought Walsall town centre to a standstill on September 29 last year, Walsall Magistrates Court heard yesterday.

Trouble flared, in Leicester Street, during the rally.

Miss Jo Taylor, prosecuting, said: “By the time the afternoon approached things were clearly getting out of hand.”

She said Beasley had been wearing a black EDL top and was identified on CCTV raising his arms and chanting.

She said other people around him were throwing ‘missiles’ at police and Beasley looked as though he had picked up some items and was making a throwing action in various photos.

He denied throwing any objects.

Miss Taylor told the court: “As you can see from some photos, he is on the frontline behaving in an aggressive manner, chanting at police.”

Beasley, aged 23, of Cedar Road, Bishop Auckland, initially denied using threatening words or behaviour with the intent to cause fear or provoke unlawful violence.

But he changed his plea to guilty on the day of his trial.

Sentencing Beasley, District Judge Michael Morris said: “It is clear you have hatred for certain members of the community. Whether you are going to change your ways or not, I do not know.

“You were picking up items which could be used to throw at police or demonstrators.”

He said the offence would usual carry a prison sentence but was prepared to suspend the jail term because Beasley had health problems.

Beasley was sentenced to 12 weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months, and was handed a community order with a supervision requirement.

He was ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work, pay £250 costs and was handed a three-year criminal anti-social behaviour order which forbids him from attending any rally by the EDL or Unite Against Fascism.

It also prevents him from displaying any banner or placard with writing or a logo which is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to any other person.

A number of protesters and police officers were treated for minor cuts and bruises after angry scenes unfolded last September.

Express and Star

Woman fined for shouting racial abuse while drunk on her way to EDL rally

A woman has been fined £100 after she drunkenly told police she was going “P*** bashing with the EDL”.

Lianne Tyler made the racist remark to a custody sergeant after being arrested on her way to Saturday’s English Defence League demo in Birmingham city centre.

The 20-year-old, of Brailes Grove, Bordesley Green , also twice referred to a police officer as a “black c***”, the court heard.

City magistrates were told officers had found Tyler drunk and carrying alcohol in New Street. She refused to be moved on and told police: “I’m not f****** leaving town, I’m going to EDL.”

Tyler, wearing a T-shirt and combat shorts in court, pleaded guilty to offences of failing to disperse and racially aggravated public order.

She was fined £50 on each charge, but the fine was deemed served by her time spent in custody since Saturday afternoon.

Police made a total of 20 arrests in connection with the EDL event in Centenary Square and a counter anti-fascist demonstration in Chamberlain Square.

Officers are now studying CCTV footage from the day to identify other possible offences.

There were a total of three hospital admissions for minor injuries, including a police officer who received head injuries after being hit by bricks. He was treated at hospital and later discharged.

Police say up to 2,000 people had gathered at the two rival protests .

But the unrest had repercussions for businesses in the city.

Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, said: “Retail sales contribute an estimated £3.1 million to Birmingham’s economy per day.

“It’s not possible to know what reduction to trading was caused by Saturday’s demonstrations but at this stage in the fragile economic recovery, we can’t afford any loss of trade, no matter how small.

“There is also the importance of Birmingham’s reputation, which has been transformed in recent years into a popular leisure destination.

“As the largest city outside of London, Birmingham will always be a centre for demonstrations.

“While the right to free speech must be upheld, we need to do all we can to make sure this is exercised in a responsible and safe way.”

Birmingham Mail

A protester at an English Defence League march in Walsall has been given a suspended jail term and banned from any demonstrations for four years.

Peter Jelley outside Walsall Magistrates Court

Peter Jelley was caught on CCTV gesturing and shouting at a line of police in Walsall as trouble broke out at the rally last autumn. He was sentenced to 20 weeks in custody, suspended by a year, and given a Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order at the town’s magistrates court.

The 24-year-old from Shropshire admitted a public order offence of using threatening or abusive behaviour at a previous court hearing and was sentenced yesterday.

The footage from the afternoon of September 29 was played to District Judge Michael Morris and showed Jelley walking up to officers and ‘gesticulating and shouting.’ This was despite the efforts of a female to pull him away.

Mr Paul Nicholas, defending, said: “He has faced up to what he has done, he has faced up to being part of the march. He is shameful of what he has done.”

He insisted his client had disassociated himself from others and had become angry after a relative was hurt. The court was told Jelley has previous convictions for a racially aggravated offence in 2011 and assault the year before.

District Judge Michael Morris said: “You went there knowing what would happen. You were on the frontline facing up to police, clearly agitated and pointing to police.”

Jelley, of Prescott Close, Shrewsbury, was sentenced to five months in custody, suspended for a year.

He was also ordered to do 250 unpaid work and go to an adult attendance centre for 36 hours.

