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  1. ITV Report

Yellow Vest protestor James Goddard convicted of assaulting photographer in Manchester

James Goddard Photo: PA Images

Self-styled "yellow vest" protester James Goddard has been fined £300 after being convicted of assaulting a photojournalist at a demo in Manchester.

Police officers were called to the courtroom after Goddard, 29, who represented himself in court, surreptitiously held up a piece of paper with the words "Pussy coward leftist soy boy" on it as his victim began giving evidence in the witness box.

Police seized the piece of paper and were harangued as "bullies" and "jobsworths" by Goddard's supporters in the public gallery at Manchester Magistrates' Court.

But District Judge Mark Hadfield chose not to pursue the matter as a contempt of court and continued proceedings after the photojournalist, Joel Goodman, indicated he was happy to continue giving evidence.

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" when police were not present.

Judge Hadfield said as the threat of violence was not "immediate", the offence was not made out and cleared the defendant.

Goddard told the court he regretted making the threat but it was a "common English idiom" and claimed to be the victim of a witch hunt because of his political beliefs.

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.

The court heard Goddard has nine previous convictions, including theft from an employer and failing to surrender in April 2010 and a racially aggravated public order offence in February 2011.

He told the court he now works as a "content creator" and is an "independent journalist".