Owen Jones tells court of ‘unrelenting’ far-right abuse

Mr Jones suffered cuts to his head and back

Friday, January 17, 2020

Left-wing activist Owen Jones has told a court that he was the victim of an “unrelenting campaign” of abuse by far-right sympathisers, which included daily death threats.

The 35-year-old Guardian columnist made the comments during the hearing of a man accused of launching a homophobic attack on him in north London a pub last year.

James Healy, 40, allegedly targeted Mr Jones because of his media profile as an LGBTQ rights campaigner and left-wing, anti-racism and anti-fascism activist.

The defendant admits the “frenzied” attack outside the Lexington pub, where Mr Jones sustained cuts and swelling to his head and back, but denies being motivated by the victim’s sexuality or political views.

Instead, Healy said he did not know who Mr Jones was and claimed he assaulted him because he barged him inside the pub, spilling his drink, and did not apologise.

The attack occurred at the Lexington pub on August 17 2019

In his evidence, Mr Jones said: “I'm an unapologetic socialist, I'm an anti-racist, I'm an anti-fascist and I've consistently used my profile to advocate left-wing causes.

“Almost every single day I am the subject of an unrelenting campaign (of abuse) by far-right sympathisers.”

He said he received death threats on a daily basis, adding that the far-right had “come to see me as this hate figure in their ranks”.

Healy denied holding extreme right-wing views and when asked if he held homophobic or racist views said: “No, it’s 2020”.

He also said that, in a photograph in which he is allegedly performing a Nazi salute, his arm is held out to the right to show off his Chelsea Youth Firm tattoo.

The judge, Recorder Anne Studd QC, will decide whether the assault was motivated by homophobia or political views.

Charlie Ambrose, 30, and Liam Tracey, 34, were also involved in the attack and have been convicted with affray over the incident – their prosecutors accepted that their actions were not motivated by homophobia.

All three defendants are due to be sentenced on February 11.

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