Diary: Crawford takes direct approach to silencing loud Clegg (allegedly)

It looks as if the already battered British taxpayer is going to be the biggest loser in the punch-up that brought a tempestuous end to last year's Direct Marketing Awards. As well-lubricated guests left to flag down late-night cabs, they found all hell breaking loose in the foyer of Grosvenor House.

The ruckus began when the team from Chemistry Communications began boasting about an award gained for their Yellow Pages campaign. It ended with the Chemistry art director Timothy Clegg going to hospital to have his split nose stitched up and Shaun Crawford, one of the judges, having to give his verdict on events to the local constabulary.

Last week, the sequel was played out at Southwark Crown Court when Crawford, who works for the Chelmsford-based packaging company DMS, denied committing actual bodily harm.

Alas, it was all to no avail. After a two-day hearing, the jury failed to reach a verdict, raising the possibility of a retrial when m'learned friends return to court next Friday.

The court was told how Clegg and the rest of the Chemistry team, having toasted their victory with Champagne and several bottles of wine, joked about wearing golden cloaks to work the next day.

"You're not as smart as you think you are," Crawford is alleged to have shouted before being told to go forth and multiply. He is then alleged to have grabbed the Chemistry copywriter Jake Dearlove by the lapels.

Clegg says he stepped in to keep the peace. "I was worried we were going to be thrown out. And we were with the client," he said. But Crawford lunged at him, knocking him to the floor." Crawford claimed he had acted only in self-defence.

Campaign's tame legal eagle reckons the scrap has already cost taxpayers thousands of pounds, more if it goes to a retrial.

Meanwhile, Lin McCarthy, the chairman of this year's DMA awards committee, is getting potential entrants fired up in advance of this year's event.

"We're expecting great things from you," she writes. Just as long as it's only the creative work that packs a punch.


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