AN ANTI-FASCIST protester arrested at the EDL rally in Bolton town centre has been found guilty of assaulting a police officer.

Roger Cox denied assaulting PC Darren Calladine at the English Defence League rally and Unite Against Fascism counter-demonstration on March 20.

But yesterday magistrates found him guilty of the offence, and said his version of events were “not credible”.

Justice4Bolton, a campaign group which claimed police used heavy-handed tactics on the day, held a show of solidarity outside the court before the trial started. The court heard that PC Calladine, of the tactical aid unit, was trying to arrest a man who was kicking out, when Cox pulled the man back into the crowd. Cox then hit the officer in the chest and swore at him.

Cox, aged 28, was forced to the ground and was handcuffed, with assistance from PC Eugene Mole.

Andrew Fitzpatrick, defending, accused the police of pushing the demonstrators.

He said: “Is it not the case there was concerted effort by the police to move the demonstrators away from where they were in the square?”

PC Calladine replied: “No, the police were trying to hold the line.”

“I’m suggesting that pushing came from the police,” said Mr Fitzpatrick. PC Calladine repeated that the police were trying to hold the line.

Mr Fitzpatrick suggested that PC Calladine “made a beeline”

for Cox.

PC Calladine said: “That is not correct. He struck me on the chest and helped another male make good his escape.”

The court heard that Cox, of Croydon Road, Newcastle, has a previous conviction for resisting arrest at an immigration demonstration in 2008.

He tried to fasten himself to a steering wheel of a police van in dawn raids.

Cox said that he was not doing anything wrong when PC Calladine arrested him in Victoria Square.

He said: “I saw the officer come down to me and he did not come into contact with anyone else, and he grabbed me. I did not see any punching or kicking by protesters but I did see violence from the police.”

He told the court he did not hit the officer in the chest and he did not swear at him.

He said that a CCTV camera on top of the magistrates court was pointing in his direction and might have recorded the incident.

Mr Fitzpatrick asked for an adjournment before the trial to obtain more CCTV, but the application was rejected. The trial was supposed to be held in July but that was put back when the same request was made.

Magistrates said there had been ample time to request the CCTV.

Chairman of the bench Stephen Paine said: “PC Calladine gave credible evidence.

“Cox’s evidence was also consistent but the version of events did not seem credible.”

The case has been adjourned to November 1 for sentence.

After the case, Lindsay Bessell, a spokesman for Justice4Bolton, said: “It is a policeman’s word against a protester so it was obvious there would be guilty verdict.

“There is no justice in the legal system and that’s why Justice4Bolton has formed to ensure this sort of thing stops.

Hopefully this decision will be challenged and we will continue to support other defendants.”