Published: 18:00, 24 May 2013 |
Updated: 18:10, 24 May 2013
A campaigner who caused a stink when he tampered with a ballot box during the county council elections today said he was protesting against publicity given to UKIP.
Jobless Jonathan Elliott wrapped two stink bombs in a voting slip carrying the message "revolution" and dropped them into a ballot box in Herne Bay on Thursday, May 2.
Police were called to the election count at the King's Hall the next day when the vials of yellow liquid were found.
The count was halted while the liquid was tested and counters were given gloves as a precaution.
After hearing about the disruption, the 47-year-old, of Sydney Road, Whitstable, phoned a radio station to take responsibility for the act.
He was arrested shortly after and appeared in court the next day when he admitted a charge of tampering with a nomination paper.
Elliot first hit the headlines in March when he was arrested for lunging at the car carrying Prince Charles to the Archbishop of Canterbury's enthronement ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral.
At the time, he was bound over for 12 months and told he would have to pay £100 if he exhibited anti-social behaviour again in that time.
At Canterbury Magistrates' Court today, prosecutor Julie Farbrace said Elliott committed his most recent political act to "cause annoyance and create a statement".
She added: "He was forming a political protest against the socialist elite. He said the country was going back to the Thatcher era and even Labour was turning blue."
Mrs Farbrace said election counter Louisa Bennett said she had become distressed after discovering the vials, which she feared could have contained some kind of toxin.
Defending Elliott, Louise James said: "Whatever we might think of what he has done, it is borne out of very long-standing and passionately-held views.
"He is extremely politically-active, but doesn't have much in the way of previous convictions, which suggests that by and large, he does stay within the parameters of the law when carrying out political demonstrations."
Magistrates imposed a curfew banning Elliott from leaving his home between 9am and noon as well as 6pm and 10pm for three months.
He was also ordered to pay £50 of the £100 binding over sum, as well as £50 in compensation to the counter who found the vials and £85 in court costs.
Miss James said she planned to appeal against the curfew on Elliott's behalf.
Speaking after the hearing, Elliott said he thought the sentence was "harsh" due to this week's terrorist attack in Woolwich.
He added: "I think it was playing on the magistrates' minds rather than my legitimate protest.
"Although I do regret causing fear in the minds of the counters - I genuinely have empathy for them. I just wasn't thinking at the time."
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