A Wandsworth man accused of homophobia and assault has spoken out about the “nightmare of an ordeal” after the conviction was overturned.

Just under two years ago, Robbie Wohanka, 30, said he was getting “frustrated” with people using Barnes Common to “engage in sexual activity”.

Robbie, who used to walk on the common all the time, said: “It’s a beautiful area and home to many families with young children.

“I’ve noticed increasingly over the years that the Old Cemetery has become a common meeting ground for gay cruising.

“So much so that it has been reported in the media before in 2009, and the police and council have received complaints from residents about the ‘unpleasant’ litter and paraphernalia left behind.”

In the summer of 2016, Robbie became so annoyed that he did something that would lead to a criminal charge.

He said: “I was walking my dog and saw a small group of individuals who I believed were engaging in lewd and indecent behaviour in the bushes.

“After years of witnessing this behaviour and hearing friends and neighbours sharing similar observations, I – to my deep regret – decided to confront the individuals.

“I asked if they could refrain from engaging in such behaviour in a sacred, public area and suggested they find a more private venue.”

Robbie said the men “quickly dispersed”, but he says one man, who he’d seen in the Old Cemetery before, “grew confrontational”. The altercation became physical, but Robbie said he did not reciprocate.

The man reported Robbie to police, and he was eventually charged and convicted of assault and using threatening, abusive or insulting words after a trial at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on March 10 of last year.

It came with a homophobic uplift, which means because Robbie was accused of homophobia, the judge had the power to increase the sentence.

He was sentenced to an 18-month community order and told to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Robbie, a musician by trade, said he was “absolutely devastated” and that what he did “was never about homophobia”.

He said: “It was sheer frustration with seeing people coming along and doing that.

“If I could go back I would never have confronted or engaged with them. I’m sorry for it every day.

“It’s been a nightmare of an ordeal and really bad for my mental state.

“I’ve lost a lot of work because of it.

“The worst thing has been the perception of me in the community.

“But people have been very happy with what’s happened in the end.”

Robbie, who said “the truth always wins out”, appealed the assault charges and the homophobic uplift and was acquitted, although the harassment charge remains.