‘Yellow vest’ protester convicted of assaulting photojournalist at demo

Self-styled “yellow vest” protester James Goddard has been convicted of assaulting a photojournalist at a demo in Manchester.

Goddard, 29, who represented himself in court, was supported by around a dozen supporters, three of whom were asked to leave court by the judge during the trial at Manchester Magistrates’ Court.

During the hearing, as photojournalist Joel Goodman began his evidence in the witness box, Goddard surreptitiously held up a piece of paper to him, with the words “Pussy coward leftist soy boy” on it.

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

After hearing evidence from both Mr Goodman and Goddard, the judge convicted the defendant of common assault by grabbing at his victim’s camera.

He was found not guilty of a public order offence of using threatening words or behaviour to cause Mr Goodman to fear “immediate” violence after he told him he would “take his head off his shoulders”.

Goddard told the court his words were a “common English idiom”.

He 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.

A two-year restraining order means the defendant is banned from approaching Mr Goodman.