Ricardo McFarlane of Walthamstow, northeast London, aged 30, had allegedly breached an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO). He and a group of 20 men have been alleged of setting up a stall outside Topshop in Oxford Street on 25th March last year, asking for imposing the strict laws of Sharia across the UK. He denies this breach and stood trial at Southwark Crown Court yesterday.
Wearing a green and gold robe, the bearded defendant told the court usher that he would not stand for “any man” before the hearing began at the court. Judge Martin Beddoe noticed this and said, “If Mr McFarlane isn’t going to treat this court with respect then I might have to deal with him differently than to release him on bail.”
He was defended by Roy Hedlam, who went on to explain that McFarlane believes that he will bow down to only person and nobody else.
The judge continued, “That is as may be, but this isn’t a court of religion, this is a secular court and it expects to be treated with respect.” He further continued, “[T]hat isn’t in breach of any religious principles I’m aware of.”
As this was happening, McFarlane stood up, prompting the judge to say, “He’s very kindly standing up for me because I’m about to go.”
He remained standing in his dock for the rest of the hearing.
A witness being unable to attend the trial has resulted in it being adjourned to the 11th September.
Meanwhile, the defendant McFarlane who is out on conditional bail should report to his local police station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.