19th Jan, 2019

Brothers charged with unlawful behaviour at Sikh temple cleared

Ian Hughes 8th Feb, 2018

TWO brothers accused of unlawful behaviour during a protest at Leamington’s Sikh temple have been cleared of all charges.

Gursharan Singh and Kulvinder Bir Singh had both denied trying to disrupt a mixed faith wedding at the Gurdwara Sahib on Tachbrook Park Drive in September 2016.

And a jury at Birmingham Crown Court this week acquitted Gursharan, 34, of Wentworth Drive, Coventry, of common assault and religiously-aggravated assault, and Kulvinder Bir, 38, of Tilehurst Drive, Coventry, of religiously-aggravated criminal damage.

The Crown Prosecution Service alleged the defendants had attempted to disrupt the wedding ceremony, but the court was told both men said the protest was against alleged misuse of funds at the temple.

Defence counsel for both men said there was no evidence the protesters were even aware the wedding was taking place.

During the original incident armed police officers were called to the temple, next to Leamington Shopping Park, just before 7am on a Sunday morning.

It followed reports up to 30 men had burst into the temple – some supposedly armed with swords – unhappy at a mixed faith marriage which was set to take place.

Police arrested 55 men on suspicion of aggravated trespass while a number of weapons – subsequently found to be Kirpans or ceremonial swords – were also seized.

Following the incident, the Sikh Federation, the Sikh Council, Sikh Youth UK and other groups have come together to discuss the way the protest was handled by police.

In a meeting with Warwickshire Police chiefs, representatives stressed the damage and hurt the incident had caused to their community.

They argued ‘poor’ police statements had resulted in over-dramatic headlines in the national press.

Warwickshire Police did not respond to the accusation other than to confirm meetings had taken place between the force and the Sikh community.

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