Published: 00:01, 17 September 2016
A far-right activist who photographed a suspected rioter in a court corridor has been jailed for three weeks.
Amanda Smith, 52, snapped the defendant as he appeared at Canterbury Crown Court accused of violent disorder at the Dover riots.
Her lawyer, Kerry Waitt, attempted to claim Smith was a court reporter, having attended many of the riot hearings.
But Judge Adele Williams told Mr Waitt: “I don’t think you can compare this defendant and her activities to our very well-respected court reporter from the Kentish Gazette.”
Smith, of Shipman Avenue, Canterbury, was spotted by security staff taking the picture as others posed for it outside Court 6.
She has now been jailed for 21 days after admitting being in contempt of court.
The mum of two was told by the judge: “Your conduct was wholly unacceptable – especially taking a picture of someone waiting to be dealt with for violent disorder.”
It has been an offence for 91 years to take photographs in and around courts in England and Wales and is regarded as a common law contempt, attracting jail sentences.
Mr Waitt said Smith was “not present at what has now become known as the Dover Riots but she has an association with the South-East Alliance”, regarded as a far-right group.
He added: “This is a group which shares views on politics and immigration and other topical matters. They communicate with each other in chatrooms.
“And as she lives near to the court and it being school holidays she was encouraged by others and agreed to come to the court to report to families of those who were in court.”
He told Canterbury Crown Court that Smith worked at a “local education establishment” and now “bitterly regrets allowing herself to become involved” in taking the photograph.
“She was invited to take a photograph and didn’t apply her mind to what she was doing,” he said.
“She is now contrite and has learned her lesson.”
Judge Williams said security staff were aware that Smith had attended many of the hearings involving those alleged to have taken part in the riots in Dover in January.