News, Teesside

Former Hartlepool Councillor Keith Dawkins found guilty of slapping woman on the bottom

A former Putting Hartlepool First Councillor has been convicted of slapping a woman on the bottom after an elections meeting.

Former councillors in the same party acted as witnesses and attempted to blame the victim for the assault by suggesting it was politically motivated.

Dawkins attempted to play down the incident as a gaffe but a court has now found him guilty of Sexual assault.

Sexual Assault is Sexual Assault. There is no place for this behaviour and treating a woman like this within politics.

Despite a formal complaint that went ignored being raised with Putting Hartlepool First they still allowed a suspected sex offender to stand within local elections.

The matter was then referred to the police for investigation, who held enough evidence for CPS to charge Dawkins on suspicion of sexual assault.

Social media was ablaze with political motivation and victim blaming to discredit the victim who has no political motivation, just a woman going around her usual day to day business who was assaulted at work in a sexually motivated manner.

The councillor has now been found guilty and convicted of sexual assault after slapping the woman on the bottom in an inappropriate manner following an elections meeting.

Dawkins had denied the allegation but was convicted following a trial at Teesside Magistrates Court which discredited the accounts of Dawkins witnesses.

In his witness testimony, Dawkins admits that he knew his actions were illegal, admitting to the court saying “I’m sorry pet, I shouldn’t have done that, I know it’s illegal”.

Dawkins had denied the offence, but was found guilty and ordered to pay fines and costs but escaped signing the sexual offender’s register due to the level of his sentence handed otherwise he would have been forced to sign the sex offender’s register.

The victim of the offence told to the witness box and told the court that she had attended a meeting which Dawkins was in attendance and slapped the victim firmly on a buttock before he left the venue.

Another witness who was not known to the victim at the time told the court that a swinging motion was seen and a slapping sound heard and saw the discomfort on the victims face but was unsure where the victim had been slapped.

Dawkins believed this was an acceptable way to treat a woman who was simply doing her job, Two witnesses who were not believed by the court gave to varied accounts suggesting he touched the victim who cannot be named for legal reasons on the hip to get her attention.

“After the meeting finished I was talking to a few people when I felt a thud,” said the victim. “Mr Dawkins had used the palm of his hand on my left bum cheek.

“He then said to me: ‘I’m sorry pet, I shouldn’t have done that, I know it’s illegal’.

“I was shocked, I don’t think I said anything. “It was a bit sore, marked, but was not bruised.”

The victim who was left shocked and shaken left the meeting early and messaged another person to say she was sorry she had left the meeting early.

One of the witnesses said he was stood in front of the victim and saw what happened, the court did not believe his account.

“She was talking to someone else, so as I approached I touched her with the back of my hand on her hip to gain her attention.

“After I did so, I did say sorry as a joke, I am a Gemini and I turn things round to jokes. “I did not slap her on the buttock.

Two other women who appeared in court also claimed that the victim was touched on the hips.

Dawkins a former Putting Hartlepool First was convicted of sexual assault.

In summing up the case District Judge Timothy Capstick. The judge said: “It is obvious that not all the witnesses can be right, whether that is because they are mistaken or have told lies is not for me to determine.

The judge then went onto say that the most important evidence within the case was from the defendant himself because he admitted and knew what he had done was illegal despite pleading not guilty to the sexual assault.

The Judge said  “I am satisfied he did know what he had done was criminally wrong. “It gives me no pleasure to convict a 79-year-old man of previous good character, but I do convict him of the offence.

“Judge Capstick said the sentencing guideline of a community order was not appropriate. Dawkins was fined £100, ordered to pay £100 compensation, and ordered to pay £330 costs.

Dawkins despite being on police bail stood as a candidate for Putting Hartlepool First.

We have reached out to Putting Hartlepool First but so far they have not responded to our requests for formal comment.

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