Owen Jones

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PA Media

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Owen Jones was attacked during a night out to celebrate his birthday

A man has been jailed for attacking Guardian journalist Owen Jones outside a north London pub.

James Healy, 40, admitted assaulting Mr Jones, claiming it was because the 35-year-old had spilled his drink.

However, a judge ruled that Healey carried out the attack because of Mr Jones’s sexuality and political views.

Appearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court, he was sentenced to two years and eight months for affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Two other men – Charlie Ambrose, from Brighton, and Liam Tracey, from Camden – were given suspended sentences of eight months each, suspended for two years after pleading guilty to affray.

Mr Jones suffered cuts, swelling to his back and head, and bruises down his body in the attack outside the Lexington pub on Pentonville Road in Islington, on 17 August last year.

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The Guardian journalist had been drinking in The Lexington in Islington

Healy, from Portsmouth, has a string of convictions for football-related violence.

The 40-year-old Chelsea FC fan had argued he “had the hump” because the victim had bumped into him and spilled his drink.

Following his arrest, a search of his home revealed a photograph of him performing a Nazi salute as well as other items connected to far-right ideology.

In his evidence, Mr Jones told the court he “absolutely did not” knock Healy’s drink.

He said he was “an unapologetic socialist, I’m an anti-racist, I’m an anti-fascist” and he was “the subject of an unrelenting campaign [of abuse] by far-right sympathisers”.

‘A political problem’

Recorder Judge Anne Studd QC said he would sentence Healy on the basis that the attack had been due to Mr Jones’s “widely published left-wing and LGBTQ beliefs”.

Following the sentencing, the journalist tweeted that “prison is not a solution to far right extremism” as Healy “will go to a prison a violent far right extremist, and probably leave prison a violent far right extremist”.

“There is no judicial solution to the far right: it is a political problem,” he wrote.

In another tweet he called the attack “the worst example of a concerted far right campaign of intimidation centring on the fact I’m left-wing, gay and an anti-racist”.

“Far right extremists have been responsible for murder, attempted murder, terrorist plots and violence.

“That threat is not taken seriously because it means having to ask searching questions of who is responsible for radicalising them. That must end,” he said.

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