Three men have admitted attacking Labour activist Owen Jones outside a north London pub but deny the attack was motivated by homophobia.
Mr Jones was kicked to the ground in an attack that he said was ‘motivated by his political and sexual views’, while celebrating his 35th birthday with friends.
The Guardian columnist and campaigner for LGBTQ rights, was left suffering head and body injuries, following the attack which happened at around 2am on August 17.
James Healy, 40, of Portsmouth, Liam Tracey, 34, Camden, London, and Charlie Ambrose, 30, from Brighton, were arrested after the incident at the Lexington pub in Islington.
The trio admitted affray on Wednesday at Snaresbrook Crown Court. Healy also admitted one charge of actual bodily harm, while the other two denied the same assault charge.
They deny the attack was motivated by Mr Jones’ sexuality and a trial of issue will be held to decide the issue next month back at the same court.
Chiran Mondal, prosecuting, told an earlier hearing: ‘At 1am Mr Jones, who is a journalist and a left-wing campaigner for LGBT people has come out of the pub celebrating his birthday at the Lexington public house when he was approached by what he says was one of the three suspects who he says karate kicked him to the floor.
‘The others joined in causing him injuries. It’s a group attack, it’s a sustained attack and the Crown say it’s motivated by his political and sexual views.
‘There were cuts and swellings to the back, swollen head wound injuries and bruising all down the arm and leg.’
Duncan Jones, defending the trio, had earlier claimed the men acted in self-defence.
He told the court: ‘It’s safe to say this was not a politically motivated attack, these men didn’t know who Owen Jones was.
‘They each gave prepared statements – in the case of one it was self-defence and in the case of the others it was defence of another.’
Healy was handed a five-year football banning order in 2017 for running onto the pitch at the Hawthorns after Chelsea scored the winner and were crowned Premier League champions
The trial of issue will be held on January 16 and sentencing will be on February 11. Judge Paul Southern granted all three bail.