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Judge travels to cell of man charged with wielding an axe near Buckingham Palace
15 April 2021, 18:24 | Updated: 15 April 2021, 18:29
A judge went to the cell of a man charged with wielding an axe near Buckingham Palace, after the defendant refused to come out for his hearing.
Vladyslav Dryhval, 46, of Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, east London, has been charged with three counts of possession of a bladed article, which include an axe, a knife and a lock knife.
Mr Dryhval was due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday afternoon before Deputy Senior District Judge Tan Ikram.
Defence barrister Eleazar Anyene said the defendant "refused to come out" of his cell after attempts were made to speak to him.
Judge Ikram said that, while HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) advised him not to go down to the cells, he had to go to avoid a "stalemate."
He said: "In order to make progress, this is one of those offences where the law says that I have to see him.
"HMCTS say I shouldn't go to the cells, the problem is I don't see a way round.
"I don't think I have a choice because otherwise we are in a stalemate."
In order to comply with Covid-19 social distancing rules in the limited space in the cells, only the judge, prosecutor David Roberts, defence barrister and interpreter were able to meet the defendant.
Judge Ikram returned to the courtroom around 10 minutes later.
He said Mr Dryhval did not indicate a plea to the charges and has been remanded in custody to appear at Southwark Crown Court on May 13.
Judge Ikram accepted an application to withdraw two charges of possession of an offensive weapon against Mr Dryhval.
The Metropolitan Police said private security guards working on The Mall were alerted by a member of the public who said a man was apparently carrying an axe at around 6.30pm on Tuesday.
Photos from witnesses on Twitter appeared to show several officers near the Institute of Contemporary Arts building.
There were no reports of any injuries, according to the Met.