In the Media

'No good comes from prejudice', judge tells boat race protester jailed for six months

PUBLISHED October 19, 2012

Trenton Oldfield, 36, smirked in the dock as Judge Anne Molyneux described his actions as planned, deliberate, disproportionate and dangerous, noting that he had shown no regret.

"You made your decision to sabotage the race based on the membership or perceived membership of its participants of a group to which you took exception," she said.

"That is prejudice."

She told Olfield that every individual and group of society was entitled to respect.

"It is a necessary part of a liberal and tolerant society that no one should be targeted because of a characteristic with which another takes issue," she added. "Prejudice in any form is wrong."

The judge, sitting at Isleworth Crown Court, west London, noted that Oldfield smiled as she spoke.

But as she sentenced him to six months behind bars, he looked stunned and slowly shook his head from side to side.

Oldfield was convicted of causing a public nuisance after throwing himself into the River Thames on April 7 this year, bringing a sudden halt to the annual Oxford and Cambridge boat race.

He told the court during his trial that the race was a symbol of elitism in government.

But Judge Molyneux said he had shown no regard for the thousands who had gathered on the banks of the Thames to watch the race, the many others watching at home on television or the sacrifices of the rowers whom had trained for many months.

She noted that the first thought of all those who came to his help was to protect his safety and that the event was a "free spectacle open to all".