The brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Piers Corbyn, has been found guilty at Westminster Crown Court of breaching the government’s strict coronavirus lockdown laws by attending an anti-shutdown rally.
Piers Corbyn, a meteorologist, physicist, and prominent sceptic of man-made climate change, had denied two counts of breaking the law when he attended anti-lockdown demonstrations at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, London, on the 16th and 30th of May.
The 73-year-old had argued that his right to free speech and free assembly had been illegally restricted. While he was acquitted of the charge relating to the latter protest — as police had already issued Mr Corbyn an on-the-spot fine — Piers Corbyn was found guilty on Wednesday of breaching the government’s emergency health laws on May 16th, according to The Guardian.
Judge Sam Goozee gave Corbyn an absolute discharge, with no further punishment to follow, after it was heard he had spent 12 hours in police custody following his arrest.
The court saw a video of the lockdown sceptic, described by the prosecution as a “poster boy for disparate groups” protesting that day, addressing the crowd at Speakers’ Corner — hallowed ground for free speech in the United Kingdom — on May 16th, telling supporters that “if it carries on like this, we have a Big Brother society imposed upon us”.
Delingpole: Boris Goes Full Fascist Against Lockdown Protests – But Not BLM or XR https://t.co/6ekX6MdEOm
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 21, 2020
The court had also heard that on May 30th, a Black Lives Matter protest was allowed to take place. Defending Mr Corbyn, Ben Cooper QC said the arrest of his client on May 16th contravened his right to free speech and was “disproportionate and unnecessary”.
Mr Cooper said: “Mr Corbyn was participating in a gathering, he had reasonable excuse in relation to his right to peaceful protest.
“The crown interfered with his rights in a manner that was disproportionate and unnecessary.”
He also quoted a tweet by Boris Johnson who had said the following month that while he condemned the violence of BLM rallies, the prime minister maintained that “people have a right to protest peacefully”.
Mr Corbyn told supporters waiting outside Westminister Crown Court on Wednesday after he was released without further being punishment: “We’ve had a tremendous result.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 17, 2020