The following report has been pieced together from several reports we’ve received concerning today’s trial activities. If you were there and have further information to add, please feel free to use our ‘Contact Us’ page.
Neelu Berry and Sabine McNeill stood trial today on charges of conspiracy to commit witness intimidation. The action took place at Blackfriars Crown Court, Room 2, and from the outset it was clear that there would be issues regarding seating in the courtroom.
A group turned out to support Neelu and Sabine, and another came to lend support to the witnesses.
When time came to enter the court, the witness support group got to the seats more quickly, taking up the majority of the 11 available seats in the public gallery. Neelu and Sabine’s supporters entered shortly afterward, and were noticeably unhappy that the court would not allow anyone to remain in the room who was not seated.
All members of the public gallery had to leave the court to enable the jury to be sworn in, and during that time we understand some harassment took place in the hallway, with one person approaching a group of women and accusing them of being cult members—despite the large posted sign warning people not to discuss the case.
When he offered to help the group leave the cult, several people made their displeasure clear, but he persisted, and began describing the sexual abuse he fantasises cult members inflict on children. At that point, court officials were called over, and the person was spoken to.
Someone had seen him filming people in the court hallway, but by the time the officer spoke with him the images were not to be found on his phone. However, a warning was given in court regarding the illegality of taking photos either inside or outside the courtroom, and people were warned that any such activities would be be considered contempt of court. As well, those being photographed could complain that they were being intimidated and harassed.
While Judge Worsley refused Neelu’s request that all jurors not only swear their oaths before God, but also swear that they were not practising Satanists, the jury was somehow sworn in, and it was time for the public to try to reclaim their seats in the gallery.
Although the judge initially suggested that each defendant could have 5 court supporters, Sabine’s barrister, Mr Byrne, suggested that each defendant could have 3 supporters, and the witnesses could have the remaining 3; 2 seats in the gallery were to be kept free for the journalists in attendance while the witnesses were on the stand. The witnesses, when they testify, will be behind a screen, and must not be visible to anyone other than court officials.
You would be correct in inferring from this that no witnesses took the stand today; much of the day was taken up with mucking about with seating arrangements.
Sabine seems to think the current seating arrangement less than satisfactory, if her latest blog post is to be believed:
Interesting multiple-choice question: according to Sabine, anyone who doesn’t support either her or Neelu is perforce a Satanist? We wonder why she chose to password-protect this post…we’re sure it couldn’t be because she’s afraid of incurring the wrath of the court during her own trial.
Prosecutor’s opening statement
Eventually, the prosecuting attorney, Mr Attridge, was able to make his opening statement, in which he presented an overview of how the witness statements arising from Neelu’s arrest had made their way from Neelu to Sabine’s Whistleblower Kids blog. As the trial progresses, he will flesh out his arguments, but today he reviewed forensic evidence.
Both defendants have entered pleas of Not Guilty.
The trial continues tomorrow at 10 a.m., and it’s expected that 3 witnesses will testify for the prosecution.