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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 November, 2004, 15:49 GMT
Protest father admits to assault
Jody Dunn
Lib Dem candidate Jody Dunn was covered in purple powder
A Fathers 4 Justice campaigner who contested the Hartlepool by-election has been given a 12-month conditional discharge after admitting assault.

Paul Watson, 36, of Ashwood Grange, Thornley, County Durham, threw purple powder over Liberal Democrat candidate Jody Dunn at the count in October.

Hartlepool Magistrates Court were told it happened in the heat of the moment.

Watson was ordered to pay Ms Dunn 135 towards her damaged clothing and 150 in compensation for distress.

Barry Gray, defending, told the court: "The powder has become the symbol of the organisation.

'Emotional state'

"He went to the election that night without any intention of throwing it on this unfortunate candidate but in the heat of the moment changed his mind.

"He did not single her out, he threw it at the nearest person.

"He did not wish for her to suffer personally."

District Judge Martin Walker told Mr Watson, a sports centre manager: "It's clear you were in a considerable emotional state and I rather see it as a personal expression of that emotion rather than one that might be regarded as political.

After the hearing Watson said the court case was not about him or Jody Dunn but the Fathers 4 Justice organisation.

He said: "It was not violent and I did not intend to cause her any distress."

Protest father on assault charge
20 Oct 04 |  England

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