Boat race swimmer Trenton Oldfield banned from Olympic torch route

 

The swimmer who brought the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race to a dramatic halt was today banned from the Olympic torch route and from visits to Windsor before the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Trenton Oldfield, 35, caused the annual contest on the River Thames to be stopped for around half an hour after he was spotted in the vessels' path as crews battled towards the finish.

Today the self-confessed anti-elitist swapped his wetsuit for more formal attire when he appeared before magistrates who imposed a series of strict bail conditions.

These were put in place after prosecutors referred to a website "purportedly generated" by Oldfield which set out an apparent "manifesto for civil disobedience" and allegedly sought to encourage others to "commit similar acts" to the Boat Race demonstration.

Dressed in a crumpled suit and tie, Oldfield spoke softly to confirm his name, date of birth and address at Feltham Magistrates' Court in Middlesex.

The Australian protester, who took to Twitter following his arrest to speak out against elitism, showed no emotion as he sat beside his legal team while the indictment was read out.

"You are charged, on April 7 of this year in the River Thames near Chiswick Eyot, with causing a public nuisance by swimming into the path of the University Boat Race and causing it to stop," he was told.

Oldfield entered no plea and was granted bail.

Restrictions prevent him from entering the City of Westminster on May 9 for the state opening of Parliament and forbid him from going into the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead before his next court appearance on May 23.

During this time a number of pre-Jubilee events are due to take place in the borough.

A further bail condition bans Oldfield from using or being within 100 metres of roads which form part of the Olympic torch route until the same date.

The 158th Boat Race on April 7 was labelled "possibly the most dramatic in history" by organisers after Oldfield created unprecedented disruption. It was the first time in its history that the event was disrupted by a swimmer.

This year's contest also saw an Oxford crew member break an oar and the team's bowman Alex Woods collapse after crossing the finishing line. He was later treated in hospital.

Oldfield sparked scenes of chaos when he swam towards the boats as they were neck and neck between the two and three-mile marker.

Former rower and assistant umpire Sir Matthew Pinsent was said to have alerted fellow adjudicators before the race was stopped and the swimmer, who narrowly avoided the blade of an Oxford oar, was pulled from the river. He was taken away on a police launch and arrested.

The race was restarted nearly half an hour later, with Cambridge powering on to victory.

Oldfield, who lives in a run-down block of flats in Myrdle Street, east London, later defended his anti-elitist stance online, claiming he had always "fought from within".

The demonstrator posted a series of messages the day after the race saying: "With the severe deficit in democracy new sites of protest unfortunately have had to be found" and "if its jail time, so be it".

He added: "Still waiting for someone to show me when elitism (seeing oneself above another) hasn't lead to oppression and tyranny?"

It was not the first time the Boat Race has been temporarily halted.

In 2001 the competition was stopped by the umpire just over a minute after the start, following repeated warnings to both crews to move apart and then a clash of blades for which Oxford was blamed. When the race got going, Cambridge rowed to victory.

Oldfield, who appeared relaxed during the half-hour hearing, made no comment as he left.

Chairman of the bench Alison Stone told the activist he will next appear at Isleworth Crown Court on May 23 at 10am.

PA

News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Sport
Dwight Gayle (left) celebrates making it 1-1 with Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak
premier leagueReds falter to humbling defeat
Sport
Harry Kane
premier leagueLive minute-by-minute coverage
News
The letter, purported to be from the 1970s, offered a message of gender equality to parents

When it comes to promoting equality of the sexes, we tend to think that we’ve come a long way in the past 40 years.

News
video
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin