Councillor is innocent of assault charge

A HEMSWORTH town councillor has been cleared of common assault.

Friday, 17th December 2010, 2:59 pm

Coun Gordon Eccles, 63, of Hoyle Mill Road, Kinsley, had been accused of knocking out a man’s teeth on Tuesday, April 20.

He pleaded not guilty to the offence at an earlier hearing, stating that he had been acting in self defence.

The Labour councillor, who represents Kinsley, was due to go on trial at Pontefract Magistrates’ Court on Friday but the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dropped the charge due to a lack of evidence.

Coun Eccles, who represented himself, told magistrates that Samuel Crawford’s claim he had knocked his two front teeth out was ridiculous.

He said Mr Crawford had not had the two teeth for many years and the fact his gums were healed should have shown he was not telling the truth.

Coun Eccles, who said he received bruising as a result of the incident, told the court Mr Crawford had thrown the first punch.

He had intended to call his partner, district councillor Jean Martin, Hemsworth town councillor John Richardson and two others to give evidence.

Other councillors, Labour Party members and local residents attended court to show their support for Coun Eccles.