A beauty salon owner has been fined after breaching Covid regulations by aiding a protest in Merseyside.
Julie Saunderson, 43, from Formby, who owns the “Skin Kerr” beauty salon in Bootle, encouraged a crowd of people protesting against the coronavirus restrictions imposed by the Government, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
Due to the rising number of cases in England, a nationwide lockdown was imposed from November 5 for four weeks.
This prompted protests in Merseyside on November 7, 8 and 21.
Sanderson, who previously was handed a closure notice by Sefton Council after her salon had a poster in its window denying the existence of Covid-19, was spotted by police officers monitoring the November 21 protest “encouraging” the crowd by shouting “this way” and gesticulating for them to follow her, the CPS added.
She was later charged with three counts of contravening Covid lockdown legislation.
It is not clear if the salon is still open or operating.
Sanderson pleaded not guilty but did not turn up for the start of the trial on Friday at Liverpool Magistrates court.
The hearing continued in her absence.
Police body-worn footage was shown of her facilitating the protest in the city centre and she was found guilty and fined £10,000 for her role in the protest and a further £2,000 for two other breaches. She was also ordered to pay £620 in costs and a £190 victim surcharge.
Senior Crown prosecutor Lydia Durkin of CPS Mersey Cheshire said: “Julie Saunderson clearly did not think that the legislation brought in by the Government to control a pandemic applied to her.
“She claimed to think that the legislation was unnecessary but it is not the role of citizens to second-guess what the law requires of them.
“It was clear that a national lockdown was in place on 21 November and people were required to stay at home for most of the day and certainly not to gather in any numbers outside of the home.
“Ms Saunderson ignored this, as she had earlier ignored calls to close her beauty salon.
“She has not participated in these legal proceedings but the court proceeded in her absence and she has now been given a substantial fine. The CPS hopes this sends out a strong message to people who try to circumvent laws that they see as inconvenient.”