“This man should be arrested for war crimes,” Tony Blair accused of war crimes by protester at Leveson inquiry
Lord Justice Leveson orders investigation into security procedures after man gains access to court
European Phoenix — Lord Justice Leveson has ordered an investigation into security procedures at his inquiry into the media after a protester burst into the courtroom to shout at Tony Blair while the former prime minister gave evidence.
The man, wearing a white shirt and chino trousers, entered from behind a curtain almost directly behind Leveson himself, inside court 73 at the Royal Courts of Justice.
He shouted: “This man should be arrested for war crimes,” before yelling allegations that the global bank JP Morgan paid Blair millions of dollars in connection with the conflict. As several security guards tackled him and dragged him away through the same door from which he entered, the man shouted: “This man is a war criminal.”
Leveson, appearing shocked, stood up from his seat to watch as the protester was ejected. He asked the court how the man gained entry. “I’m sorry for that, Mr Blair,” Leveson said.
“I’d like to find out how this gentlemen managed to access the court through what is supposed to be a secure corridor, and I’ll have an investigation undertaken about that immediately.” He ended: “I apologise.”
Blair, who sat impassively throughout the intrusion, sounded slightly shaken as he answered: “That’s fine.” He continued: “Can I just say, actually, on the record, what he said about Iraq and JP Morgan is completely and totally untrue.”
Reports later identified the protester as David Lawley Wakelin from a group called Alternative Iraq Enquiry.
Since leaving office in 2007, Blair has been regularly targeted by protesters over his central role in pushing for the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. In January last year he was greeted by dozens of activists outside the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in central London as he returned to give evidence to the Chilcot inquiry into the genesis of the conflict.