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Former Paralympic cyclist denies causing public nuisance after plane stunt

The alleged offence took place at London City Airport on Thursday.

Former Paralympic cyclist James Brown, 55, outside Westminster magistrates following his court appearance (Luke Powell/PA)
Former Paralympic cyclist James Brown, 55, outside Westminster magistrates following his court appearance (Luke Powell/PA)

By Luke Powell, PA

A former Paralympic cyclist accused of climbing on to a British Airways plane and gluing himself to it has denied causing a public nuisance.

James Brown, 55, who is visually impaired, is alleged to have climbed on top of the aircraft at London City Airport on Thursday during the Extinction Rebellion protests.

He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday where a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf by his solicitor Raj Chada.

Brown, of Magdalen Road, Exeter, wore a grey jumper to the hearing and spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth.

The alleged offence took place two days after his birthday.

District judge John Zani granted Brown conditional bail, prohibiting him from going within one mile of any airport in the UK.

His case was heard in front of a full public gallery, which included members of Extinction Rebellion. There was applause at the end of the hearing.

Mr Chada requested that Brown’s walking cane was returned to him after it was confiscated by officers. The request was granted by Mr Zani.

Brown is next due to appear at Southwark Crown Court in London on November 8 for trial.

The athlete’s arrest and charging capped a week of demonstrations against climate inaction which saw more than 1,100 arrests across the capital.

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James Brown being detained by police (Caitlin Doherty/PA)

Brown competed for Britain, Ireland and Northern Ireland in a career which saw him participate at five Paralympic Games and earn two gold medals and a bronze.

Speaking to reporters outside of court after the hearing, Brown said he was “relieved” to be out of custody, adding: “It’s good to be out in the fresh air, even though it’s raining.”

He said: “I am not denying what I did, but I was compelled to do what I did because of my concerns for the future of my children.

“We also know that non-violent civil disobedience has proven itself time and time in history to bring about radical social change, and that is exactly what we need right now to divert us from this catastrophic path we are on.”

PA

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