Tara Wolf, pictured, denies assaulting Maria MacLachlan during a demonstration at Speaker’s Corner on September 13 last year
A radical feminist who claims she was attacked by a transgender activist during a protest denies she was filming her in order to ‘out’ her as transgender online.
Tara Wolf, 26, is accused of assaulting Maria MacLachlan, 61, during a demonstration at Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park on September 13, last year.
Under cross examination from Ms Wolf’s defense counsel Jodie Anderson, Ms McLachlan denied a suggestion she was seeking to ‘out’ Ms Wolf as transgender online.
She claimed she had pulled out the camera and started filming because she thought she would get some ‘amusing footage’.
But Jodie Anderson, defending, argued she was deliberately trying to antagonise the protesters and intended to post the footage on her blog, Facebook page and Twitter in a bid to out them as trans.
Wolf, who faces one charge of assault by beating, admits being involved in the fracas but insists she was acting in self-defence.
Ms Maclachlan, who is active on social media, said: ‘I thought it would make some very amusing footage – it didn’t really occur to me that someone standing several feet away with a camera would be antagonising when they themselves had voluntarily gone along to this event.’
Ms Anderson said: ‘As an active tweeter no doubt you are aware that quite often people who identify as trans are targeted and attacked by virtue of their identification.’
Ms Maclachlan said she was not even aware the group were trans, saying she thought they were all male.
‘They were not easily perceived as trans. I don’t mind going through them face-by-face if you want to argue the toss,’ she said.
Ms Anderson said: ‘I’m going to suggest that when making that footage of the protesters, but particularly of Tara Wolf, your intention was to post it online.’
Ms Maclachlan replied: ‘When I started filming I didn’t have any particular intention of what I might do with the footage. I might have shown it to my husband, I might have posted it on my Facebook page, or I might have uploaded it on my blog.’
She denied Ms Anderson’s suggestion that by filming them she was trying to make the protesters feel ‘scared, uncomfortable or unsafe’.
Ms Maclachlan admitted grabbing the protester she believed had snatched her camera, but denied shaking her or lifting her off the floor.
She admitted following the event she had sent out an abusive tweet featuring a close-up of the defendant’s face with the words: ‘Hiya, got any hair restorer while I’m in hiding? Love Tara.’
Later, Hendon Magistrates’ Court heard from Dr Julia Long – a ‘Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist’ who witnessed the alleged assault.
She told the court Tara Wolf, 26, was part of a group who attacked feminist Maria MacLachlan.
She told a trial Ms MacLachlan’s camera was also wrecked during the flashpoint in Hyde Park, central London, last September.
Maria MacLachaln, left, claims she was assaulted by Ms Wolf during the demonstration at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park on September 13, 2017
The atmosphere had quickly turned ‘hostile’ as trans activists huddled around Ms MacLachlan and attacked her, magistrates heard.
Dr Long told Hendon Magistrates’ Court: ‘At one point I started singing into the megaphone which one of my friends had brought.
‘It was quite jovial, it was not hostile on my part. I was not chanting or shouting.
‘While I was doing that one of the trans activists came and shouted into the megaphone. That was quite harassing for me to have that intrusion into my space.
‘I was singing into it, I was singing a humorous song.’
She described spotting a ‘huddle’ of people surrounding Ms MacLachlan before Wolf, who Dr Long initially mistook for a man, punched her.
Dr Long said: ‘It all happened quite quickly.
‘I remember hearing this chanting, which as I remember was something like “when TERFs attack we fight back”.
‘I became aware of that, I was looking around because there was the group of people there and as I looked to my right I saw what happened next.
‘I saw one group huddled together, about three or four people in this group, and that’s when I saw the incident occur.
‘There was a woman in the centre of it. I know her now but I didn’t know her at the time.’
Dr Long said the woman, who the court heard was Ms MacLachlan, was trying to pull a hood or headscarf from one of her attackers to reveal their face.
She added: ‘It all happened very, very quickly between what looked to me like a young, slender male wearing a grey and white camouflage hoodie.”
Carly Loftus, prosecuting, said: ‘I think it’s accepted that’s the defendant?’
Dr Long said: ‘I saw the defendant, I think with his [sic] right fist, strike the woman who had been holding the scarf of the other – strike her twice from what I could see, to her side.
‘I think it was the side of her, but it could have been lower down her body.
‘It was a tight group of people but what I saw was the defendant strike twice and it looked to me the blows landed on the woman in the middle.’
The prosecutor asked: ‘What did the defendant do after striking?’
