Contradicting police stories of violence during March for England in Brighton in April has led to the case against a far-right supporter being thrown out of court.
Magistrates said Richard Kemp had no case to answer after officers gave different accounts of his behaviour on April 27 – one saying a chair was held above his head, the other that it was held close to the ground.
Mr Kemp, 39, of Gibbert Street, Halifax, West Yorkshire, was arrested for affray at midday during violence between demonstrators and counter-protesters in Duke Street, Brighton.
About 20 English Defence League supporters and 20 so-called ‘black bloc’ counter protesters hurled glasses and chairs at each other after the largely peaceful nationalist march descended into clashes in the centre of town.
Giving evidence at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, PC Adam Creasy said he saw Mr Kemp holding a metal chair in front of him off the ground and concluded he planned to throw it.
However, PC Guy Williamson told the court he saw Mr Kemp from behind holding the chair “above his head as if to throw it” and agreed under cross examination that the chair was thrown.
Dismissing the case on application of the defence, chairwoman of the bench Daphne Bagshawe said: “It is our view that because of the inconsistencies in the accounts of the prosecution witnesses, no reasonable tribunal could convict the defendant.
“We agree with the submission that there is no case to answer.”
Mr Kemp, who had denied using threatening behaviour with intent, sobbed in the dock when he heard the decision.
The court was told he had missed the parade and was taken to hospital after his arrest with head and nose injuries.
He said he had been kicked in the head by counter-demonstrators while on the ground.
About 200 people took part in the nationalist march and were opposed by about 500 counter-protesters.
Six people arrested over disorder on the day have been given cautions or penalty notices, five have still to face trial, while police are looking for more people involved in violent disorder.
One person was fined £225 after admitting aggravated harassment.