Joseph Olswang’s defense said he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was in the midst of a manic episode at the time of the incident last June
An anti-lockdown protester who stalked a BBC journalist and called him a traitor has been given a suspended sentence.
Joseph Olswang was part of a group that gathered in Westminster on June 14 last year to protest the government’s four-week extension of Covid restrictions in England.
Protesters were seen berating Newsnight’s political editor Nicholas Watt, who was wearing a BBC lanyard, in footage widely shared on social media.
Mr Watt had to run through angry protesters and past a line of police officers as people insulted him near Downing Street.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard Olswang “yelled and yelled” at Mr Watt, which he described as a highly offensive term.
At a previous hearing, Olswang pleaded guilty to using threatening, abusive or abusive words or behavior to harass Mr Watt.
He was found guilty of the same offense against Pc Agnes Matvejeva after he yelled at Metropolitan Police officers for 35 minutes, calling them a “brown shirt Nazi” and “evil scum”.
District Judge Daniel Sternberg called the incident “disgraceful” and sentenced Olswang to a 20-week prison sentence with an 18-month suspended sentence.
“They were among a group of people who posed as protesters but did little more than harass journalists and police officers – who went about their business – and indeed made their lives very uncomfortable,” he said.
“It was clearly part of a series of disorderly events involving you and others at a sensitive time in Whitehall and outside Downing Street.”
Olswang was also banned from Whitehall and Parliament Square for 18 months and sentenced to 150 hours unpaid labor and 20 days of rehabilitation, and to pay £1,748 in reparations and costs.
In defense, Eleanor De said Olswang had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was in the midst of a manic episode at the time of the incident.
“The events of 2020, both global and personal, have created a perfect storm for a mental health crisis,” she said.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/anti-lockdown-protestor-spared-jail-27184992 Anti-lockdown protester spares jail for abuse of Newsnight editor near Downing Street