Five EDL protesters deny charges in Leicester

Five men charged with public order offences following an English Defence League (EDL) protest in Leicester have pleaded not guilty. Lee Whitby, 27, from Stoke-on-Trent; Mark Turnbull, 38, from Gateshead and Scott Kerbin, 30, from Abergele, Wales, appeared before Leicester magistrates. Mark Bircham, 23, from Wigston, Leicestershire and Jake Stewart, 21, from Derby, also deny the charges. All were banned from EDL protests as part of their bail conditions.

The men were charged following protests held by the EDL and Unite Against Facism (UAF) on 9 October in Leicester city centre. The five are charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour. Mr Bircham was also charged with assaulting a police officer and Mr Kerbin with having an offensive weapon. Mr Turnbull is further charged with resisting arrest and Mr Whitby with using threatening words or behaviour in a religiously aggravated manner.

Mr Whitby will return to court later in November while the other four men have been bailed to return to Leicester in January.

BBC News, 19 November 2010