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Trenton Oldfield, Protestor Who Disrupted Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race, Appears In Court

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Oldfield, 35, swam in front of the Oxford boat, causing a temporary delay to the race
Oldfield, 35, swam in front of the Oxford boat, causing a temporary delay to the race

The swimmer who brought the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race to a dramatic halt exchanged his wetsuit for more formal attire when he appeared in court today.

Trenton Oldfield, 35, caused the annual contest on the River Thames to be stopped for around half an hour after he was spotted in the vessels' path as crews battled towards the finish.

Dressed in a crumpled suit and tie, Oldfield spoke softly to confirm his name, date of birth and address at Feltham Magistrates' Court in Middlesex.

The defendant, who took to Twitter following his arrest to speak out against elitism, showed no emotion as he sat beside his legal team while the charge against him was read out.

The demonstrator posted a series of messages the day after the race saying "With the severe deficit in democracy new sites of protest unfortunately have had to be found" and "if its jail time, so be it" (sic).

He added: "Still waiting for someone to show me when elitism (seeing oneself above another) hasn't lead to oppression and tyranny?"

"You are charged, on April 7 of this year, in the River Thames near Chiswick Eyot, with causing a public nuisance by swimming into the path of the University Boat Race and causing it to stop," he was told this morning at Feltham.

Michael Schwarz, defending, indicated Oldfield would not enter a plea and his case was committed to crown court.

Watch the moment Oldfield disrupted the Boat Race...

The Australian protester was released on bail with restrictions preventing him from entering the City of Westminster on May 9 for the state opening of Parliament and forbidding him from going into the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead prior to his next court appearance.

During this time, there are a number of events planned in the borough to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

A further bail condition bans Oldfield from using - or being within 100 metres of - roads which form part of the Olympic torch route until the same date.

The 158th Boat Race on April 7 was labelled "possibly the most dramatic in history" by organisers after Oldfield created unprecedented disruption.

Oldfield sparked scenes of chaos when he swam towards the boats as they were neck and neck between the two and three-mile marker.

Former rower and assistant umpire Sir Matthew Pinsent was said to have alerted fellow adjudicators before the race was stopped and the swimmer, who narrowly avoided the blade of an Oxford oar, was pulled from the river.

He was taken away on a police launch and arrested.

The race was restarted nearly half an hour later, with Cambridge powering on to victory.

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