Chair of Tower Hamlets Respect party convicted

The chairman of Tower Hamlets Respect Party has been convicted of slapping a Jewish man during a protest last summer.

Carole Swords, supporter of the Viva Palestina charity, attacked Harvey Garfield as he attempted to defend Israeli products from potential vandalism by protesters.

Ms Swords, of Grenville House, Arbery Road, in Bow, entered a Tesco store in Covent Garden on the afternoon of August 13 last year after attending an anti-Israel demonstration outside the nearby Ahava cosmetics store.

Volunteer Mr Garfield was at the supermarket helping staff protect Israeli products from potential acts of vandalism by the protesters.

On trial at City of London Magistrates Court last Thursday, 59-year-old Swords claimed Mr Garfield had harassed and attacked her as she entered the store to buy a drink.

But magistrates viewed CCTV footage of the incident and agreed with the prosecution’s case that Swords used “threatening and abusive words or behaviour to cause harassment”.

The court heard how she told Mr Garfield “don’t you ****ing follow me” before turning around and landing the blow, knocking his spectacles to the floor.

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Swords, whose mother was from a Russian Jewish family, was found guilty on one charge of a public order offence and given a conditional discharge.

She must also pay court costs of �250.