Protests promised after three charged over fathers’ rights demonstration on roof of Stevenage Magistrates’ Court

PUBLISHED: 14:31 13 January 2016 | UPDATED: 14:31 13 January 2016

Three people have been arrested and charged after a New Fathers 4 Justice protest on the roof of Stevenage Magistrates' Court last week.

Three people have been arrested and charged after a New Fathers 4 Justice protest on the roof of Stevenage Magistrates' Court last week.

Archant

Protests have been promised in support of the ‘Stevenage Three’ – a group of activists fighting for fathers’ rights who were arrested for climbing onto the roof of a magistrates court last week.

Police at the scene of the protest at Stevenage Magistrates' Court.Police at the scene of the protest at Stevenage Magistrates' Court.

New Fathers 4 Justice members Sharon Chesterman, 55, of Minehead Way in Stevenage, Daniel Dedman, 33, from Potters Bar, and Martin Matthews, 48, from Leatherhead, climbed onto the roof of Stevenage Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday in support of fellow activist Bobby Smith, who appeared in court.

All three were arrested and have been charged with aggravated trespass. They have been bailed to appear before North East Herts Magistrates’ Court on February 15.

A spokesman for New Fathers 4 Justice said further protests are now planned in support of the ‘Stevenage Three’.

Mr Smith, of Anderson Road in Stevenage, was found guilty of breaching a restraining order by publishing photographs of his two daughters on Facebook. He was ordered to pay £597 in fines and court costs.

Bobby Smith has been fighting for equal fathers' rights for four years.Bobby Smith has been fighting for equal fathers' rights for four years.

The 33-year-old was found not guilty of two charges of breaching a non-molestation order, relating to removing the photographs from Facebook and for posting a video on YouTube asking his daughters to contact him.

Mr Smith has been campaigning for a change in family law after he says he has been treated unfairly by the courts and denied proper access to his two young daughters for four years.

Last year, his protests including climbing onto roofs at Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, and standing against David Cameron for the Witney seat in the general election.

A New Fathers 4 Justice spokesman said: “The present biased, flawed family law system allows children to be exposed to a succession of mums’ fleeting boyfriends, lovers and stepfathers with whom they have no biological connection but gives no automatic right of access to their biological fathers or grandparents.

“New Fathers 4 Justice campaigns for equal rights for fathers in divorce and separation proceedings and reform of the family courts.

“No parent who is fit and willing should ever be denied their right to share equally in the lives of their own children.”

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