Manchester

Protester fined for assaulting journalist in Manchester

James Goddard Image copyright PA
Image caption James Goddard represented himself at Manchester Magistrates' Court

A protester has been fined £300 after being convicted of assaulting a photojournalist at a demonstration.

James Goddard, 29, was convicted of common assault by grabbing Joel Goodman's camera in Manchester on 9 February.

He was found not guilty of a public order offence after telling Mr Goodman he would "take his head off his shoulders".

Goddard, of Timperley, had represented himself during the trial.

He was supported at Manchester Magistrates' Court by about a dozen supporters, three of whom were asked to leave court by District Judge Mark Hadfield during the trial.

During the hearing, as Mr Goodman began his evidence in the witness box Goddard held up a piece of paper towards him with offensive words on it.

Police officers were then called to court to seize the piece of paper but the judge chose not to pursue the matter as a contempt of court and continued proceedings.

Image caption James Goddard was handed a two-year restraining order which bans him from approaching Mr Goodman

Giving evidence, Mr Goodman said he was covering a demonstration at Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester city centre when Goddard approached him and tried to grab his camera.

Mr Goodman was wearing a body-camera and the court was shown footage of him backing away, shouting: "Don't you dare touch my lens."

Goddard was filmed approaching him twice more where the two argue about freedom of speech and the right to protest and the right of Mr Goodman to take photos.

The protester was fined £300 for the common assault and ordered to pay £500 in prosecution costs, £50 compensation to Mr Goodman and a £30 victim impact surcharge.

He was also handed a two-year restraining order which bans him from approaching Mr Goodman.

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