A man photographed holding a piece of wood moments before Kingston Mosque was attacked was grinning at his friends not plotting violence, his defence counsel has said.
Alfie Wallace was snapped holding a piece of wood in East Road, where the mosque is, while another unidentified man stood behind him wielding a stick, Kingston Crown Court heard. He was caught on the mobile phone of co-defendant David Morris before the attack on November 21, 2010.
Mr Wallace’s defence counsel Eve Macatonia said: “The picture the Crown say is so sinister. Have a look at his face. He is smiling.”
The jury heard Mr Wallace had found the wood in a skip but he did not know if others had used them for a more malicious purpose later.
Mr Wallace is one of nine men who deny being part of a group of up to 30 men that attacked Kingston Mosque wearing hoods, masks and scarves over their faces.
Each of the nine were caught on town centre CCTV entering East Road but all deny violent disorder, affray and racially aggravated criminal damage when they got near the mosque.
All of the men denied any connection to the English Defence League, whose slogan was shouted out during the attack.
Update: See also “Buying bacon no crime, says mosque attack barrister”, Your Local Guardian, 28 March 2012