Bricklayer cleared of harassing Hartlepool MP

Anthony Rowbotham
Anthony Rowbotham

A builder facing a retrial over alleged harassment of his MP has been cleared of all offending.

Lawyers for Anthony Rowbotham successfully opposed a separate application for a restraining order preventing Mr Rowbotham contacting Hartlepool MP Iain Wright.

The decisions made my Recorder Nick Lumley QC at Teesside Crown Court means Mr Rowbotham is now free to contact Mr Wright having been prevented from doing so for 20 months due to bail conditions.

Speaking after the case, Mr Rowbotham said: “I am pleased it’s all over, I have a family and it’s been a stressful time while this has been going on.

“I’m a bricklayer, the case has meant me taking a lot of time off, so I’m now looking forward to getting on with my work. Me and Mr Wright want the same things, better conditions for the residents of Hartlepool. I am passionate about that, but all I ever wanted to do was work with Mr Wright, and that remains the case.”

The case against Mr Rowbotham began in March, last year, when he was alleged to have approached Mr Wright as the MP delivered election leaflets in Hartlepool.

At his trial in January, this year, Mr Rowbotham, 43, of Oakley Gardens, Hartlepool, conceded he spoke stridently to Mr Wright, but denied making anti-semitic remarks about then Labour leader Ed Miliband.

The jury found Mr Rowbotham not guilty of religiously aggravated harassment and common assault, but could not reach a verdict on another charge of harassment.

After a short legal argument, Recorder Lumley quashed the remaining charge following submissions by Andrew Teate, defending, that it should not have been put before the jury. Mr Teate also opposed the restraining order.

Recorder Lumley said: “I am aware of concerns by MPs of violence being used against them. But having heard the evidence in the trial, and having regard to Mr Rowbotham’s conduct before and since, I am not satisfied a restraining order is needed.”