Doncaster 'conspiracy theorist' in London court over coronavirus lockdown demo

A Doncaster ‘conspiracy theorist’ who attended the same anti-lockdown rally as Jeremy Corbyn’s brother has appeared in court in London charged with breaching coronavirus restrictions.

By Darren Burke
Thursday, 20th August 2020, 5:59 am

Phillip Anthony Hartley, 37, attended a gathering which included Piers Corbyn and a number of people protesting lockdown, 5G and vaccines.

The Hyde Park gathering took place on 16 May mid-lockdown, where gatherings of more than two people were prohibited.

Komal Varsani, prosecuting, told Westminster Magistrates Court: ‘The incident itself goes back to the 16 May, at Hyde Park in London.

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Doncaster man Phillip Anthony Hartley, who also uses the name Phillip L'Estrange and describes himself as the Love Camapigner, outside Westminster Magistrates' Court in London. (Photo: Central News)

‘It relates to an organisation, a group, that formed on that day called UK Freedom Movement.

‘They were campaigning, a national campaign, encouraging others to join that group in protest of the lockdown.’

Mr Varsani told the court that the group had organised a number of protests around the country.

Police had been notified of the protest at Hyde Park, and made arrests after the marchers failed to disperse.

Wearing camo tracksuit bottoms, a blue hoodie and black trainers, Hartley initially refused to get in the dock, instead claiming one of the tables reserved for lawyers.

‘I am here as a man of flesh and blood,’ he told court staff.

District Judge John Zani told him: ‘I am afraid I am requesting you to go into the dock, to either sit in the dock or I am content for you to sit in front of the dock.’

After being informed that he refused he would be treated as though he didn’t come to court, Hartley relented and sat in front of the dock.

Hartley, who also uses the name Phillip L’Estrange, appeared in court alongside Fiona Hine, 34, of Wandsworth, and Jakub Andrzej Grygowski, 27, of Ealing, who were charged after attending the rally.

Judge Zani bailed them all ahead of their trial on the 11 December at Westminster Magistrates Court.

Crowds of supporters gathered outside of the courtroom but not were not able to enter the public galley due to social distancing.

Among the ones that made the cut was Mr Corbyn, dressed in a grey suit and long coat and taking notes throughout the proceedings.

Hartley, of Christ Church Road, Doncaster, denied participating in a gathering of more than two people in England during the coronavirus emergency period.

He was given unconditional bail to face trial on the 11 December at Westminster Magistrates Court.