Trial of council chamber bottle thrower set to open today

Screenshot 2023-02-17 at 06.24.29

A man captured on film throwing a water bottle from the public gallery into Oldham Council’s civic chamber is due to face trial at Tameside Magistrates’ Court later this morning.

Gary Leese, 59, of Kandel Place, Whitworth is charged with common assault. The bottle struck a senior paid officer who was observing the council meeting amidst chaotic scenes (read more here).

Greater Manchester Police say that, whilst in custody following his arrest in July, 2022, he was also charged with a public order offence but no further action has been taken.

Although witnesses are on notice to attend, the case it does not appear in the court’s list for today.

Leese, who is presently serving a suspended prison sentence over conviction of a communications offence in November, 2022, has consistently denied wrongdoing.

He is part of, and backed by, a group of Oldham-based malcontents and axe-grinders whom self-style as ‘The Rabble’ (pictured above behind the protective screens).  They caused significant disorder throughout two successive council meetings in the Borough last year, attracting national media attention (read more here).

Twelve of the The Rabble (or Raja’s Rabble), including Leese, were issued with Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction (ASBI) warning letters by Oldham Council’s Community Safety Partnership following those meetings. They included the Chairwoman of a local political party, Kathleen Wilkinson (read more here) and her close friend, Raja Miah, a notorious, unemployed, Tameside-based conspiracy theorist. Miah, a former Tandoori takeaway worker, has the unusual distinction of being, presently and separately, on police and court bail following police dawn raids on his home in July 2021 and February, 2023. He denies any wrongdoing (read more here).

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The Council has notified the court that a contingent of The Rabble is expected to be supporting Leese at the trial.

Page last updated Friday 17th February, 2023 at 0555hrs

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Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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