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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 November, 2004, 17:31 GMT
Police bail handcuff stunt father
Father 4 Justice campaigner Jolly Stanesby dressed as Robin
Mr Stanesby dressed as Robin, during a protest in October 2003.
A Fathers 4 Justice campaigner arrested for handcuffing himself to children's minister Margaret Hodge has been released on police bail.

Jolly Stanesby, 39, of Devon, stormed the stage at a family law conference in Salford, Greater Manchester.

The registered childminder said the stunt was the only way to get the group's message across.

A spokesman for Fathers 4 Justice said the protest was the first of a planned "Christmas of chaos".

Mr Stanesby, whose real name is Jonathan, used borrowed handcuffs to attach himself to the minister as she spoke at the conference.

'Slow torture'

The pair were cuffed together for 40 minutes before bolt cutters were used to separate them and he was arrested.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said Mrs Hodge, Labour MP for Barking, was unharmed.

The Law Society is appalled by the behaviour of Fathers 4 Justice - it diminishes the debate and in no way serves the interests of children or their parents
Janet Paraskeva, Law Society chief executive

After being released by police, Mr Stanesby said he acted after hearing Mrs Hodge come out with the "same old rant".

He said: "I do not enjoy it, I am sick of it, but what am I supposed to do?

"I am not just going to sit at home - my life has been destroyed. It's slow torture.

"This action is the only means we have of getting our message across."

'Bogeywoman'

Mr Stanesby has a five-year-old daughter who he only sees on alternate weekends.

He was joined onstage in Manchester by Jason Hatch, who in September scaled Buckingham Palace dressed as Batman.

It is believed a third man tried to join Mr Stanesby and Mr Hatch on stage, but was wrestled to the floor by lawyers sitting in the front row.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "The matter is being dealt with by the police."

Margaret Hodge, BBC
Mrs Hodge was described as the 'bogeywoman of family law'

'Diminishes debate'

The stunt was condemned by the Law Society.

Chief executive Janet Paraskeva, who was sitting next to Mrs Hodge when she was handcuffed, said: "The Law Society is appalled by the behaviour of Fathers 4 Justice.

"It diminishes the debate and in no way serves the interests of children or their parents."

Downing Street declined to comment on the incident.




SEE ALSO:
Palace protest may prompt new law
14 Oct 04 |  Politics
Margaret Hodge
21 Oct 02 |  Politics


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