Trenton Oldfield jailed for six months

first_imgTrenton Oldfield has today been jailed for six months for causing a public nuisance, after disrupting the University Boat Race earlier this year by swimming into the path of the competing crews.The 36-year-old, from east London, has also been ordered to pay £750 in costs.Oldfield said he was demonstrating against “elitism” when he swam into the path of crews on 7 April, interrupting the 158th race between Oxford and Cambridge.But today Judge Anne Molyneux said that he had acted dangerously, disproportionately, displayed prejudice and showed no regret for his actions.She said, “You did nothing to address inequality by giving yourself the right to spoil the enjoyment of others. In doing so, you acted without regard for equality and contrary to the meaning of it.‘You made your decision to sabotage the race based on the membership or perceived membership of its participants of a group to which you took exception. That is prejudice.’She continued, “Every individual and group of society is entitled to respect. It is a necessary part of a liberal and tolerant society that no one should be targeted because of a characteristic with which another takes issue.‘Prejudice in any form is wrong. Your offence was planned. It was deliberate. It was disproportionate. It was dangerous. You have shown no regret.’David Searle, the Executive Boat Race Director, defended the decision of the court in a statement on the University Boat Club’s website, writing that “We are satisfied with the decision of the judge today.” However, he expressed his desire to “put this whole incident behind us and move on to the next Boat Race in 2013.”Students also offered support for Mr Oldfield’s jail sentence. Joe Larvin, Captain of Boats at St John’s College, stated that “What he did was shameful. He deliberately ruined an event that is a national treasure enjoyed by millions across the world and has subsequently shown no remorse for his actions.” Mr Larvin described the protestor’s actions as “criminal”, and therefore felt that “a jail sentence is befitting.” Oldfield’s wife, Deepa Naik, disagreed, defending his actions outside court. She said, “Trenton’s protest was a reaction to an increasingly brutal business, media and political elite. Great Britain has convinced many it is the home of democracy and the gauge of civilisation. Anyone living here today knows Britain is a brutal, deeply divided, class-driven place.’During the trial, Trenton argued that his protest was a “symbolic guesture” as the Boat Race was viewed by him as “a symbol of a lot of issues in Britain around class.” He added, “Seventy per cent of government pushing through very significant cuts are Oxford or Cambridge graduates.”He also disputed the claims that he put himself in danger, telling the court that having lived in Australia, he was used to dodging surfboards, rocks and boats.Four-time Olympic gold medal-winning rower Sir Matthew Pinsent, who was assistant umpire of the race, disagreed, stating “He could have been killed if he had been struck by an oar or the rigging, which is metal.”Oldfield’s barrister, Benjamin Newton, said, ‘Save for the events of April 7th, he could not be regarded as a better role model for civic-minded individuals.’last_img read more