AN HS2 protester is said to have suffered a broken jaw during an alleged clash at a Kenilworth hotel with off-duty bailiffs working for the controversial rail project.
And three National Eviction Team members working for HS2 have appeared in court to face charges arising out of the incident on the car park of the Ramada Hotel on October 4 last year.
The confrontation took place after HS2 protesters turned up in a car at the Chesford Bridge hotel near Kenilworth, where members of the National Eviction Team were staying at the time.
And a group of activists staged a protest outside Warwick Crown Court, accompanied by a large white elephant mascot, as the three men arrived for a plea and trial preparation hearing.
One of the three, Philip John, 42, of Lime Street, Gorseinon, Swansea, pleaded not guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm on protester Alexander Waters.
And he, Adrian Long, 57, of Maestag Road, Cymmer, Port Talbot, and Alan Winkler, 59, of Bathesda Road, Tumble, Llanelli, pleaded not guilty to falsely imprisoning Mr Waters.
All three men also denied charges of falsely imprisoning two other protesters, Simon Gingell and Dimitrea Soukiourgou, by detaining them against their will.
Judge Peter Cooke observed there was CCTV footage of the incident, and asked if the three men had seen it.
Nick Devine, defending, confirmed that they had – but only on mobile phone screens.
Discussing the trial, Mr Devine indicated he could not seeing it being completed in anything less than four days.
Judge Cooke said on the basis of the trial lasting four to five days, it could not be given a fixed date until August next year.
But he added that alternatively it could be put into a ‘warned list,’ to potentially be listed at short notice, in a period from January 31 onwards.
And Mr Devine responded: “All defendants would want the earlier date because they are unable to work pending the outcome of the case.”
Agreeing to that, Judge Cooke ordered that there should also be a pre-trial hearing at the court earlier in January.
Expressing concern about the length of time before the trial, Mr Long interjected from the dock: “I have worked since the age of 16, and I have not had a day off work. This has caused me major, major financial problems.”
But, explaining the reason for the delay, the judge told him: “Before Covid this court had a backlog of just under 400 cases, and we now have a backlog of 600-650.”
Adjourning the case for trial, Judge Cooke granted bail to all three men.