Fathers’ rights activist James Dennis has Westminster Abbey protest charges dropped


Two men from a fathers’ rights splinter group who wanted the Queen to give evidence in court after they scaled Westminster Abbey have had charges against them dropped.

Activists James Dennis, from Bishops Cleeve, and Bobby Smith unfurled three banners at the top of the world-famous church opposite the Houses of Parliament earlier this year.

They had asked a London court to summons the Queen so that she could say whether she objected to their presence on the abbey.

In their letter asking Hammersmith Magistrates Court to call the monarch as a witness, Mr Smith wrote: “Due to the nature of the charge (aggravated trespass) it is vital the owner of the property gives evidence as my defence is the owner did not object to me being on the property.”

He said the Crown Prosecution Service accepted that the pair did nothing illegal except the actual act of trespass.

The letter said that because the site had an implied right of access and no sign or gates it was “surely down to the owner whether we trespassed or not, and also an important factor is whether or not the owner made a complaint to the police before or after the alleged incident.”

He added: “The witness contact details are: Her Majesty The Queen, Buckingham Palace.”

The last monarch to appear in court was Charles I in 1649, which ended in him being beheaded for high treason. Nor have they ever been asked to give evidence.

Mr Smith explained to the court: “I have sent two letters recorded delivery which have been acknowledged (I can show evidence of this to the court) but I am not sure she will attend.”

Mr Smith, from Waltham Cross, and Mr Dennis, were arrested after the Father’s Day June 21 stunt, having hung their banners reading Parental Alienation, Give Me Back Elmo and Daddy’s Not Giving up on You Elmo x x x from scaffolding that had been erected across one side of the building.

But late on Monday night they were visited by police and given a letter informing them that all charges have been dropped.

The CPS had decided there was “not enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.”

Elmo, named after the Muppet character, was the party Mr Smith formed to run against David Cameron in Witney in the General Election.

Mr Smith, 33, and Mr Dennis belong to New Fathers4Justice, which is not connected with the similarly named fathers’ rights charity.

The splinter group said in a statement revealing the decision: “The government must Stop the War on Dads.

“The lack of justice for fathers to have contact with their children is one of the biggest social scandals of our time.”

Last month Mr Smith, dressed as Elmo, and fellow activist Martin Matthews, 48, in Bob the Builder garb, set up a tent on the roof of Tory MP Chris Grayling’s Surrey house.

New Fathers  4Justice added: “Fathers day is an emotional time for fathers denied access to their children. No parent who is fit and willing should ever be denied their right to share equally in the lives of their own children.

“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.”

Speaking from the top of the scaffolding at the time of the Westminster Abbey protest, Mr Smith said: “We chose Westminster Abbey because it’s such an iconic church.

“And because it’s Father’s Day – we haven’t just done this on the spur of the moment.

“Fathers’ rights just aren’t on the political agenda.”