Man fined for paedophile placard claim
A MAN carried placards claiming a professional worker had raped boys, a court heard.
Zen Sparrow, 55, walked around outside the man's city office with the signs, Plymouth Magistrates' Court was told.
Homeless Sparrow admitted carrying placards making the allegations on 35 different days, but claimed he felt he was justified in doing so.
The former soldier denied displaying a sign which was threatening, abusive or insulting within the sight of a person likely to be caused harassment alarm or distress on September 21.
District judge David Parsons found him guilty of the public order offence after a trial.
He fined Sparrow £165, ordered that he pay £200 costs and £15 victim surcharge.
Sparrow, who insisted on being called Zen and refused to confirm his date of birth, said he would not pay.
He was also given a 10-year restraining order preventing any contact with the man or from entering the area around his office.
The Herald has decided not to identify the man targeted nor his profession.
A secretary at his office had earlier told the court she saw a man walking up and down outside the office at about 11.45am.
She added: "The placard read: Zen says: "Which (person's profession) rapes Plymouth boys?"
The woman then said he turned the sign around to reveal an anagram of the man's name.
She added: "It did make me feel uneasy. It made me feel unsettled because it was the (person's profession) whom I worked for."
A second member of staff at the office said she was worried people would believe the allegation.
She added: "Things could escalate and things could have been thrown at the window."
Paul Ricketts, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said police were called to the office three days later and arrested Sparrow carrying a similar placard.
Sparrow, representing himself, admitted walking around with placards for 35 days.
He claimed it was duty to expose what he alleged had happened.
Judge Parsons said that Sparrow genuinely believed his claims.
He added: "Whether they are right or not is not a matter for this court."
But the judge said his actions were "not reasonable" and there were other actions he could have taken.
The judge said his sign had caused the two women "alarm or distress".