German student in court for throwing shoe at Wen

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The Independent Online

A German student went beyond "lawful" protest when he threw a shoe towards Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao during a lecture at Cambridge University, prosecutors said today.

Martin Jahnke, 27, a pathology student at Darwin College, Cambridge, caused the Chinese Premier and students listening to the lecture "harassment, alarm or distress", prosecutor Caroline Allison told a district judge sitting in Cambridge.

Miss Allison said Jahnke, who denies any offence, interrupted the lecture by blowing a whistle and accusing the University of "prostituting" itself by allowing a "dictator" to speak.

She said Jahnke threw one of his trainers which landed a "few yards" from the Chinese premier.

Following his arrest Jahnke told police his protest was "legitimate" given the "crimes" of the Chinese communist government.

Jahnke's lawyers failed in a bid to halt the trial after arguing that the Chinese government influenced the Crown Prosecution Service and police to prosecute.

A Crown Prosecution Service lawyer denied that there had been any undue influence exerted by the Chinese government and District Judge Ken Sheraton ruled that the prosecution was correctly made and the trial should go ahead.