Alasdair Walker-Cox was fined £35,000 after refusing to close the Grace Cards & Books in Droitwich during the lockdown because he thought it was exempt due to the sale of food and certain publications
Image: Tristan Potter / SWNS)
A card shop owner who was fined £35,000 for staying open during the lockdown has appealed against the hefty fine.
Alasdair Walker-Cox, who runs Grace Cards & Books in Droitwich, was found guilty of breaking the door lock rule at Kidderminster Magistrates Court last August.
He remains open during the lockdown in February 2021 as he claims the store is exempt from the rules for non-essential shops due to the sale of food and some publications, Birmingham Live report.
Walker-Cox’s wife Lydia challenged a council official and a police officer over the decision to keep the store open in a video that went viral on social media at the time.
Authorities fined the business four times for its stance, with Mr Walker-Cox found guilty of breaching a lockdown at trial and fined £35,000 on top of his £9,000 court costs.
Alasdair Walker-Cox / SWNS)
But he won against his conviction and sentence at Worcester Crown Court on Friday, February 25th.
His defense argued that there was little advice from the local authorities and that he was a man of good character who had not acted ‘dishonestly’.
Asked about his ‘firm opposition’ to the prosecution’s lockdown rules, Mr Walker-Cox told the court: “I would say I disagree with them, yes.”
At his trial last year, prosecutors accused him of “little care” about the covid rules in place at the time.
Tristan Potter / SWNS)
But he told the appeal hearing that some of his staff were wearing masks and that he had not ‘made political commentary in the media’ about the coronavirus regulations.
He also argued on Friday that the store sells a small number of food products, such as pastry supplies, and so could be classified as an essential business.
“You either sell food or you don’t sell food,” he said.
“If you want a sandwich, you go out to buy a bread. If you want a cake, you go out to buy the ingredients.”
Alasdair Walker-Cox / SWNS)
He said the lockdown was a ‘tough time’ and that the coronavirus rules were ‘open to interpretation’.
He added: “We will not criticize the local government for making this case.”
The decision meant that both the convictions and huge fines were overturned.
Reacting to the ruling, Mr. Walker-Cox said WorcestershireLive it was a ‘big weight’ to his mind.
“It’s been 18 stressful months but it’s finally worth the fight,” he said.
“I’m really excited – there are so many people to thank and we’ll round them all but Josh, Harry and Peter at Resolve Law.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/shop-owner-convicted-fined-35000-26344284 Shop owner sentenced and fined £35,000 for staying open during lockdown wins case