…By Henry George for TDPel Media.
Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock appeared in court, testifying that he felt threatened and feared physical harm during encounters with an anti-vaccine protestor.
Geza Tarjanyi, aged 63, is accused of harassing Hancock in two separate incidents that took place in January.
The MP for West Suffolk claims that Tarjanyi pursued him on his way to Parliament and later confronted him on a London Underground train.
Intimidation and Fear During Confrontation
According to Hancock’s testimony, the first incident occurred five days before the second encounter.
Tarjanyi allegedly “shoulder-barged” Hancock while persistently shouting questions and accusations.
The former Health Secretary stated that these incidents left him feeling intimidated and fearful.
During the second encounter at Westminster tube station, Hancock accused Tarjanyi of “shoving” him as they entered the station.
Hancock expressed concern about his safety as he attempted to distance himself from Tarjanyi, emphasizing the intimidating and outrageous behavior exhibited by the protestor.
The Escalator Incident
Hancock recalled the escalator incident, where he believed Tarjanyi was pushing him towards the top of the escalator.
He expressed extreme worry, as losing his balance would have resulted in a dangerous fall down the long escalator.
Hancock had to work hard to maintain his balance and prevent such an incident from occurring.
Harassment on the Tube
Tarjanyi is accused of continuing to harass Hancock during their short Tube ride to Bond Street station.
A Transport for London worker accompanied the MP for his safety.
Hancock stated that Tarjanyi persisted in shouting at him and members of the public.
Despite attempts by fellow passengers to persuade him to stop, Tarjanyi allegedly made alarming remarks about being previously arrested and wanting to go to court.
These statements added to Hancock’s feeling of insecurity and unease.
Awareness of Conspiracy Theorists and Anti-Vaxxers
Hancock informed the court of his knowledge regarding a protest camp in Whitehall, which he described as occupied by conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers.
He dismissed their views as “ridiculous” and expressed his reluctance to provide them with additional publicity.
Hancock highlighted the difficult position he faced as a public figure, wanting to avoid encouraging harassment or giving traction to inaccurate conspiracy theories.
Unsettling Difference in Interactions
Hancock clarified that while he often engages with the public for selfies, questions, and friendly conversations, his encounter with Tarjanyi felt significantly different.
He emphasized that he had never felt as intimidated as he did during these incidents.
Hancock also raised concerns about Tarjanyi’s apparent willingness to go to court, suggesting that this indicated a potential for further harm and contributed to his feeling of unsafety.
Denial of Charges and Trial Continuation
Geza Tarjanyi, from Leyland in Lancashire, denies the charge of harassment and claims that there was no deliberate physical contact.
He accuses Hancock of barging into him and refutes the claim that his behavior constituted harassment.
The trial is ongoing as both sides present their arguments and evidence.