Grantham protest: Man convicted of assaulting police officer at National Front rally
A 43-year-old man assaulted a police officer in Grantham during a National Front rally, where he also tried to provoke further violence.
Benjamin Wood, from Bristol, was convicted of two offences when he appeared before Lincoln Magistrates Court.
Police say Wood came to Grantham to oppose the National Front rally in the town centre on August 19 last year and was arrested after trouble flared at the event.
He was charged with and subsequently convicted of assaulting a police officer and using threatening or abusive words or behaviour with intent to cause or provoke violence – an offence under the Public Order Act.
Wood, of Robertson Road in Bristol, was handed a 12 month conditional discharge, fined £300 and ordered to pay half of court costs.
The police officer he assaulted was not seriously injured.
Chief Inspector Simon Outen said: “An individual’s rights and freedom of expression are important concepts that the police are required to protect; police have a duty to facilitate peaceful protest, regardless of the views being expressed, providing those views and expressions do not breach existing legislation.
“Invariably, on occasions, there will be people who wish to express a differing opinion, which police will again facilitate providing it is done in a peaceful way.
“During the protest in Grantham town centre in August 2017, there were individuals whose intent and actions were not in keeping with that ethos, meaning our response had to be robust in order to maintain law and order. “Consequently an individual has now been convicted of assaulting a police officer and an offence under the Public Order Act, underlining our commitment in Lincolnshire Police to ensure people demonstrate in a peaceful manner and our determination to deal with those who do not wish to do so.”