A judge met a defendant, who is charged with wielding an axe near Buckingham Palace, in his cell after he refused to come out for his hearing.
Vladyslav Dryhval, 46, of Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, east London, has been charged with three counts of possession of a bladed article, which include an axe, a knife and a lock knife.
He was due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday afternoon before Deputy Senior District Judge Tan Ikram.
Defence barrister Eleazar Anyene said the defendant “refused to come out” of his cell after attempts were made to speak to him.
Judge Ikram said that, while HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) advised him not to go down to the cells, he did not see any other way.
He said: “In order to make progress, this is one of those offences where the law says that I have to see him.
“HMCTS say I shouldn’t go to the cells, the problem is I don’t see a way round.
“I don’t think I have a choice because otherwise we are in a stalemate.”
Due to the limited space in the cells, only the judge, prosecutor David Roberts, defence barrister and interpreter were able to meet the defendant in order to comply with Covid-19 social distancing rules.
Judge Ikram returned to the courtroom some 10 minutes later.
He said Dryhval did not indicate a plea to the charges and has been remanded in custody to appear at Southwark Crown Court on May 13.
Metropolitan Police said private security guards working on The Mall were alerted by a member of the public to a man apparently carrying an axe at around 6.30pm on Tuesday.
They challenged and detained the man, who was then arrested by armed police officers on patrol nearby.
Judge Ikram accepted an application to withdraw two charges of possession of an offensive weapon against Dryhval.