A defiant Piers Corbyn has vowed to go out and “drink against the curfew” on the steps of a court as his trial over an alleged coronavirus rules breach began.
Mr Corbyn, 73, a former weather forecaster and the brother of the former Labour Party leader Jeremy, denies two counts of participating in a gathering of more than two people in England.
The two charges relate to separate anti-lockdown demonstrations that took place in Hyde Park, London on May 16 and May 30.
Appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday (October 23), Mr Corbyn was met with applause outside the courthouse and a group of around 10 people showed up to support him in the public gallery.
“If we win today, this will set a precedent for all other people arrested under the Covid regulations,” he told reporters before the start of the trial.
“If we lose, we will appeal. Whatever happens, if they impose a fine, I will not pay the fine. I’m not going to pay any fines for these anti-just, illegal laws.
“Just to let you know that tonight, in a place as yet unrealised, but if you go on Twitter you'll find out, we're going to have another drink against the curfew - where allegedly someone's going to be blowing fire.”
There was an initial delay to proceedings amid the apparent late disclosure of material that will be used in court by the prosecution.
“These issues should have been dealt with between June and today,” said District Judge Samuel Goozee.
A handful of protesters expressed their solidarity with Mr Corbyn outside the courthouse whilst holding signs including the slogans ‘this is now tyranny’ and ‘Covid-19 equals control’.
The activist was one of 19 people arrested during the first protest on May 16 which saw about 50 people gather at Speakers’ Corner.
He said at the event that the ongoing pandemic is linked to the use of 5G mobile phone technology, a claim for which there is no evidence. Flyers that were distributed to advertise the May 16 protest criticised the “new normal… and the unlawful lockdown”.