Unite Against Fascism (UAF) national officer Martin Smith will appeal against his conviction by magistrates this week for assault on a police officer. He has issued a statement, thanking his supporters and confirming that he will challenge the verdict.
“I would like to thank all those activists who joined the picket of my court hearing on 7 September, the hundreds of people who have sent me messages of support and all those who have made donations towards my legal costs,” says Martin
“I am also very proud of the fact that five national trade unions have backed my fight for justice.
“As you are probably aware, I was convicted of assault on a police officer at a protest against Nazi British National Party leader Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time.
“I have been sentenced to a 12-month community order, with 80 hours’ unpaid work, and have been fined £450.
“I continue to maintain that I am innocent of the charges. I have also decided that I will appeal against my conviction. This has not been an easy decision – if I’m found guilty on appeal, my sentence could be increased and I could face a custodial sentence. But I am determined to clear my name.
“I am not the only UAF official who has found themselves under police investigation. I hope you will now get behind the campaign to support two UAF activists, Weyman Bennett and Rhetta Moran, who face possible prosecution following the protest against the English Defence League in Bolton.
“Ultimately, I believe my conviction has nothing to do with justice but is an attack on the right to protest against racism and fascism.
“Once again, thank you for all your support – and I hope to see you all on the national UAF demo on Saturday 6 November.”
Yours in solidarity
For model motion, to send a message of support and donate towards Martin's legal costs please go to http://uaf.org.uk/2010/09/martin-smith-statement-i-will-appeal-and-clear-my-name/