British citizen arrested for ‘agressive chanting’ (E E EDL)
EDL supporter arrested over ‘aggressive’ chanting
A balaclava-wearing English Defence League supporter was arrested when he chanted “aggressively” following a demonstration in Cambridge.
Simon Pearson, 29, who had drunk five pints and had been smoking cannabis, had been alone chanting “E, E, EDL” and waving his arms around in Burleigh Street after a march through the city by the EDL on July 9.
Pearson, of Whitehill Road, Cambridge, had previously denied a public order offence but failed to appear for his trial and was convicted in his absence by magistrates at Huntingdon.
He was fined £175, with a £15 victim surcharge, and was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £775.
Defence solicitor Jason Stevens questioned whether chanting EDL and wearing a balaclava amounted to using threatening behaviour, saying: “An awful lot of people doing exactly the same thing were not arrested.”
Antony Hook, prosecuting, said there had been a march in the city by the EDL and a counter protest by a group called United Against Fascism.
Pearson was seen in Burleigh Street at about 4.30pm.
Mr Hook told the magistrates: “He was on his own, no longer part of the main EDL protest and was wearing a balaclava over his face and shouting EDL, EDL, EDL.”
He said police gave Pearson a warning to move on, but shortly afterwards pulled his balaclava down and began chanting again and he was arrested in Norfolk Street.
Pc Sarah Pride said Pearson caught her attention because of the balaclava: “He had the balaclava on, he was waving his hands about and he was shouting EDL quite loudly.
“I would also say it was aggressive. He was waving his arms around and I wouldn’t say it was appropriate because of the time with people around. Quite a few people also seemed alarmed.”
Pearson told police he had been “carried away” with the buzz of the march, that he was an alcoholic and had drunk five pints as well as smoking cannabis.
Mr Stevens said: “He was shouting ‘E, E, EDL’. He is obviously affiliated to this group and just got involved showing his support for that group.”
He said people might not like the EDL or what it stood for but that Pearson had a right to express his views.
Mr Stevens said: “He has the right to express himself. He never intended to threaten anyone.”