Sacha Baron Cohen's cousin faces prosecution over park keep-fit row

By Sandy Rashty, February 20, 2014

A personal trainer who is to be prosecuted for leading exercise sessions in London’s Royal Parks without a licence has appealed to the Jewish community for support.

French-born Alexis Ajavon Baron Cohen — who is related to comedian Sacha Baron Cohen — said he would rather go to jail than pay up.

The 43-year-old, who is planning his daughter’s batmitzvah with wife Aliza, said: “It’s ridiculous for the Royal Parks to charge me for using grass. I will not pay.”

The father-of-two, who has been a trainer for almost 10 years, has 15 clients but trains only two in parks.

He has launched a petition to “change the law” ahead of his March trial.

“They talk about people keeping healthy — they should make it a free public space,” he added, condemning the personal fitness training fees that range from £350 to £600 per annum.

A Royal Parks spokesman said: “It costs £32 million each year to run the Royal Parks. It is only fair that someone using the parks to run a commercial operation makes a contribution.”

Last updated: 9:45pm, February 20 2014