Piers Corbyn to go on trial over lockdown protests
Piers Corbyn, the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, will cite his human rights when he goes on trial for protesting about lockdown restrictions, a court heard.
The 73-year-old, a climate change denier who set up weather forecasting business Weather Action, denied two counts of contravening coronavirus rules to attend protests at London’s Hyde Park on May 16 and 30.
Corbyn, from Southwark in south London, acknowledges he was at the mass gatherings, but said he was exercising freedom of expression and his right to protest.
He pleaded not guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday afternoon to two charges of participating in a gathering in public of more than two people in England during the coronavirus emergency period.
He will go on trial on October 23.
Corbyn’s defence counsel, Richard Parry, said there were inconsistencies between police forces in England about how they dealt with protesters, and alleged further inconsistencies by the Metropolitan Police in action taken against different protests.
Mr Parry described his client as a peaceful protester, adding: “He’s clearly a man with a sign and a megaphone, and perhaps a few leaflets to give out.”
Prosecutor Misha Majid said Corbyn also received a fixed penalty notice on May 9 for allegedly protesting over lockdown restrictions.
Corbyn, wearing a black suit, dark blue shirt and claret tie, sat with a newspaper tucked under his arm and wrote in a notebook during the 25-minute hearing.
Corbyn was released on unconditional bail, and posed for photographs with a handful of supporters outside the court.