A university professor and Insulate Britain activist who has never owned or driven a car has appeared in the dock over a speeding conviction after mix-up in the crown court.
Nick Till, 67, was listed to appeal a conviction at Lewes Crown Court for failing to tell Sussex Police who had been driving a speeding car along Brighton seafront.
But the self-described ‘eco zealot’ had never owned or driven a car.
Mr Till, a professor at the University of Sussex, had been due to appear at the court for public nuisance during Insulate Britain’s protests on the M25 last September, which he denied.
But he was also listed for the other speeding case, and asked court officials what he should do, and they told him to go to court to clear up the mix-up.
It then emerged in court that it was another Nicholas Till who should be attending the speeding hearing.
The judge said he was furious with the CPS barrister Michael Shilliday that the ‘wrong man’ was in court, according to Brighton and Hove News, and said he did not want this case ‘darkening his door’ again.
Nick Till (pictured speaking with an officer in October 2021), 67, said he was listed to appeal a conviction at Lewes Crown Court for failing to tell Sussex Police who had been driving a speeding car along Brighton seafront. On that day, the self-described ‘eco zealot’ was also due to appear for public nuisance during the Insulate Britain campaign group’s protests on the M25 last September, which he denied
He asked the court officials what he should and they told him to go to court to clear up the mix-up. This was when barrister Michael Shilliday (pictured) for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) told the court a Nicholas Alexander Till was here to appeal his conviction
And the environmental campaigner and professor replied that his name is Nicholas John Thirlwall at Lewes Crown Court, pictured
This left Judge Mooney (pictured) furious who said he did not want this case ‘darkening his door’ again
Mr Till said the ‘primary reason’ he went to Lewes was to attend a ‘plea hearing’ for charges of causing a public nuisance which he denied.
He told the MailOnline: ‘It was clearly a case of mistaken identity, and I have no idea how it happened.
‘I was attending Lewes court that day on another matter, and found out the day before that I had also been listed as appellant in a case that I knew nothing about.
‘I queried this with the court officials, and they advised that it would be best for me to present myself in the court to clarify the matter.’
The Sussex professor had appeared at Crawley Magistrates’ Court last month, which was the first time he had gone there.
While the other Mr Till was sent a driving licence to an address in Crawley, the CPS’ Mr Shilliday told the court.
The CPS barrister said a Nicholas Alexander Till should be in court.
Mr Till denied being that Mr Till and said he was Nicholas John Thirlwall Till.
He told the court ‘Until I went to the magistrates’ court, I’d never been to Crawley. I live in London.’
Judge Mooney said ‘Is there anything at all that links this Mr Till to the address where the summons was served?’
Mr Till at an Insulate Britain protest before he was up in the wrong court for the wrong charge
This was when Mr Shilliday gave the other Mr Till’s name and when the University of Sussex professor denied he was that Mr Till.
The Judge said: ‘It’s not going well so far, Mr Shilliday.’
The barrister then said: ‘I don’t know why this particular Mr Till is in court.’
The judge said: ‘So you’ve got the wrong man?’
Mr Shilliday said: ‘The short answer is that I don’t know why that Mr Till is in the dock.’
The court also heard the other Mr Till is 30 while the eco campaigner is 67 and is from London.
Judge Mooney said: ‘This is the wrong man. This is Kafka comes to Lewes!’
Mr Till was awarded costs and the appeal was allowed with the judge telling the court: ‘I don’t want this case darkening our door.’
The speeding case has been listed for next week.
While Nicholas John Thirlwall Till appeared for the pre-trial hearing for public nuisance which he denies.
A spokeswoman for the CPS said: ‘As procedures are ongoing, we aren’t able to comment at this time.’