Taxi union boss accused of megaphone police noise ‘assault’

James Farrar

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James Farrar is expected to argue that sound waves do not count as physical force and therefore the use of the megaphone could not be assault by beating

A taxi union chairman accused of injuring police officers with the sound of a megaphone has appeared in court.

James Farrar denies two counts of assault by beating by using a megaphone near two police officers in a protest against London congestion charges.

The 51-year-old is accused of assaulting Sgt James Lewis and PC Ann Spinks, in Parliament Square last year.

Mr Farrar, of Bordon, Hampshire, is expected to argue sound waves do not count as physical force.

He is chairman of the United Private Hire Drivers’ branch of the IWGB union,

Prosecutor Terence Woods told Southwark Crown Court: “The defendant, it is alleged, used a loudhailer or megaphone in close proximity to police officers.

“There are two complainants who say their hearing was affected.

“He accepts using the megaphone and I think accepts that everything was in very close proximity given the nature of what was taking place, namely a demo by private hire drivers against the congestion charge.”

The IWGB union, which mostly represents precarious workers in the gig economy, has been fundraising to cover Mr Farrar’s legal costs.

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