Emma West pleads NOT GUILTY for racist rant on tram

Case to be heard on June 11th for rant that went viral on YouTube

Emma West is appearing at Croydon Crown Court today charged with a racially aggravated public order offence.

Ms West was allegedly filmed being racially abusive and aggressive to fellow commuters on a tram in south London. After the video was uploaded onto YouTube and picked up by news outlets like Blottr and social media sites like Twitter, Ms West was eventually arrested by British Transport Police.

She has elected to appear before judge and jury at Crown Court, and is maintaining her initial 'no indication of plea'. This choice to go before the Crown Court is suspected to be because Croydon Magistrates Court has one of the highest conviction rates in the country.

Members of far-right groups have been outside the court since 10am. A member of the BNP said that they were expecting many more supporters to attend today's hearing than previously, despite reports that Emma West's family have asked them not to. The BNP member confirmed that expected today are supporters from the BNP and EDL as well as other groups. Members of these groups will be demonstrating outside as well as sitting in on the hearing.

Ms West is expected to indicate her plea today, it is thought that the full trial will be set for a later date.

Emma west has entered a not guilty plea for both charges she is accused of - a racially aggravated public order offence, and threatening and aggressive behaviour including using force to push a woman over. West denies both charges against her.

Upon hearing the plea the judge asked, and 'what is the defence?' West's lawyer, Mr Ewings, explained that medical reports had been obtained. The defence said that it was a case of 'intent', Miss West's intent. Mr Ewings also claimed that West had taken a double dose of her medication at the time of the incident and that a report from a pharmacologist was being sought.
The defence will call seven witnesses, the prosecution will call none, using the video as their evidence.

The trial with judge and jury will take place on June 11, until then West will remain on bail under the same terms.

With limited seating inside the court, several members of far-right groups present in support of West were not allowed access to the court room. Following the hearing BNP member, Tony Martin, 34 from Croydon, said that 'they probably don't like the fact that she has so much support', implying that they had been prevented from entering on purpose.

The far-right supporters gathered outside for not much longer than 10-15 minutes, there was no more than 20 of them. Miss West is thought to have exiting at the back of the court to avoid the story.

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