Property millionaire, 46, ‘filmed his laughing friends as they burned Grenfell Tower effigy on bonfire then shared the clip on WhatsApp’
- Paul Bussetti filmed friends burning Grenfell Tower effigy on bonfire, court told
- The property millionaire then allegedly shared the clip on two WhatsApp groups
- Footage sparked national outrage following the stunt in November last year
- Bussetti today denied two counts of sending grossly offensive material via a public communications network
Paul Bussetti (arriving at court today) allegedly filmed his friends burning an Grenfell Tower effigy
A property millionaire filmed his friends burning a Grenfell Tower effigy on a bonfire and shared the clip on WhatsApp, a court heard.
Paul Bussetti, 46, was among a group who cruelly laughed and jeered as the cardboard model went up in flames at a party in South Norwood, southeast London.
They were heard howling with laughter and mocking Grenfell Tower victims by saying ‘help me, help me,’ during the stunt last November.
The footage sparked national outcry after Bussetti allegedly captured it on his phone and sent it to two WhatsApp groups.
Today Bussetti denied one charge of sending the video on a WhatsApp group on November 3 and a second that alleged he ’caused to be sent’ the footage on YouTube.
It came after the Grenfell Tower blaze left 72 people dead in June 2017.
Bussetti, who reportedly owns an £8million block of flats in Clapham, southwest London, was one of six people arrested after the clip went viral on social media.
He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court facing two counts of sending grossly offensive material via a public communications network. The offence carries a maximum sentence of six months in prison.
Paul Bussetti, 46, (left, and right, today) was among a group who cruelly laughed and jeered as the cardboard model went up in flames at a party in South Norwood, southeast London
Prosecutors have charged Bussetti with ‘causing’ the footage to appear on YouTube, even though he did not post it himself.
Bussetti, wearing a smart grey suit and white shirt, showed no emotion as he denied both charges.
According to prosecutors, Bussetti admits that he did post it on WhatsApp. However, he is denying the charge because his lawyers say ‘WhatsApp cannot be considered to be a public electronic communications network.’
Prosecutor Philip Stott said: ‘The defendant admits factually that he did send it on WhatsApp.
‘The second case is sending via YouTube.
The footage (pictured) sparked a national outcry after Bussetti allegedly captured it on his phone and sent it to two WhatsApp groups
‘We don’t allege he personally uploaded it to YouTube, but by sending it to another he caused it to go on YouTube and to go viral.’
Look-Chih Wang, defending, said: ‘There is a dispute as to who put the actual video on YouTube, that’s in dispute.’
Bussetti will also argue that he should not be criminalised over a ‘joke’.
Mr Wang added: ‘WhatsApp cannot be considered to be a public electronic communications network.
‘According to even the prosecution expert the WhatsApp groups were limited to 265 users within two groups.’
Bussetti, pictured with his wife Gemma, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ court today
The effigy is believed to have been burned at a party at the back of this London home in South Norwood
Bussetti, of South Norwood, southeast London, was released on unconditional bail until his trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 29 July.
Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said: ‘If you don’t attend you will be arrested under a warrant granted by myself.
‘The court may not come to a final decision on 29 July, it may be that because of the technical issues being raised it is delayed.’