April 23, 2010

BNP council candidate denies assault charges

A BNP council candidate is due to appear in court days before the May 6 local elections charged with attacking two women at East Croydon train station.

Dave Clarke, who hopes to win a seat in the Heathfield ward, is accused of punching and shoving the two women, who were anti-fascist protesters, after spotting them handing out anti-BNP leaflets. The 41-year-old is also charged with another two counts of assault in relation to the alleged scuffle.

Clarke, of Dunley Drive, New Addington, has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which relate to the alleged incident on May 27 last year. He will face trial just eight days before the local elections.

Clarke is one of 13 candidates the party is putting forward in the local elections for Croydon and Sutton.

Clarke's agent Charlotte Lewis told the Advertiser he had pushed leaflets out of the protesters' hands but maintains he did not hit anyone. She said: "Dave completely denies these allegations and, although as a party we have little confidence in the British justice system, he did not assault these people. These types of people [the alleged victims] are against the BNP. Dave just introduced himself to them and did throw their leaflets into the street but if anything they pushed him. He is adamant that he had nothing to do with this. The Crown Prosecution Service is politically motivated and I am sure if it was the other way round there would not be a prosecution."

Prospective parliamentary candidate for Wallington and Carshalton at the general election, Miss Lewis hit the headlines two weeks ago when pictures of her dressed in a burkha and fishneck stockings clutching an alcopop emerged. She explained that Clarke's reluctance to speak to the Advertiser directly was because of his "shy and retiring nature".

Clarke, whose brother John is also running as a council candidate in Fieldway, denied four counts of assault by beating when he appeared at Croydon Magistrates' Court on April 7. He will face trial next Wednesday.

Croydon Advertiser

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