He was also ordered to pay £80 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

Express & Star

AN anti-paedophile campaigner has been jailed for throwing punches and kicks in a violent clash between football supporters in the city centre.

Christopher Wittwer was one of seven men sentenced at Exeter Crown Court yesterday after the group of hooligans went after Huddersfield Town supporters in May last year.

Wittwer, who set up a controversial anti-paedophile website naming convicted child sex offenders last summer, was jailed for 10 months.

Violence flared while the High Street was full of shoppers, including parents who had to shield their toddler in a push chair.

Wittwer, 35, of Oakmead, Aylesbeare; Darren Bolt, 24, of Salisbury Road, Exmouth; Neil Vooght, 35, of Hazelwood Park, Dawlish, and Neil Cartwright, 37, of Lapwing Close, Cullompton, all admitted affray.

Bolt, Vooght and Cartwright were also jailed for 10 months but the term was suspended for two years.

They were ordered to carry out 220 hours of unpaid work each.

Brendan Daniel, 24, of Leypark Road, Exeter; Mark Langdon, 20, of Austin Close, Exeter, and Joseph Foxworthy, 25, of Old Vicarage Road, Exeter, admitted public order offences. They were due to be given community orders with unpaid work.

Prosecutor Richard Crabb told the court the group were “looking for a violent confrontation” on May 8, last year, the day of a home game between Exeter City and Huddersfield Town.

He said a group of Huddersfield fans had been having a “quiet drink” in The Ship Inn, but most had left.

At 2pm, a group of 25 Exeter supporters gathered outside the pub shouting and swearing.

Some went inside but on realising the rivals had left walked up the High Street where they found a group of four Huddersfield fans.

Wittwer and Vooght were aiming punches and kicks at the rivals. They also chased them down the road. Bolt was seen throwing punches and Cartwright kicking out.

Mr Crabb said: “Members of the public were moving out of the way and some were protecting a toddler in a push chair.”

When police arrived the group fled but these defendants were identified.

Mr Crabb said the violence was “nipped in the bud by the prompt arrival of police” but had the potential to be much worse. The incident was clearly caught on CCTV.

Wittwer previously received a banning order for three years for threatening an Aldershot Town supporter in Sidwell Street, in 2004. He breached the order twice and was also convicted of an affray in a nightclub, in 2007.

The court was told that Vooght, Bolt and Daniel had no previous convictions.

Cartwright and Foxworthy both have two dissimilar previous convictions and Langdon has two public order offences on his record, from 2009.

Stephen Nunn, mitigating for Wittwer, said he admitted his guilt straight away and wanted to be sentenced back in February. He told the court that Wittwer, who has an ex-wife and child who live abroad, rarely goes out now and has not offended since the incident.

He conceded that he “had the disadvantage of having two things on his record that put him in a difficult situation.”

Mitigating for Vooght, Nigel Wraith said the offence was “completely out of character”.

For Bolt, Cartwright, Daniel, Foxworthy and Langdon, Kevin Hopper said they should get credit for their guilty pleas.

Judge Phillip Wassall told Wittwer he had a “dreadful record for football-related violence.”

They were all given football banning orders preventing them from attending games for six years.

This is Plymouth

AN URGENT call for help has been made to the government to protect Nuneaton from falling victim to the English Defence League again.

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council leader, councillor Dennis Harvey wants the Home Secretary Theresa May to take action as the town has been targeted by the controversial group more than any other place in the entire country.

A letter, signed by Cllr Harvey, Cllr Peter Gilbert, the leader of the opposing Conservatives at the Town Hall, and chief executive Christine Kerr, has been sent to the corridors of power in Parliament asking for help following the most recent demonstration and march.

“Saturday saw the fourth visit of the English Defence League to our borough, a visit that brought nothing but fear, problems and enormous cost to local residents,” Cllr Harvey said.

“From what I can gather, we have now been targeted more than any other town in Britain.

“The borough council, along with the county council, has asked the Home Secretary to act in regard to the EDL. The local authorities, nor the police, can continue to deal with this problem alone. Nuneaton and Bedworth is a harmonious community, where people of all cultures and backgrounds get along well together. Attempts to disrupt this and divide us will not win, but we cannot do this alone. “The government must act to protect small towns such as ours.”

As featured in yesterday’s News, businesses and market traders are now counting the cost of the demonstration and march.

Early indications are that around half a million pound in revenue was lost on the day, but that shocking figure could rise further.

Despite some businesses choosing to close and others shutting up shop by the afternoon, there were stores and market stall holders who attempted to trade throughout the day.

Their determination to ensure it was `business as usual,’ as well as the huge policing effort to protect the town has been praised by Cllr Harvey.

