LONDON (Reuters) - A 28-year-old man pleaded guilty on Monday to a charge of outraging public decency and was sentenced to 14 days in jail after he urinated next to a memorial to a murdered policeman during far-right protests in central London.
Andrew Banks was photographed on Saturday urinating near a memorial which honours PC Keith Palmer, who was murdered while on duty at the Houses of Parliament during an attack in 2017 in which four other people were also killed.
Banks had been in Westminster with a group of far-right demonstrators and football fans who said they wanted to defend British culture, including historical monuments, but were criticised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson for their “racist thuggery”.
Judge Emma Arbuthnot said she accepted Banks’ explanation that he was so drunk he had no idea where he was urinating, that he did not intend to urinate next to the memorial and that he was remorseful.
“Your explanation for your behaviour is that you had drunk 16 pints that night and not been to bed,” she said in sentencing remarks, adding that he had agreed to join a group of friends who wished to protect monuments in Westminster, but did not know what the monuments were.
“The irony is that rather than protecting a monument you very nearly urinated on one of them. It was more luck than judgment as you had no idea what the memorial was.”
Arbuthnot sentenced Banks to 14 days immediate imprisonment and said he must also pay costs.
“You have caused much shock and upset. The public have been truly outraged by what you did,” she said at the sentencing at Westminster Magistrates Court.
“This is so serious that only a short custodial sentence is appropriate.”
Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addi