Real Housewives Of Cheshire star found guilty of assaulting Sinitta
Real Housewives Of Cheshire star Dawn Ward has been found guilty of assaulting pop singer Sinitta.
Ward, 43, who is married to former footballer Ashley Ward, was found guilty of one count of common assault after a two-day hearing at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court.
The charge stemmed from an April 2015 lunch meeting arranged by the So Macho singer at a restaurant in Belgravia to try and clear the air between them.
It was over some gossip about a friend who had an affair.
Sinitta Malone, who had previously told the court that she was "shocked" and "humiliated" after being shoved and having a napkin thrown at her, later told police "my cheek was sore and bruised".
Ward stood quietly in the dock as District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe told her that she would be bound over in the sum of £500 for three months and ordered her to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
No costs were awarded.
The judge said: "I am going to deal with it quite unusually because I think this quite frankly is, to use an old-fashioned phrase, 'a storm in a teacup'."
She said the fact that the court "has had to spend two days (hearing this case) and have a (police) officer here for two days is a nonsense".
In finding Ward guilty, the judge said: "I am satisfied so that I am sure that Ms Ward prodded or poked Ms Malone. It was an assault by beating. It was unlawful - on that alone I find the case proved."
The judge also asked the police to investigate whether Sinitta may face a possible contempt of court charge for tweeting about the case while it was still ongoing.
The judge told the officer in court: "I will ask you to investigate and I would be grateful if I could be informed should there be a prosecution of contempt."
She said it was "particularly concerning because we were part heard" but that it would not have influenced the outcome.
The judge told the court: "It is a potentially serious matter which I cannot overlook as the cut and thrust of an ordinary day."
The judge said she felt that Sinitta was not a credible witness but that Ward had been a "truthful witness".
She noted that Ward had felt she was going to a meeting that would be "amicable - clearly she was wrong".
She added: "It got heated and Ms Ward was provoked by Ms Malone."
The judge said she accepted Ward's claim that the shove was her way of trying to get Ms Malone's attention.
Things turned nasty when Ward and Sinitta started to talk about the controversy which had brought them and a group of girlfriends to the meeting at the Salmontini restaurant in April last year.
Ward said she thought they would have a two-minute conversation, sort things out about the gossip and then would be able to enjoy lunch.
Tensions rose when Sinitta told a "blatant lie and started screaming that Ward was a liar, f*****g liar and stopped her from speaking", Ward told the court.
Sinitta, a friend of entertainment mogul Simon Cowell, then suggested that Ward's husband had cheated on her.
Ward said she hit back by calling Sinitta a "has-been" one-hit wonder who was "hanging on" to Simon Cowell's coattails.
After the ruling, Ward said: "I am disappointed the court has found a prod to Sinitta's shoulder to amount to the lowest form of common assault.
"I am however delighted that the court found me to be a truthful witness and rejected Sinitta's complaint that I punched her and tried to glass her.
"They were disgraceful allegations which were untrue and the court did not accept her evidence."
Ward said she is happily married and that she is now going home to spend some quality time with her husband and her four children.