Two from Wales among lockdown protestors fined for breaking restrictions
Chris McKeon, local democracy reporter
Two people from Wales were among lockdown protestors who found themselves facing fines in Liverpool for breaking Covid restrictions.
Last month saw magistrates in the English city levy significant fines on people who protested against lockdown. The fines, which totalled more than £30,000, were levied under the single justice procedure in which cases are dealt with in private based only on written testimony and with no lawyers present.
The identities of the Covid deniers were revealed following requests by the LDRS for access to records of these cases.
They include a group of four Covid deniers, two from Swansea, who turned up in a car at Calderstones School in Liverpool where the Army was providing testing services for pupils as the second lockdown began last November.
A video showed the quartet confronting soldiers and school staff, including the headteacher, shouting at pupils not to get tested and describing the virus as a “lie” and a “fraud”.
Their antics drew widespread condemnation from pupils, residents and politicians, with then-mayor Joe Anderson saying: “They are harassing school staff, intimidating and shouting at kids, their behaviour is totally unforgivable and I would like to see the police respond.”
Following coverage in regional and national media, Merseyside Police tasked PC Jordan Royle with identifying the people in the video.
In a statement submitted to the court, PC Royle said witnesses identified two of the people as Wesley Garner, 42, and his partner Lisa Holt, 43, both of Morriston on the outskirts of Swansea.
Further checks revealed the driver of the car to be Andrea Rimmer, 39, of Stradbroke Road in Wavertree.
PC Royle said: “Due to the location of this incident occurring outside a high school, the current restrictions the people of Merseyside and people across the [country] have been adhering to, the amount of calls about the incident, the social media interest and national newspaper coverage, the police must be seen to take action against these offenders.”
All three were therefore summonsed to court for participating in an outdoor gathering of more than two people. None of them responded to the summons.
Magistrate Penelope Barker found all three guilty on the basis of PC Royle’s statement and fined each of them £1,760. They must each also pay costs of £100 and a surcharge of £176 towards victim services, resulting in a total fine of £2,036 each.
Attempts to identify the fourth person in Rimmer’s car have not yet resulted in a prosecution.