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Ex-St Helens Council leader guilty of election night assault
1:05pm Monday 29th October 2012 in News
A FORMER leader of St Helens Council has escaped with a fine after admitting assaulting a rival politician during an election night bust up.
Liberal Democrat Brian Spencer pleaded guilty to shoving over Labour candidate Mark Johnson during May’s local election count in St Helens Town Hall’s assembly room.
Spencer, 65, had been due to stand trial today at Bootle Magistrates' Court today – but he changed his plea to guilty.
Spencer - who was accompanied by ex-Lib Dem deputy leader for St Helens, Suzanne Knight and relatives - walked free from court but was fined £395.
On the night in question he was led away from the counting room by police after shoving Mr Johnson a candidate for the Eccleston ward, with both hands.
The assault caused Mr Johnson to stumble over on to his mother Janet, a serving Labour councillor.
Spencer, who led St Helens Council under a power sharing agreement with the Tories until Labour wrestled back control two years ago, was not present later on when results showed he had been defeated in Sutton ward and consequently lost the Lib Dem leadership.
In the days after the incident Spencer told the Star he denied being involved in any form of assault.
At an earlier hearing he had pleaded not guilty to the assault, however, today he finally admitted the offence.
Speaking outside court, Spencer said: "It is a relief to get it over with. I want to get back to working in the community, which is all I have ever wanted to do."
<b>Full report to follow</b>