The owner of Grace Cards & Books in Droitwich refused to close during the third lockdown, arguing it was exempt from closure rules as it sold some food and publications. As a result, Alasdair Walker-Cox was convicted of breaking lockdown rules by Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court and fined £35,000, with an additional costs order of £9,000.
But he appealed the judgment and it has now been overturned. BirminghamLive has more.
In a video shared widely on social media in February 2021, Mr Walker-Cox’s wife Lydia was seen challenging a council official and a police officer over their decision to keep the shop open. The business was fined four times for its stance and Mr Walker-Cox was convicted of breaching lockdown rules and fined £35,000 with just under £9,000 costs after a trial at Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court last August.
But he won his appeal against his conviction and sentence at Worcester Crown Court on Friday, February 25th.
His defence argued there was a dearth of advice from the local authorities and he was a man of good character who had not acted out of “dishonesty”. Asked about his alleged “staunch opposition” of the lockdown rules by the prosecution, Mr Walker-Cox told the court: “I would say I disagreed with them, yeah.”
At his trial last year, prosecutors alleged he had “very little regard” for Covid rules in place at the time. But he told the appeal hearing some of his staff wore masks and he had not “made political comments in the media” about coronavirus regulations.