Potters Bar man charged after fathers’ rights campaign stunt



Protests have been promised in support of a group of activists fighting for fathers’ rights who were arrested for climbing onto the roof of a magistrates court last week.

New Fathers 4 Justice members Sharon Chesterman, 55, of Minehead Way in Stevenage, Daniel Dedman, 33, from Potters Bar, and Martin Matthews, 48, from Leatherhead, climbed onto the roof of Stevenage Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday in support of fellow activist Bobby Smith, who appeared in court.

All three were arrested and have been charged with aggravated trespass. They have been bailed to appear before North East Herts Magistrates’ Court on February 15.

A spokesman for New Fathers 4 Justice said further protests are now planned in support of the ‘Stevenage Three’.

Mr Smith, of Anderson Road in Stevenage, was found guilty of breaching a restraining order by publishing photographs of his two daughters on Facebook. He was ordered to pay £597 in fines and court costs.

The 33-year-old was found not guilty of two charges of breaching a non-molestation order, relating to removing the photographs from Facebook and for posting a video on YouTube asking his daughters to contact him.

Mr Smith has been campaigning for a change in family law after he says he has been treated unfairly by the courts and denied proper access to his two young daughters for four years.

Last year, his protests including climbing onto roofs at Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, and standing against David Cameron for the Witney seat in the general election.

A New Fathers 4 Justice spokesman said: “The present biased, flawed family law system allows children to be exposed to a succession of mums’ fleeting boyfriends, lovers and stepfathers with whom they have no biological connection but gives no automatic right of access to their biological fathers or grandparents.

“New Fathers 4 Justice campaigns for equal rights for fathers in divorce and separation proceedings and reform of the family courts.

“No parent who is fit and willing should ever be denied their right to share equally in the lives of their own children.”