“Can I pass on my thanks to those residents and to the market traders, shopkeepers and others who decided to stand firm and not let people from elsewhere ‘win’,” he said.

“Our local police deserve nothing but praise for the way in which they handled this march and dealt with the many hundreds of people who came in to our borough to disrupt daily life.”

Chiefs at Warwickshire Race Equality Partnership (WREP) joined the plaudits, particularly those who took part in the counter demonstration in the Church Street car park.

“A big thankyou to the communities of Nuneaton, who have shown great strength and courage, and listened to community leaders to stand together against far right parties and not to rise to provocation and enticement,” said Helal Shahid, WREP chief executive.

“I am pleased that Saturday passed peacefully, nevertheless, anyone who does need support, help or advice on how to report any racist incident can do so through one of our reporting centres.”

The huge policing operation almost certainly stopped simmering tensions boiling over into violence moments after the EDL’s official march had started at just after 1pm.

It came to a nasty flashpoint as the march came past the Church Street car park where around 150 Nuneaton Anti-Facist Alliance (NAFA)and associated group members were staging a peaceful static, counter demonstration.

Cans, bottles, stones and fireworks were thrown, and angry words and chants were exchanged between the rival protesters.

It came to an ugly climax when both sides surged towards each other and police horses, dogs and riot officers had to rush-in to keep the two apart.

The march then proceeded around onto Vicarage Street, past the Justice Centre, down into Bond Gate and then back up Wheat Street and into the Justice Walk car park, where an EDL rally was held.

But the policing operation carried on way after the coaches had arrived to collect the majority of the sympathisers, who came from across the country.

As a result of the huge police presence, seven arrests were made, which led to three people being charged and they are now due to appear before justices at Nuneaton Magistrates Court.

They are Calum Michael Bruce, aged 23 from Hartshill, Nuneaton who was charged with a public order offence.

Kevin Patrick Keegan, aged 44 and from Walsall, who was charged with a public order offence, and Gary Watson, aged 42 from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, who has been charged with being drunk and disorderly.

All three have been released on police bail to appear before Magistrates at the Vicarage Street-based court on Tuesday.

A 17-year-old male from Nuneaton who was arrested for possession of a knife has received a final warning. A 16-year-old male and a 17-year-old male, both from Nuneaton, who were arrested on suspicion of causing affray have been released on police bail.

So has a 21-year-old man from Nottingham, who was arrested on suspicion of robbery. All three have been bailed to appear at the local police station at a later date, pending further police enquiries.

Nuneaton News

 

Joel Titus

AN Eastcote teenager has been banned from attending protests by far-right group the English Defence League.

Joel Titus, 19, of North View, who has been violent at EDL protests, was slapped with an antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) at Uxbridge Magistrates Court on Friday.

The court heard about the teenager’s involvement in a string of incidents between 2009 and 2010, which police say were overwhelmingly related to EDL protests.

Titus was barred from entering or loitering outside mosques or Islamic prayer rooms, attending any EDL demonstration, or visiting an area of Whitechapel for three years.

He is not allowed to be part of a group of ten or more people, whose actions could cause alarm or distress, display a sign or placard, or use defamatory or insulting language which could cause alarm or distress.

Detective Constable Andy Haworth, from the national domestic extremism unit, said: “We hope this anti-social behaviour order will show people we will not tolerate violence being used at legitimate lawful protests.”

Edmund Hall, London ASBO specialist at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: “Mr Titus’ activities were not simple political protest when he became involved in public disorder and violence.

“Where that sort of activity is present, police and the CPS will seek to control the freedom of that individual through prosecution and antisocial behaviour orders.”

The hearing was brought after Titus was convicted for a public order offence and resisted arrest at a pub in Hillingdon, in December 2010.

Harrow Times

A man who used his Facebook account to post racist messages has been given community service.

Raymond Strachan, 21, used the social networking site to promote his support of fascist group the Scottish Defence League.

On Tuesday, Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how Strachan visited various pages on Facebook and left various messages on them in an attempt to stir up racial hatred.

Strachan, from Edinburgh, started posting the messages in July 2011 and continued until he was caught in January this year. Police tracked him down after receiving complaints from other internet users.

The postings, made from his house and other locations in Edinburgh, abused various different racial groups.

Strachan was convicted of breaching the 1986 Public Order Act at a hearing last month.

Sheriff William Holligan him to 200 hours of community service.

Speaking after the case, the procurator fiscal for the East of Scotland, John Logue, welcomed the sentence.

Mr Logue said: “Police and prosecutors across the country take such offences extremely seriously. I hope this case sends a warning to those who think that offences committed on the internet are in some way immune from the reach of the law.

“Prejudice and hatred has no place in Scotland and we will continue to do all in our powers to eradicate it.”

STV