The leader of an advocacy group for black and minority women appeared in court alongside two friends charged with assaulting a woman at a Tube station.

Selma Taha, 52, the executive director of Southall Black Sisters, is accused of assault over the incident at King’s Cross station on September 29 last year.

But she claims that she and her two co-defendants were the victims of a “violent racist attack” while travelling on a Northern line train from Camden Town.

She appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court yesterday (April 11) alongside Divina Riggon, 40, and Danae Thomas, 52, accused of assault by beating.

In a statement issued last week before the hearing, Taha said the complainant in the case against her had accepted a caution for racially aggravated conduct under the Public Order Act and no further action was taken.

British Transport Police confirmed a woman in her 30s was cautioned for a racially aggravated public order offence.

Dozens of people gathered outside the court on Thursday with placards that read “drop the racist charges”, “stop police dishonesty”, and “get up speak up for your rights”.

Times Series: Supporters of Danae Thomas, Divina Riggon and Selma Taha outside Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court yesterday (April 11)Supporters of Danae Thomas, Divina Riggon and Selma Taha outside Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court yesterday (April 11) (Image: PA)

Riggon and Thomas were originally also charged with harassment under the Public Order Act.

But during Thursday’s hearing, Thomas’s charge was raised to the more serious offence of racially aggravated harassment contrary to the same Act, which could be tried at a crown court.

In a statement issued last week before the hearing, Taha said the racially aggravated harassment allegations are for her friend’s conduct towards a white British Transport police officer. The charge does name a police officer as the subject of the alleged harassment.

She said: “It would not be appropriate for me to make further public comment given this development, save to confirm that we will be fighting the charges, and that we regard these charges as criminalising the right of black people, and in particular black women, to call out racist abuse and resist racist violence.”

A judicial review may also be launched by the defendants, who are all from Warwick Road in Kensington, their defence barrister Harry Charalambous told the court.

The case was adjourned until April 26 at the same court because of the change to the charge and potential judicial review.

Postponing the hearing Neil Taylor, chair of the magistrates’ bench, said: “The expectation is (by April 26) there will be clarity in respect of whether a judicial review application has been lodged or not, we also expect on that occasion that defendants could be fully prepared on the changes in charge.”

All three defendants spoke only to confirm their names, dates of birth and addresses.

Reporting by PA.