A dodgy TV aerial salesman who attacked BBC Watchdog’s Matt Allwright by pouring a “protein drink” over him has been ordered to pay the presenter £50 compensation.
Mark Smith, 42, drenched Mr Allwright in liquid – which he first believed was urine – as he left a Small Claims Court on September 11 last year.
The bizarre incident was captured by a camera crew and featured on the programme which aired on BBC1 on September 26.
On Thursday Smith pleaded guilty to one count of assault by beating when he appeared at Telford Magistrates Court.
He was slapped with a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay the 42-year-old presenter, who did not attend court, £50 compensation.
The court heard Smith’s TV aerial business had collapsed after the clip of the confrontation went viral on the internet.
Chairman of the bench David Gibbons told Smith: “We have decided this is in the lower scale of this offence.
“We are sentencing you to a conditional discharge lasting for two years for the offence of assault by beating.
“You are not being punished today, however should you commit an offence in the next two years you may be punished for this offence as well as the new one.
“We make an order for #50 victim compensation to be paid to Mr Allwright of the BBC.
“We are sorry to hear of your problems, but you committed the offence you pleaded guilty to therefore we must punish you.”
Footage from the Rogue Traders segment of Watchdog was played to the court showing Smith being approached by Mr Allwright while leaving Redditch County Court.
Smith turned and emptied a bottle of liquid over Mr Allwright before a heated argument ensued as Smith was quizzed about ripping off past customers.
In the film, Mr Allwright is heard asking Smith if the yellow liquid was urine but the court heard it was in fact a “protein drink”.
Mike Phillips, prosecuting, said: “The defendant was approached at around 4.30pm on 11 September last year when he left the court by Mr Allwright and a camera crew filming him.
“Mr Smith turned and tipped a bottle of liquid over Mr Allwright’s face, the bottle was a Volvic mineral water bottle.
“By using the bottle this constitutes an application of force and therefore constitutes battery.
“The defence inform me that the liquid was a protein drink.”
Sharon Bahia, defending, told the court Smith, who has one previous conviction for ABH in 1989, had lost his business as result of the incident.
She said: “Mr Smith had left the small claims court after a matter relating to several clients amounting to just £700 that had been dealt with without a court order.
“It was a momentary lapse of judgement that was completely out of character.
“The footage shows that Mr Allwright continued to follow my client while the defendant asked him politely to step away from his car.
“The incident only ended when Mr Allwright’s own cameraman pulled him away.
“Since the incident was shown on TV and appeared on YouTube the show got a lot of good publicity from the event, but by client has lost everything because of this.
“He has no longer been allowed to advertise in local newspapers leading to a drop in trade, the business he used to run bringing in a significant amount of money no longer has any work.
“He used to employ upwards of 30 people but he can no longer give them any employment.
“He has been treated for depression by his GP after losing the business he worked 20 years to build up.
“He has brought embarrassment on his family for which he is deeply remorseful.
“His one previous offence was when he was in his teens for which he received an absolute discharge, so we feel he can be considered a man of good character.”
Smith, from Bromsgrove, Worcs., who cried as his defence told the court of his business collapse, was also ordered to pay #100 costs.
He refused to comment outside court.