Six convicted of abusing BBC Newsnight journalist during protest

Six convicted of abusing BBC Newsnight journalist during protest

Five men and a woman guilty of public order offences after Nicholas Watt was accosted in central London last year

Nicholas Watt

Five men and a woman who verbally abused a BBC journalist at a protest have been convicted of a public order offence, according to police.

A court previously heard how members of the group intimidated Newsnight’s political editor Nicholas Watt during the politically charged incident in Whitehall on 14 June 2021.

Crowds had gathered to protest against the government’s four-week extension of coronavirus restrictions in England.

Djazia Chaib-Eddour, 44, Christopher Aitken, 62, Martin Hockridge, 58, Alexander Peat, 34, and Gary Purnell, 45, all denied using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to use harassment, alarm or distress.

They stood trial at Westminster magistrates court from 29 June to 1 July, while Joseph Olswang, 40, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

But a verdict of guilty in all cases was recorded on 1 August and all six will be sentenced on 30 August, according to the Metropolitan police.

DC James Harold, the officer in the case, said: “A video of this incident prompted a huge amount of online comment and public concern. The behaviour shown by these people was unacceptable.

“Members of the public, of any profession, have the right to go about their day without being subjected to verbal harassment or actions that put them in fear for their safety.”