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Group who chased and abused a journalist during Covid protest convicted

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Group who chased and abused a journalist during Covid protest convicted

Five men and a woman who verbally abused a journalist have been convicted of a public order offence.

On 14 June last year, a journalist was chased and abused by a number of protesters in Whitehall.

Detectives from the Met's Public Order unit launched an investigation and identified six suspects.

They were all subsequently charged with an offence under Section 4A of the Public Order Act, namely using threatening or abusive words or behaviour with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

Four men and one woman stood trial at Westminster Magistrates' Court from 29 June to 1 July.

A verdict of guilty in all cases was recorded on 1 August.

The four men and one woman are: Gary Purnell, 45 (18.03.77); Martin Hockridge, 58 (21.11.63); Alexander Peat, 35 (28.05.87); Christopher Aitken, 63 (26.03.59); Djazia Chaib-Eddour, 44 (09.03.78).

Joseph Olswang, 40 (02.07.82) pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

All six will be sentenced on Tuesday, 30 August.

Detective Constable James Harold, the officer in the case, said: "A video of this incident prompted a huge amount of online comment and public concern. The behaviour shown by these people was unacceptable.

"Members of the public, of any profession, have the right to go about their day without being subjected to verbal harassment or actions that put them in fear for their safety."

Reporting restrictions are in place prohibiting the publication of the addresses of those who were convicted.