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Editor demands action after convict’s foul-mouthed tirade at reporter

Emma DavisonA regional daily editor has demanded stronger punishments for those who abuse journalists in court after a defendant subjected one of his reporters to a foul-mouthed tirade from the dock.

Wayne Ankers, who edits the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, has urged the courts and other authorities to act on the issue after serial criminal James Bridgewood aimed an abusive rant at court reporter Emma Davison, describing her as a “c**t” and a “f***ing s**g* in front of magistrates.

Bridgewood was removed from court following the outburst, which came as he was fined £300 for being drunk and disorderly in public.

It is the second such incident to befall Emma in recent months, after a defendant verbally abused and tried to grab her notebook in August. Both confrontations were reported to the police by the Examiner.

Wayne told HTFP: “Reporting proceedings from magistrates is a really important role. We are one of the only ways for people to see that justice is being done and a way of alerting the public to serious criminals.

“For Emma to come under attack whilst doing this role is despicable. Nobody should go to work and face verbal insults and threats.

“Thankfully we have robust procedures in place to support Emma and she is a determined reporter who does not want the abuse she has suffered to prevent her from doing her job. On both occasions she was adamant that her reports of the cases and incidents were published online and in print, and both incidents were reported to police.

“But it must stop. The courts and authorities must act when incidents like this happen and ensure that strong punishments are handed out and the message is sent out that it will not be tolerated.”

Huddersfield magistrates heard how Bridgewood, 36, threatened to assault police officers after had they attempted to remove him from a row outside a Huddersfield town centre pub last month.

Vanessa Jones, prosecuting, told the court: “He said to police: ‘Think you’re f***ing hard? I’ll smack your jaws.'”

When magistrates asked Bridgewood, who was not represented and had pleaded guilty, if he would like to explain the reasons behind his latest offence, he aimed abuse at Emma and said: “Not if it’s going in the f***ing paper like that c**t there.”

Chairwoman of the bench Anthea Ainley said she took his comments as declining to say anything in his defence.

Bridgewood, a former soldier, was jailed in June for three months after pushing a Romanian security guard at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and telling him: “Go back to your own country.”

His other past convictions include burglary, threatening behaviour, harassment, assaulting a police officer and possession of a knife.

Magistrates fined him £300 and told him to pay £85 prosecution costs and £30 victim surcharge.

In response, Bridgewood said: “Are you f***ing kidding me? That’s my money, that.  F**k the press, f**ing s**g.”

Following his removal from the courtroom, Mrs Jones commented that his behaviour in a court of law was clearly unacceptable.


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  • October 18, 2019 at 9:33 am

    Photographers have been abused outside courts for many years. Just saying.

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  • October 18, 2019 at 9:42 am

    Surely abuse of this nature is contempt of court? If police still carried out court prosecutions as they did in the old days incidents of this nature just would not happen…

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  • October 18, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Oh come on, a criminal did something bad? A criminal? Of all people!

    it’s part of the job and one to be embraced. Being sworn at by a crook is like being accused of fake news by Trump, it’s a badge of honour.

    I myself got rebuked by a judge once after some bloke who’d killed his wife got 18 years and started crying and I started laughing at him. Good times.

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  • October 18, 2019 at 11:08 am

    In days gone by the magistrates would have given him an extra sentence for such abuse instead of what appears to be a ticking off.

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