London

Grenfell model bonfire film court decision 'appalling'

Grenfell effigy
Image caption The model was burned at a bonfire party in south London on 3 November 2018

A court's move to clear a man who filmed a cardboard effigy of Grenfell Tower being burned on a bonfire has been branded "appalling".

Paul Bussetti, 47, was cleared on Thursday of posting "grossly offensive" material at a London party in 2018.

Campaign group Justice 4 Grenfell said "no justice had been served for the 72 people who had needlessly died".

Mr Bussetti was found not guilty after magistrates said they could not be sure the film was taken by him.

The clip of the cardboard building, which had "Grenfell Tower" written on it, was recorded at a party attended by about 30 people in south London on 3 November, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard.

It was later uploaded to YouTube and sparked outrage, with a relative of one of the 72 people who died in the blaze on 14 June 2017 calling it "revolting".

Image caption Moyra Samuels, of Justice 4 Grenfell, said she was appalled by the court's decision

Moyra Samuels, of Justice 4 Grenfell, said: "I am just appalled.

"For someone who has caused so much offence by mocking the needless deaths of 72 people... if they cannot be found guilty of causing offence, then it raises questions about whether the judicial system is able to give justice to the bereaved."

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Paul Bussetti told the court he had never intended the video to go further

At the end of the two-day trial, defence barrister Mark Summers QC revealed he had just been made aware of evidence that a second video was recorded.

He argued it meant there was "absolutely no way" to know which piece of footage had made its way onto YouTube and gone viral.

On this, Ms Samuels said: "This case highlights a weakness within the police's role in making this case as well as the CPS. Why was this evidence presented so late?

"I believe the outcome of the case would have been different if this evidence was presented earlier."

Mr Bussetti, of South Norwood, told magistrates the effigy had been created by his friend, and the characters featured on the model were meant to represent "the majority of people that were at the party", not people who died in the disaster.

The father-of-two said he shared the footage with about 20 people on two WhatsApp groups but he had never intended it to go further.

The CPS has been contacted for comment.

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