Paul Heining, 24, from Brighton, East Sussex, denied the charge, claiming he was acting to prevent Mr Irving and British National Party activists from desecrating a Jewish cemetery.
Mr Irving told Brighton magistrates court that last December he had attended a meeting at the Royal Albion Hotel, Brighton. But Mr Heining and the Anti-Nazi League claimed the meeting was a front for the BNP and other far right-wing groups.
After the meeting, Mr Irving summoned his driver, claiming he feared for his safety, and left the hotel. A police officer at the scene, PC Karl Whicking, told the court: 'They (Anti-Nazi League members) started running after the car, carrying placards . . . Once the car had stopped at the traffic lights they surrounded the vehicle and began shouting . . . One or two started hitting the car with their placards.' Daniel Jerome, for the defence, suggested to Mr Irving that the meeting in the Albion Hotel was a front for far-right wing activists such as the BNP. Mr Irving denied it, but said the meeting may have been broadened to include 'the direction Britain was taking'.
Mr Jerome asked him whether members of the meeting had shouted 'Sieg Heil', and made Nazi salutes, out of the hotel windows towards the demonstrators.
'No. But I am aware of people being paid by the opposition to give Hitler salutes,' Mr Irving replied.
Claiming Mr Irving was on his way to a Jewish cemetery, Mr Jerome said: 'A person has the right to use reasonable force to prevent crime - Mr Irving was on his way to commit a criminal offence.'
The magistrates, however, ruled the defence should confine its questioning to events immediately surrounding the incident. After being refused an adjournment, Mr Jerome said he would not ask any further questions or call any witnesses because 'it would be hypocritical for the defence to take part in a trial in which it has no confidence'.
Mr Heining received a six- month conditional discharge.Reuse content