Property millionaire ‘filmed friends laughing as they burned Grenfell Tower effigy’, court hears

Clip caused public outcry when it emerged last year

Zamira Rahim
Tuesday 30 April 2019 16:44 BST
Video emerges of Grenfell Tower model being burned on bonfire

A man suspected of filming and sharing a video of a burning effigy of Grenfell Tower has pleaded not guilty to two charges under the Communications Act 2003.

Paul Bussetti, from South Norwood in southeast London, denied one charge of sending a “grossly offensive” video on WhatsApp and causing footage of a “menacing character” to be uploaded on YouTube when he appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

The clip, which prompted fierce criticism when it was posted online last year, showed a burning cardboard model of Grenfell Tower, in which 72 died following a devastating blaze in 2017.

In the video people can also be heard heard joking and laughing at a bonfire party.

Prosecuting lawyer Philip Stott said: “It is described as sent via WhatsApp. Whether the video is grossly offensive will be an issue.”

“A joke, no matter how offensive, it is not a crime,” Look-Chih Wang, the lawyer for the defence, told the court.

“It was communicated via Whatsapp. It cannot be considered a public communications network unlike Facebook or Instagram.”

Five other men were arrested and a seventh interviewed under caution over the video.

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Mr Bussetti, who spoke only to confirm his details and enter his pleas, was released on unconditional bail.

The 46-year-old reportedly owns a block of flats worth £8m in Clapham, southeast London, along with his brother and sister, according to MailOnline.

Mr Bussetti’s trial will be held at the same court from 29 July.

Additional reporting by agencies

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