A chef has admitted grabbing a demonstrator by the testicles at a heated talk from a controversial speaker.

Craig Thomas assaulted sound engineer Oliver Waterhouse during a confrontation at the Let Women Speak event in Brighton in September.

The 50-year-old had gone to listen to controversial speaker Kellie-Jay Keen, also known as Posie Parker, who has sparked a backlash from LGBTQ+ campaigners who criticise her views on transgender rights, saying they are transphobic.

Ms Keen founded the group Standing For Women which campaigns for sex-based rights and protection of the word "woman".

There was a heavy police presence to keep each side apart during the event in Victoria Gardens.

Brighton Magistrates Court heard the assault happened after Mr Waterhouse shouted “fascist” at Thomas through a megaphone.

Prosecutor Melanie Wootton told the court Thomas, of Compton Road, Brighton, had squeezed extremely hard, causing a substantial amount of pain.

“There was some animosity between both sides,” Ms Wootton said.

“Mr Thomas became aggressive towards Mr Waterhouse and there was an exchange of views.

“Both were being antagonistic.

“Mr Thomas grabbed the complainant’s testicles, squeezed and pulled them causing Mr Waterhouse excruciating pain and he fell to the ground.

“Police saw the incident and Mr Thomas was arrested.”

In a victim statement, Mr Waterhouse said: “I haven’t been able work as a sound engineer.

“I’ve had nightmares and I am not able to sleep.

“I’m worried I won’t be able to have children.”

For the defence, Oliver Mackrell told the court the assault was completely out of character.

“I would describe the act as a single act over a very short period of time - a few seconds at most,” he said.

“There was no intention to cause any greater pain or harm.

“In the later statement of the complainant, he describes it as a punch.

“He also says there are no visible injuries. I say plainly, this would have been a painful experience.

“With the greatest respect to Mr Waterhouse, I would ask you to put very little weight on potentially not having children.”

Mr Mackrell said when the incident took place Thomas was struggling with his mental health after finding it hard to find work as a chef through the Covid pandemic.

“The complainant admits he called Mr Thomas a fascist,” Mr Mackrell said.

“He had a megaphone and the whole crowd was cheering when he was called a fascist.

“He reacted badly and he lost his cool. He completely accepts that.”

Chairwoman of the bench Eve Vamvas ordered Thomas to pay a total of £328, made up of a £120 fine, £75 compensation and costs

“We’ve heard about how remorseful you are and we’ve decided to fine you,” she said.