Bookham protestor gets off scot-free after second protest on MP’s roof

PROTESTERS who staged a demonstration on the roof of the Ashtead home of village MP Chris Grayling have been released without charge.

Elmo Grayling

New Fathers 4 Justice activists Martin Matthews, from Bookham, and Bobby Smith climbed atop of the home of the Leader of the House of Commons on October 21 in a family court protest.

The pair were arrested on suspicion of harassment and failing to comply later that day but all charges were dropped last week.

It is the second time that veteran protestor Mr Matthews, 48, has scaled the home of the former Justice Secretary, having been charged with criminal damage after a similar stunt in August 2014.

Following his release from bail, Mr Matthews, of Middlemead Road, told the Advertiser: “I went back [this time] dressed as Bob the Builder with some silicone to repair the small holes caused by my banner during the last protest.

“I haven’t been able to sleep for a year knowing that I had damaged his roof; it played on my conscience so much I have revisited his home to repair the small holes I made last time.

“We must have done a good job because they have now dropped the charges. The roof could be fixed but the family courts are beyond repair.

“We hear that David Cameron has a dodgy roof so that’s our next planned job.”

Mr Matthews was convicted of criminal damage at a hearing at Redhill Magistrates Court in January after nailing a banner reading “no rights? Go mad” into bitumen on Mr Grayling’s roof.

The hearing was delayed for several hours after Mr Matthews staged another protest atop of the court building.

New Fathers 4 Justice, which is unaffiliated to fellow group Fathers 4 Justice, campaigns for equal rights for fathers in divorce and separation proceedings and reform of the family courts.

A spokesman for the group said: “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 forty years of inequality and protest.”

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