A 72-year-old man has been given a conditional discharge for shouting and swearing during a parish council meeting.
Roger Stearn, from Old Newton, pleaded guilty to using threatening words or behaviour at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
Speaking after the hearing, Stearn, a former parish councillor himself, said that he thought the whole experience had been a ‘fuss over nothing’.
But parish clerk Karen Hall-Price said Stearn had been abusive at previous Old Newton Parish Council meetings and that this occasion was ‘just the icing on the cake’.
Rosalind Cappleman, prosecuting, said during a meeting on October 3, Stearn stood up and shouted swear words directed at the church and the councillors. The court heard he continued to swear and shout, refusing to leave the meeting until the police were called. Mrs Cappleman said Stearn was offered a community resolution but had declined the police’s offer.
Representing himself, in court, Stearn said: “I have pleaded guilty because I feel this offence which I saw as trivial at the time has wasted to much of my time and police time already. I thought I was witnessing a case of a rich organisation supported by mostly rich individuals being subsidised by others whose conditions are already financially stretched.”
District Judge , Celia Dawson, said: “I appreciate that you felt very strongly about things that were being discussed at the parish council meeting and I do understand that. The difficulty is that your language and behaviour was intimidating.”
Stearn was discharged conditionally for six months.
Speaking after the hearing, he said: “I just think it is a huge amount of fuss over nothing. I thought this law was used for dealing with street gangs, not people like me.”
Mrs Hall-Price said: “This was as a result of continued abuse at a number of meetings, this incident was just the icing on the cake.”