Back in the news today has come James Goddard, head of the supposed UK “Yellow Vest” movement, also more correctly called the Amateur Comedy Sturmabteilung. After finding himself nicked recently, Goddard appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court to face charges of racially aggravated harassment (towards a Police officer) and another count of behaviour likely to cause harassment, towards (then) Tory MP Anna Soubry.
As Zelo Street regulars will also know, Goddard is also facing charges related to threatening behaviour towards a journalist in Manchester. That hearing is separate and will happen tomorrow. Also, he may face more charges: as the BBC has reported, “The courts service said it was ‘deeply concerned to hear of intimidating behaviour’ at the hearing [today] … A spokesperson added: ‘We apologise to all those affected and are urgently investigating what happened. This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated.’”
So more popcorn to get in, then. As to today’s hearing, as the Guardian has reported, “The self-styled ‘yellow vest’ protester James Goddard has denied calling the MP Anna Soubry a Nazi and a traitor”. However, as the Evening Standard has also reported, “Goddard is set to argue at trial that it was ‘fair comment’, ‘reasonable behaviour’ and ‘true comment’”. He didn’t say it, but it was “fair comment”. That’ll go well, then.
The hearing was notable only for the apparently deliberate disruption caused to it by Goddard and his supporters. As the Mail has told, “Goddard, wearing a white T-shirt featuring a British flag, a logo for 'The Directory Guys', a motif of three children's faces, and the words 'our boys', used his mobile phone in the dock as he waited for the case to begin”. Using his mobile in the dock. Er, no. There was more.
“At one point, Goddard shouted over his solicitor as he spoke in court, claiming: 'It is not illegal to call, to heckle an MP. It says so in the defence statement. How is calling her a Nazi threatening? I get called a far-right fascist.’ [because he is one] … At this, his supporters broke out into chants of 'Anna Soubry is a Nazi', prompting the judge to leave court”. But his trial date has been set for July 19.
It was clear that Goddard and his pals were looking to provoke the authorities. He wanted his martyrdom moment. But in court, all he got was due process, and if it is decided to charge him and his supporters for their contempt of proceedings, that will be dealt with separately. Due process will be seen to be done.
That Goddard and his pals wanted some way in which they could play the victim was shown once more when those pals staged another live-streamed protest: “Right-wing supporters of 'yellow vest' activist James Goddard have stormed the Attorney General's office while chanting 'Anna Soubry is a Nazi' - hours after his trial was suspended due to crowds heckling the judge in court … Demonstrators live-streamed the protest as they occupied a stairwell of the building near Westminster Abbey”.
But that didn’t get them anywhere, either. Goddard and his supporters failed to get their victimhood moment, and the wheels of justice ground inexorably on. Bunch of clowns.
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