James Goddard to be sentenced for harassing pro-Remain MP Anna Soubry
Pro-Brexit protester James Goddard is expected to avoid an immediate jail term when he is sentenced this afternoon for harassing Remain-supporting MP Anna Soubry.
The 30-year-old, of Kelvindale Drive, Timperley, Altrincham, is due at Westminster Magistrates’ Court after he admitted calling the former Conservative a Nazi and a traitor outside the Houses of Parliament in January.
Goddard admitted one charge of intent to cause Ms Soubry harassment, alarm or distress, using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, and a separate racially aggravated public order offence towards a police officer when he appeared before justices on Friday.
Senior district judge Emma Arbuthnot indicated Goddard would not receive an immediate custodial term were he to enter guilty pleas following a brief hearing to determine possible sentencing outcomes – a procedure seldom seen in magistrates’ courts.
He will be sentenced alongside 55-year-old Brian Phillips, of Dale View, Erith, Kent, who also admitted harassment during a fitful court hearing on Friday.
Footage shown in court featured Goddard wearing his trademark hi-vis vest shouting insults at Ms Soubry, who defected to join the party now known as Change UK in February.
He could also be seen hurling abuse at Ms Soubry as she made her way into the Palace of Westminster following a live television interview in which she struggled to be heard above the protesters’ insults.
In a victim impact statement, read before the court on Friday, Ms Soubry described how she was “really intimidated”, and was “very shaken by what happened”.
She added: “I have developed a mechanism for cutting off large parts of my emotions.
“I was disorientated, I felt intimidated and harassed.”
Goddard, whose previous court appearances have been characterised by clashes with journalists, police, justices and people in the public gallery, was released on bail alongside his co-defendant.
The sentencing hearing is due to begin at 2.30pm.