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Former Barnet mayor Brian Coleman has denied assaulting a café owner who tried to photograph his parked car before driving off with her in the front passenger seat.

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Cllr Coleman, a Conservative councillor for Totteridge ward, spoke only to confirm his name and plead not guilty to charges of assault by beating and driving without due care and attention at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court yesterday morning.

The charges relate to an incident involving café owner Helen Michael in High Road, Finchley, on September 20.

On the day of the incident, the court heard Mrs Michael was working in Café Buzz, in High Road, when she noticed Cllr Coleman parking in a restricted area.

She came out of the café and started taking photos of Cllr Coleman with her camera phone at which point he is alleged to have grabbed Mrs Michael’s hands and forced her back.

The court heard Mr Coleman then got back into his car and attempted to flee as Mrs Michael jumped into the front passenger seat, while another man opened a rear door.

Cllr Coleman subsequently clipped a parked van and was later arrested by police.

Nigel Richardson, representing Cllr Coleman, claimed that his client was attacked by Mrs Michael as he raised his hands to hide his face from her camera phone.

He added that Cllr Coleman was “in fear for his personal safety” when Mrs Michael and another man opened the doors to his car as he tried to drive away.

Cllr Coleman, wearing a pin stripe suit and light blue tie, was released on unconditional bail ahead of a four-hour trial scheduled to take place at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on February 6.

District judge Wright concluded the hearing by telling Mr Coleman: “I’m sure I don’t need to remind you it is most unadvisable for you to contact Mrs Michael or visit Café Buzz, I’m sure you have got no desire to do so.”

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