February 26, 2011

‘Citizen’s arrest’ ends in court

BNP father and son deny assaulting man over vandalised poster

Two members of the British National Party tried to carry out a citizen’s arrest on a man who was defacing a party poster in Aberdeen, a court has heard. Steven Thomson, 42, and his son Gregor Thomson, 21, deny assaulting Stefan Knust, but admit trying to detain him while they waited for police in Great Northern Road on March 25 last year.

The men were guarding the poster, after one had been vandalised the night before, when they saw two men run up and throw paint over it, Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard yesterday. The pair are alleged to have repeatedly punched Mr Knust on the head and body and repeatedly kicked him.

Steven Thomson, of 5 Gibblestone House, Scalloway, Shetland, told the court he had spent 12 years in the Army, worked in the prison service and been trying to enter the police force when he discovered he suffered from a genetic heart problem. He said a security firm had been hired to protect the poster during the day, but he had been tasked with guarding it at night. Two men ran away after throwing paint on the poster, but Mr Knust fell as he crossed the road, Thomson said.

“I grabbed him with my right hand by his collar,” he said. “He was using his arms to try to break my grip of his clothing.”

Thomson was trying to video the vandalism using a camera, but had accidentally turned the recording function off, the court heard. Thomson told the court he had helped to chase and detain the person who had vandalised the poster the previous night, which had cost £600 to replace. When asked by fiscal depute Victoria White if he was “annoyed and angry” about the vandalism, he replied: “Yes”.

His son, of 10A Summerfield Place, Aberdeen, said they had intended to carry out a “citizen’s arrest”, and “take hold of them with reasonable force” until the police arrived.

Both men have left the BNP, the court heard yesterday.

The case will return to court next month, when Sheriff Malcolm Garden asked to be addressed on when a person is entitled to perform a citizen’s arrest.

The Press and Journal

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