Trio admit involvement in attack on journalist Owen Jones

Mr Jones said the attack was "clearly premeditated"

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Three men have admitted involvement in an attack on left-wing activist and Guardian columnist Owen Jones, but deny the incident was motivated by homophobia.

Mr Jones, who is gay and campaigns for LGBT rights, suffered cuts and swelling to his back and head as well as bruises all down his body when he was assaulted on his birthday night out on August 17.

James Healy, 40, Charlie Ambrose, 30, and Liam Tracey, 34, appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court where they all admitted a charge of affray.

Healy admitted a further charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He will face a further trial by judge to determine whether Mr Jones’ sexuality was a motivation for the attack, as the prosecution alleges.

Prosecutor Philip McGhee said if the incident is found to have been sparked by homophobia “it would have a material impact” on the sentence.

The attack took place at the Lexington pub in north London

Healy’s trial will take place between January 16 and 17 at Snaresbrook Crown Court, where Mr Jones will be required to give evidence.

The victim described the attack as “clearly premeditated”, saying he had repeatedly been targeted “by far right activists, including attempts to use physical assault, and homophobic abuse”.

He added: “Given the context, it seems unthinkable that I was singled out for anything other than a politically motivated, premeditated attack.”

All three men are then due to be sentenced on February 11 and were warned they could face prison.

Judge Paul Southern granted them bail until their next court appearance on the condition they do not contact the victim and witnesses and do not attend the Lexington pub where the attack took place.

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