General News

Tycoon cleared over abusive car park row

Gscene Editorial Team March 7, 2020

Notorious property tycoon¬†Nicholas van Hoogstraten¬†has been cleared of a charge of abusive behaviour after he called a police officer a “poofter” during a row in a car park.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the¬† British-born businessman – who has changed his name to Nicholas Adolf von Hessen –¬† made the comment after his son was arrested following a row over car clamping in a car park in Hove, East Sussex.

He appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court charged with causing harassment, alarm or distress, but dismissed the proceedings as a “disgrace” and¬† “a complete waste of public money”.

The Magistrates found him not guilty despite him admitting to using that language  to the Sussex Police officer .

Returning the verdict, magistrate Barbara Dart said: ‘We watched the video evidence, we heard Mr von Hessen say ‘maybe he’s a poofter as well’.

‘This was said quietly and directed towards his son. Mr von Hessen was not confrontational.’

She accepted the words are ‘unpleasant and rude’ but the magistrates did not think it passed the criminal standard in this case.

PC Breeds a Sussex Police Constable who had previously been¬† the LGBT Liaison officer in Brighton¬†told the court: ‘I initially thought he might be a member of the public who had a misconception about the police and how we were handling this.

‘I became aware from comments from Mr von Hessen that it was his son I had in handcuffs.

‘He was also confrontational and saying various things, some obstructive, but he had been distanced from me so I wasn’t concerned. Colleagues came to distance him from me.’

He added: ‘The son said something like I was scared or worried, some derogatory comment, to which his father then says he’s a poof. That was directed at me, quite clearly.

‘It’s undermining, it’s aggressive, it’s something you shouldn’t have to hear. It served no purpose, it wasn’t constructive, it just had no bearing on anything.

‘The intention was to cause me to fear him or back down in the situation.’

Mr von Hessen walked free from court and was found not guilty of behaviour causing harassment alarm or distress