Defendant with Asperger syndrome acquitted of all charges

Friday 12 September 2014

A young man who suffers from Asperger syndrome, significant communication difficulties and who had been seriously bullied at school, has been acquitted of racially aggravated harassment.

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The defendant, represented by Catherine Oborne, attended a pro-Palestinian protest in Brighton at which there was a counter-protest going on at the same time. The defendant sought to engage in conversation with one of the members of the counter-protest about his religious beliefs and there was a tense exchange between the two of them. This ultimately resulted in the defendant being charged with a number of offences, including racially aggravated harassment.

The defendant always maintained that he had not intended to cause any harassment and had been trying to engage in a theological conversation. He had felt threatened during the exchange and, because of his Asperger Syndrome, did not know how to react in order to diffuse the situation.

The Magistrates acquitted the defendant of racially aggravated harassment at the close of the prosecution case and, following the defendant’s evidence (given with the assistance of an intermediary) acquitted him of all wrongdoing.

Catherine was instructed by Teresa Blades at Kellys Solicitors.

Catherine Oborne is a member of the Garden Court Chambers Crime Team.

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