Ex Town Hall boss denies double assault

Former council leader Brian Spencer
Former council leader Brian Spencer

EX council leader Brian Spencer has appeared in court for the first time charged with a double election night assault.

The 65-year-old stands accused of assaulting Labour candidate Mark Johnson as well as Mr Johnson’s mother, Sutton councillor Janet Johnson, at St Helens Town Hall in the early hours of May 4.

He pleaded not guilty to both charges when summonsed to appear before Sefton Magistrates’ Court in Bootle on Monday (July 30).

In a five-minute hearing, Spencer, wearing a dark suit and navy blue tie, remained impassive in the dock and spoke only to enter his pleas and to confirm his name, address and date of birth.

Unless there is any change in plea, a trial date is now due to be set - which could result in St Helens councillors, both past and present, being called upon to testify.

Spencer, the former local Lib Dem leader, of Goodlea Place, Sutton Leach, lost the Sutton seat he had held since 1989 to Labour’s Jimmy Jackson by more than 800 votes in May’s local elections.

He is next due before the same court on the morning of August 13 for a case management hearing.

Although Spencer’s defence solicitor, Neal Boland, argued that his client need not attend the next hearing, Magistrates ordered that he must - because he stands accused of a “potentially imprisonable offence”.

They granted him unconditional bail.

The chair of the bench told Spencer: “We’re adjourning your case for a case management hearing at 9.45am on August 13. You will need to be here because we will be setting a trial date.

“It’s important that you attend, otherwise you may be committing an offence under the bail act.”