Ben Newman ran onto the Epsom racecourse seconds after the starter gates opened on the 3rd June 2023 Derby flat-race. Though the horses were still out of sight by the time several security and police officers dragged him off in front of the Grandstand, his act was prosecuted as a public nuisance.
Appearing in custody before Recorder David Ockelton at Guildford Crown Court he was sentenced today (6th July).
The court heard from Wendy Cottee prosecuting that it was only the swift action of security and police that ensured the race itself proceeded undisturbed. Nevertheless, it was clear from video and audio footage that many members of the public were “seriously annoyed”. She also told the court that Newman had sent an appeal on social media calling for a large number of sympathisers of “Animals Rising” to join him in his protest. An appeal the Judge commented had not been successful.
Defending Mr Nick Goss said that Newman was passionate and well intentioned. He did not intend to create danger but only to protest. His time in custody since 3rd June had been a “salutary lesson” and caused him to reflect on his actions.
Newman has been arrested over the last year in connection with various sporting events and was on bail with a condition not to attend public sporting events on 3rd June. Mr Goss stated that none of these investigations had led to any criminal charges.
The Judge said to Newman “The proud liberties of our constitution have limits – you went beyond those limits. There was a clear danger to police and security. You could not predict how long it would take them to remove you.”
“The offence is serious with a maximum of 10 years. However, I will make the sentence as short as possible. It will be 18 weeks and it will be suspended for 2 years.”
The court ordered Newman to undertake 80 hours community service and to pay costs of £1800 and a victim surcharge of £126.