A 25 YEAR-old Lower Gornal man who launched a “flying kick” at a police officer during an English Defence League march has been jailed for one year.
Judge Michael Challinor told Thomas Blackwell, of Bird Street: “You attended this demonstration with the intention of causing disorder and violence.”
“This is clear from the fact you were wearing protective clothing in the form of a stab vest. In the course of this disorder you tackled a police officer by using a flying kick to his protective shield.”
The judge said he had taken into consideration Blackwell would lose his employment if he was sent to prison but he added: “This type of violent behaviour so often prevents law abiding citizens from protesting peacefully.”
Blackwell admitted affray and the judge said it was clear from DVD evidence he had been at the “forefront” of the EDL march on July 17 last year.
Stephen Thomas prosecuting said Blackwell had been near the front of a group of EDL protesters who had thrown bottles and other missiles at police officers.
He told Wolverhampton Crown Court that protesters also tried to provoke the officers by chanting the names of people who had killed policemen including Raoul Moat who had hit the headlines just weeks earlier.
Blackwell who represented himself in court said he felt the description “flying kick” totally exaggerated his actions while adding: “I am ashamed of what I did. I have shamed myself and my family.”
Two other men – Scott Bailey, 23, of Central Drive, Gornal and 20 year-old Anthony Grant of George Road, Netherton – will be sentenced on May 31 after also admitting a charge of affray in connection with the EDL march.