Gay man reveals how alleged abuser hurled homophobic abuse at him during trial while magistrate laughed
A gay man has spoken of enduring a “nightmare” trial in which he faced “homophobic abuse” while the presiding magistrates laughed.
Daniel Fitzgerald, 49, told PinkNews of his nine-month battle for justice after busker Anthony Marshall, who stood trial in August for allegedly called him a “sodomite,” continued to abuse him at trial.
Fitzgerald pressed charges against Marshall after he reportedly hurled homophobic abuse at him at a Sunday market in Tulse Hill, London, last July.
“This busker in the market seemed quite aggressive. I had my back turned when I was at the market, and then before I knew it, he just started hurling abuse at me,” Fitzgerald told PinkNews.
“He was shouting in this crowded market that I was a sodomite and a devil.”
“Normally, I’d let something like that drop, but he was so aggressive and it was quite humiliating and really nasty,” said Fitzgerald.
During the trial at Camberwell Green Magistrates Court in London in August, Fitzgerald said he was shocked when the defendant started repeating the same abuse as in the market.
“He started ‘sodomite’ at me whilst I was giving my statement. The magistrate was asked by my barrister to stop the man hurling insults, but she dismissed it,” he said.
“She just kept on giving him one warning after another and said, ‘If you do this again, you’ll be dismissed,’ but he was allowed to carry on. She said it was his last warning, and then another last warning – like a crap parent would do to a kid.”
Then, Fitzgerald and his Crown Prosecution Service representative claim, one of the magistrates started laughing.
Fitzgerald said that the trial “quickly descended into a French farce.”
“The other magistrate on the left wing laughed at the man,” he told PinkNews.
“When it came to recess, my barrister said it would just be an open-and-shut case, because [the defendant had] absolutely screwed up. [The barrister said] ‘He is actually proving he is guilty in spite of his not guilty plea, by saying this again to you, repeatedly, in court.'”
Moments later, Marshall was found not guilty.
“I was dumbfounded. The magistrates’ excuse was that he wasn’t saying it to me personally, he was just saying it to the air, to random people,” said Fitzgerald.
“Even though he was saying this to me in court, proving what I accused him of, they still found him not guilty. I absolutely accuse them of homophobia.”
Since the trial in August, Fitzgerald has spent the past eight months applying for a retrial – and said he has been “failed” at every hurdle.
“I feel shocked, I feel upset and angry. I have phoned and I have emailed multiple people, and have had no official response,” he said.
Fitzgerald decided to report the alleged abuse he experienced at the trial to the police as a hate crime. “It was a good three months before I managed to get [the] police [to record a] statement,” he said.
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Fitzgerald wants to make his experience public “to make sure that nobody lesbian, gay, bi, trans, or anyone else has to endure the same shit that I did.”
“The legal system, the police, the court system, do fail gay people. Occasionally you get a few good eggs. But the system is really broken.”
“You can still discriminate against women openly. You can still discriminate against gay people openly. If you’re openly racist in a public space, people won’t tolerate it. And that’s how it should be. I want the attitudes towards women and gay people to be the same,” he added.
Camberwell Green Court and The Metropolitan Police did not respond to PinkNews’ requests for comment.