Ex-Balliol student in court for post-Finals horseplay

first_imgA former Balliol student who wasarrested and detained in custody for a night after calling a police horse “gay”is now to face court. Sam Brown, who graduated with an Englishdegree from Oxford this year, is to appearbefore a City Magistrate’s Court in Londonnext month after he failed to pay his fixed penalty notice of £80. He has been charged with “threatening,abusive or insulting words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within thehearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment or distress” underthe Public Order Act. On the night of the incidentBrown and his friends left the Cellar bar and came across two mountedpolicemen. Brown asked one of the policemen, “How do you feel about your horsebeing gay?” and was arrested after repeated comments about the sexuality of thepolice officer’s horse. Brown’s offer of an apology hadbeen rejected. He told Cherwell that he didn’tpay his fine because at the time he had just graduated, “I had no money, hadjust finished my Finals and I was skint. It wasn’t all about principle or aboutthe police being stupid: basically I didn’t think I should be fined.” He received his summons aroundtwo weeks ago when he returned to Oxfordto visit friends and found that it had been left in the pigeon hole of a firstyear at Balliol, also called Sam Brown. “I didn’t know it was coming, I thoughtthey might have dropped the charges.” Brown described the situation as “pedanticand ridiculous” and said that the police were “relying on the point that couldhave offended any passers-by at 2am on a Sunday morning. We pretty much had thestreet to ourselves.” Brown said that he plans to plead not guilty. Brown said, “feel very stronglyabout it, don’t want a criminal record.” said he said that he has obtainedlegal advice from a barrister who feels he has a “solid” case. Daniel Konrad-Cooper,former JCR President at Balliol who was with Brown at the time of the incident,said, “It’s pretty ridiculous. It’ll be interesting to see how it bears up. I didn’tthink it warranted him being arrested, didn’t think it warranted six policeofficers and I didn’t think it warranted a night in the cells.” The current JCR of Balliol, TrionaGiblin, agreed, “I think it’s a bit of a shame that something so obviously ajoke which was not meant to be offensive was taken out of all proportion.”ARCHIVE: 6th week MT 2005last_img read more