A man accused of ripping up a laminated sign during a protest against a mixed-faith wedding being held at Leamington’s Sikh temple is to stand trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
Following legal arguments about the charge, Kulvinder Bir Singh pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to religiously aggravated criminal damage.
Singh ,37, of Tilehurst Drive, Coventry, also denied an alternative charge of causing criminal damage.
It is said that Singh was one of a number of people to enter the premises in protest at the ceremony.
Prosecutor Sophie Murray explained that the prosecution case was that, intending to interfere with a mixed-faith wedding which was due to take place that day, Singh took down a laminated paper sign relating to it.
The sign was later found in a bin, having been torn up, allegedly by Singh.
He entered his not guilty pleas following submissions on whether the alleged offence could be religiously aggravated when Singh was himself a Sikh.
Judge Richard Bond then observed there would be ‘real dangers’ in the trial being heard in Leamington which, because the Gurdwara Sahib was the Sikh temple in the town, would effectively exclude any local Sikhs from sitting on the jury.
And he said: “I propose to transfer this case. The Honorary Recorder of Coventry will be speaking to the Recorder of Birmingham for the case to be transferred to Birmingham Crown Court.”
Miss Murray pointed out that there was another case, that of Gursharan Singh, 33),from Holbrooks, Coventry, who is facing a charge of religiously aggravated common assault arising from the same incident.
His case has been adjourned for trial, which has been listed to take place at Coventry Crown Court at the end of January next year.
But Miss Murray said: “It is my view that these two cases should be joined.
“It may be there is an application for them to be heard together.”
Judge Bond ordered that both cases should be listed at Birmingham Crown Court at the beginning of September for an application to be made to join them, and Singh was granted bail.