A fathers’ rights campaigner clambered onto the roof of a court due to try him for climbing onto the roof of Justice Secretary Chris Grayling last year.
The New Fathers 4 Justice campaigner, Martin Matthews, 47, of Middlemead Road, Bookham, climbed onto the roof of South East Surrey Magistrates’ Court in Redhill at around 7.30am.
It was believed that he intended to come down before the start of his trial for criminal damage when he camped-out on the roof of the Epsom and Ewell MP in Ashtead last August for a day and a night to “highlight the injustice parents face in the present family court system”.
August 21 2014: “I’ll have one last fag”: Fathers for Justice protester on Chris Grayling’s roof arrested
From yesterday: Fathers’ rights activists warn Chris Grayling to “expect the unexpected” at criminal damage court case
Three fellow campaigners were also outside the court this morning under the watchful eye of a number of police and two police cars.
Mr Matthews had been holding up a placard saying “Chris Grayling foresake your iniquities”. Asked why he was on the roof he called down: “It is what I do. It is cold up here.”
He backed down a ladder at about 9.40am aided by two helpful police officers, ready to take on his court case.
But he refused to enter the court room to stand trial unless his fellow campaigners outside were allowed in. They had been told by one of the admin staff at the court that they would not be allowed into the building.
From September 30 2014: Activist who climbed on Chris Grayling’s roof sings ‘stick your new world order up your arse’ to Tory MPs
Tim Line who had been protesting peacefully outside the court said: “I am disgusted. It is a public building. My taxes are paying for all the people in there.”
A police sergeant McCarthy at the scene told protesters that the decision as to whether they could attend the trial would be made by a judge who had yet to arrive because of train delays.
One of the campaigners outside the court, who called himself Eddie Goldtooth, said: “Going before the family courts is like throwing napalm on a house that is already burning.”
Another, Tim Line, said: “It is an ideal opportunity being in court anyway and Chris Grayling is going to be here. It is an opportunity to highlight the problems with family courts.
In August Mr Matthews climbed up with supplies and unfurled a banner and was even caught on camera apparently mooning from the Justice Secretary’s rooftop.
He was due to appear at 10am to answer a charge of criminal damage, which he has previously pleaded not guilty to.
His charge stated: “On or between 19th and 20th August 2014 at Ashtead in the county of Surrey without lawful excuse, damaged part of a roof to the value of approximately £400 belonging to Chris Grayling intending to destroy or damage such property or being reckless as to whether such property would be destroyed or damaged.”
Your Local Guardian:
In a statement issued on Monday, New Fathers 4 Justice said Mr Grayling should “expect the unexpected”.
“Chris Grayling has accused Martin of damage to his roof, so he will to be at court to give evidence,” it read.
“Others activists will also be present, expect the unexpected.
“No parent who is fit and willing should ever be denied their right to share equally in the lives of their own children.
“New Fathers 4 Justice campaigns for greater rights for fathers when parents split and is not associated with Matt O’Connor or Fathers4Justice UK.
“We use direct action and protests to highlight the injustice fathers face in the present family court system.
“We want nothing less than a legal presumption of equal contact for a child with their parents if they split up, and the abolition of the deeply controversial, undemocratic secret court system that still exists within the family division despite 40 years of inequality and protest.”
Campaigner James Dennis said he camped outside David Cameron’s house in Oxfordshire over Christmas.
He said he has not seen his three children for four years.
He said: “Every day is like living the death of somebody. You can’t mourn them. It’s horrendous. You’re in pain every single day you’re not seeing your kids. It’s destroying.”
He said his ex does not want him to see them and criticised the family courts.
He said: “It’s gender biased. It’s all for women. Nothing is investigated.”