September 21 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, April 10, 2014
A musician was hauled into court for breaking railway byelaws – by reading those very restrictions with a megaphone outside a train station.
Wedding singer Danny Shine, 57, was summoned to Westminster Magistrates’ Court after “making fun” of the “ridiculousness” of the railway byelaws at Euston station on December 11 last year.
He was accused of breaching rules forbidding the causing of annoyance by using sound equipment “without written permission” at the railways, after he refused to stop when told to do so by rail staff and police.
The performer, of Meadow Drive, Hendon, appeared at court last Thursday, dressed in coat tails and a Jewish kippah.
But the case against him was dropped after the Crown Prosecution Service admitted there was insufficient evidence and it was not in the public interest.
The CPS also forgot to provide the case papers to its prosecutor in court.
The singer told the Ham&High he often visits Euston station and Camden Town with his loudhailer to “make fun of the absurdity of society”, to provoke people to “think outside of the box” and also as a form of therapy.
“It’s my way of dealing with this system that is geared towards injustice,” he said.
“Rightly or wrongly – I’m open to the possibility that I’m deluded or crazy – it feels to me that if there is a purpose to life, then this is mine.”
He was accosted by police on December 11 after rail staff had first asked him to stop.
A crowd of about 15 to 20 people had gathered to see what was going on.
“I was making fun of the railway byelaws, they are absolutely ridiculous,” he said.
“One is that you’re not allowed to sing without prior permission on any of the railway, to the annoyance of anybody.
“Network rail said ‘Do you have permission?’ and I said I don’t need it, then they brought over a police officer.
“There was a crowd and the officer was embarrassed so they reported me.”
Mr Shine said he began about five years ago after being inspired by those who address crowds at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park.
He said: “I have stumbled across this rare ability to stand up in public spaces and, in a humorous way, to cover serious issues.
”I can’t stop doing it. I’ll carry on – although not at Euston anymore.”
A CPS spokesman admitted that there had been errors in the handling of the case by prosecutors and that “there was insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction”.
Last year, Mr Shine – who has been nicknamed the “megaphone man” – was prosecuted by Westminster Council for breaking a byelaw for “the prevention and suppression of nuisances” at Oxford Circus, but that case was also dropped.
He has backed the Keep Streets Live! campaign against Camden Council’s controversial busking licences.