Teen vigil attendee told sergeant 'I don't care if I get nicked'
- Credit: Victoria Pertusa
A man who breached Covid rules by taking part in a mass vigil for a teenage motorcycle crash victim told police he "didn't care if he got nicked".
At Great Yarmouth Magistrate's Court on March 31, Chase Staff, 31, of Russell Road, Great Yarmouth, pleaded guilty to participating in a gathering of more than two people in a public outdoor place in a Tier 4 area and to using threatening words and behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
Lucy Broughton, prosecuting, said the sergeant who attended the gathering on the day had switched on his body cam as he approached the congregation.
She said: "The defendant was aggressive towards the sergeant and repeatedly asked: 'why are you here?'
"He continued to use foul language and engage in behaviour that was likely to distress young people on the scene, as well as residents in homes and hotels along the seafront.
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"He said: 'We are breaking Covid; I don't give a **** if I get nicked.'"
She added that Staff has 29 previous convictions across 49 offences, of which multiple relate to public order breaches.
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Staff, who represented himself, countered that he only went to the vigil for 15 minutes with his nephew to pay his respects, which could technically "be considered as daily exercise". He said his nephew "was a friend of the boy who had died".
He said: "Everyone went there to pay their respects. I was wrong to swear in front of a kid but I wasn't the only one there so I don't know why it's just me up here.
"Having said that, I know I'm guilty and there's nothing more to say really."
Chair of the Bench, Nicholas Clarke, taking into account Staff's means, fined him £320 for breaching Covid restrictions, and ordered him to pay court costs of £55 and a victim surcharge of £34.
Regarding Jonny Ogglesby - the other vigil participant charged with breaching Covid restrictions at the same event - the Crown Prosecution Service discontinued the case.