A former Hartlepool councillor is to go on trial accused of slapping a woman on the bottom after an election candidates event.
Keith Dawkins, 79, appeared at Teesside Magistrates Court today to answer one allegation of sexual assault which he denies.
He pleaded not guilty to the allegation that he intentionally touched a woman, who cannot be legally named, that the touching was sexual and that he did not reasonably believe that the woman consented.
It dates back to an event for election candidates in Hartlepool when Dawkins, of the town’s Cobden Street, was standing for the Jesmond ward.
Lynn Dalton, prosecuting, told the court: “At the end of the event it is an allegation that he slapped a person present on the buttocks causing pain and distress.”
He elected for the trial to be dealt with at the magistrates court instead of at the crown court.
The trial will take place on Wednesday, December 19, and is expected to last one day.
His solicitor Neil Douglas said: “He’s a 79-year-old man of good character who is absolutely determined to establish and retain that good character.”
Dawkins was elected to Hartlepool Borough Council representing the Jesmond ward in 2012 for the Putting Hartlepool First party of which he acted as leader for a time.
In 2015 he lost his seat to Labour’s Sandra Belcher and at this year’s elections he stood again but lost to Labour’s Paddy Brown.