Scotland politics

Sean Clerkin fined £1,000 for Labour protest

YouTube video Image copyright YouTube/Free Scotland
Image caption Footage of Clerkin attempting to force his way inside was posted on YouTube after the incident

A protestor has been fined £1,000 for gate crashing a Labour event at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow.

Sean Clerkin, 55, tried to enter an event where then-Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls was giving a speech.

He attempted to push past members of staff and repeatedly fell to the ground, alleging he had been assaulted.

Clerkin was found guilty of breach of the peace after a trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court. He later said he would be appealing against the conviction.

The court heard from Callum Munro, 24, who was the organiser for Scottish Labour when the incident happened on 1 April last year.

He said Mr Balls was giving a speech when Clerkin appeared in the building with two acquaintances.

Mr Munro said Clerkin became "blustery" and demanded to be able to go into the private event, and said that he had a right to attend.

The court was told Clerkin then "shouted for the best part of an hour" before attempting to push past Mr Munro to get into the room.

Not proven

The witness also said that Clerkin "feigned" falling over and claimed he had been assaulted.

Footage of the incident later appeared on YouTube, the court was told.

Sheriff Tony Kelly fined first offender Clerkin, from Barrhead, £1,000 for the offence.

Clerkin is a veteran anti-austerity campaigner best known for chasing former Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray into a sandwich shop in 2011, and for his protests as part of the pro-independence Scottish Resistance group.

At the start of the trial, defence lawyer John Flanagan made a motion that the sheriff should recuse himself because his brother is a Labour MSP.

But Sheriff Kelly told him: "I'm struggling to see what gives rise to the conflict."

Clerkin and co-accused Piers Doughty-Brown, 56, had faced a charge of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner on 16 May last year at the Scottish Labour offices on Bath Street, Glasgow, when Jim Murphy announced his resignation as leader.

But both were found not proven on that charge.