Dr Long said: ‘It looked like he just struck her and then ran off, but at that point I must admit I was so shocked to see the woman being hit that I’m not so sure about what happened after.
‘The main thing I remember was feeling really shocked because up to that point I knew there had been threats made and had seen some things on social media.
‘But I really didn’t expect any of it to materialise so I was really taken aback.’
She said she thought she also saw another woman being attacked so phoned 999.
A person then handed her Ms MacLachlan’s camera, which had been damaged in the struggle.
Dr Long said: ‘The bottom of it was broken and the cover where the memory card goes was broken because I was trying to put it back in but it would not fit back in.
‘By then I think the police had arrived and I went over to the police to say I had witnessed the incident.
‘A woman came over to where the police were and a group of people were and I think she was saying she had lost her camera.
‘It turns out the camera belonged to her
‘She was so relieved that someone had her camera.’
Earlier, District Judge Kenneth Grant warned Ms MacLachlan about her use of pronouns during her evidence at Hendon Magistrates’ Court .
Judge Grant said: ‘The defendant wished to be referred to as a woman, so perhaps you could refer to her as “she” for the purpose of the proceedings.’
Ms MacLachlan replied: ‘I’m used to thinking of this person who is a male as male.’
The court heard Ms MacLachlan had started to film transgender activists who were holding a counter demonstration when she was attacked.
She said those on the counter-demonstration were ‘predominantly middle class university types’.
She told the court: ‘I really only became aware of them when they started to make a noise.
‘At one point I heard them shout “kill all TERFs”. I think they shouted it once or twice.’
Miss MacLachlan said the brawl broke out shortly after TERF organiser Dr Julia Long tried to sing through a megaphone.
She said: ‘As soon as she put it to her lips there was a huge chorus of chanting starting behind us.
‘It was the protesters shouting “when the TERFs attack we fight back”.
‘They were obviously trying to drown out voices and intimidating us.
‘At one point I said “who’s attacking who?” I asked them that a couple of times, but they didn’t answer: they just shouted louder.
‘They didn’t ask me not to film, they didn’t hide their faces in any way.’
Miss MacLachlan said transgender activists then approached her, before a scuffle broke out and she was punched several times.
She said: ‘A hooded figure suddenly ran at me, ran past me from left to right, knocking the camera from my hand.
‘They swatted it. Although it was knocked out of my hand it was caught by the strap so it didn’t hit the ground, which I thought was the intention.’
Describing the alleged attempt to knock the camera from her hand, she added: ‘I was extremely shocked it had happened.
‘It was a split second it happened in, and very, very angry.
‘I retrieved my camera and was intent on getting footage of the person who had just tried to knock my camera out of my hand.
‘I straightened the camera up and walked towards where the defendant was now hiding behind the other protesters and raised it above their heads to try and get footage of the defendant.’
Ms MacLachlan was told by a district judge at Hendon Magistrates’ Court, pictured, to refer to her alleged attacker using the correct pronoun while giving evidence against Ms Wolf
Referring to placards held by the counter-demonstrators, she added: ‘They pushed them into my face.
‘One or two physically started to push my away and at that point I was probably in danger, so I turned away.
‘A couple of them came after me.
‘I remember one guy with a ponytail and another who was hooded. That one in particular came to my front and tried to push the camera from my hands.’
The prosecutor asked: ‘What was the person with the ponytail doing?’
She replied: ‘I think he was holding on to me trying to assist the other one, but more by physically restraining me and stopping me from getting away.
‘He held onto me.
;They managed to rip the camera from the strap so he had it and that’s when I got hold of him. I wanted to stop him running off with my property.
‘He had it then he smashed it to the ground.
‘As I was holding the one who had my camera to stop them getting away I suddenly saw the defendant and man with the ponytail running at me and started thumping me.
‘They were closed fists. It was more of a side, rather than a forward, punch.’
She said she felt blows to her right cheek and neck.
A photo was shown to the court of a bruise which Ms MacLachlan allegedly suffered to her leg during the fracas.
She said: ‘I remember being hit when I was on the ground and kicked, but I didn’t see who did it.
‘I had bruises to my legs. I believe I sustained them when the person I was holding on to was kicking me and when I fell to the ground I had some grazes on my knees.’
She added: ‘They just looked so silly.
‘These are what appear to me to be predominantly middle class university types, as far as I could see, talking about being attacked. By who?
‘There were a peaceful group of women chatting in a park. Nobody wanted any trouble, and if they had not followed us to the venue there would not have been trouble.’
Wolf, who told the court she was of no fixed abode, denies one count of assault by beating.
The trial continues.