Man accused of antisemitic coronavirus hoax wears Nazi armband at court hearing
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Man accused of antisemitic coronavirus hoax wears Nazi armband at court hearing

Matthew Henegan, 35, faces seven charges of publishing, distributing and possessing the offensive material

Lady Justice (Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash)
Lady Justice (Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash)

A man accused of spreading antisemitic coronavirus hoax material to “stir up racial hatred” has appeared at the Old Bailey wearing a Nazi armband.

Matthew Henegan, 35, faces seven charges of publishing, distributing and possessing of material in March and April.

The defendant, who is on bail, appeared at the Old Bailey for a preliminary hearing before Mr Justice Sweeney.

He wore dark glasses, a hairband and a red swastika armband associated with Nazi Germany as he walked into the dock.

The judge asked lawyer Harry Grayson: “Can you see what he’s wearing?”, before sending the defendant out of the courtroom.

Henegan said: “Are we done for the day then?”

The judge replied: “We are not.”

The defendant complained: “I have a right to freedom of expression, freedom of dress, freedom of religion. They are rights not for debate.”

The judge told his lawyer to give his client advice, adding: “Next time it will not be out in the public corridor.”

Henegan returned to court wearing a large blue padded jacket and the armband was no longer visible.

He stood in the dock to confirm his name and date of birth.

Henegan is accused of publishing and distributing material on a website relating to a “coronavirus hoax” to stir up racial hatred.

It is claimed he also distributed leaflets around St Neots in Cambridgeshire where he lives.

He is further accused of having a document entitled How To Make Armour Piercing Bullets containing information likely to be useful to terrorism.

Mr Justice Sweeney set a pre-trial hearing date of March 12; with a provisional trial at the Old Bailey on November 8 next year.

The defendant was granted continued bail.

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