Saturday, December 05, 2009
A WELL-KNOWN councillor and former leader in Sheffield's war on crime has been arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs.
Sheffield councillor Mazher Iqbal, a prominent member of the city council's Labour shadow cabinet, was one of two men arrested in the Handsworth area on suspicion of possessing a controlled drug.
He has been released on police bail while officers carry out further investigations.
As an advisor for community safety before his party lost control of the council last May, Coun Iqbal was responsible for formulating the council's approach to problems with drugs, violence and other crime.
The former chair of the Darnall forum, Coun Iqbal is a well-known figure in Darnall and Attercliffe, particularly among his ward's large Asian population.
He was first elected as a councillor in 2006 with 55 per cent of his ward's vote and is known as a hard-working campaigning councillor.
A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said: "Just before midnight on Friday, November 20, two Sheffield men in their 30s were arrested in the Handsworth area of Sheffield, on suspicion of possession of a controlled drug.
"Both males are currently on police bail pending further inquiries."
When he was approached by The Star Coun Iqbal declined to comment. Labour group leader Jan Wilson also refused to comment. A spokesman for Yorkshire and the Humber Labour Party said: "As a party we do not comment on ongoing police investigations.
He added: "We would expect any member to assist the police if called upon to do so."
Two years ago Coun Iqbal was one of five men mistakenly arrested on suspicion of robbery while leafleting for Labour MP Clive Betts.
Coun Iqbal said it was a case of mistaken identity, and the commander of South Yorkshire Police later publicly apologised.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Former £127,000-a-year deputy mayor Ian Clement takes a break from painting a lavatory block wearing a “community payback” jacket.
The Standard's exclusive pictures show Boris Johnson's former right-hand man for the first time since he was convicted of fraud over his City Hall expenses.
Five months ago Clement, 44, was one of the most powerful political figures in London. He flew around the world helping plan the 2012 Olympics and represented the capital at the 9/11 memorial service in New York.
But in a sharp fall from grace, he is now completing 100 hours of community service and living with a suspended 12-week prison sentence, a 9pm curfew and an electronic tag.
Unemployed, Clement's 27-year political career is over. He is pictured helping refurbish the lavatories and changing rooms at King George's playing fields in Sidcup, Kent.
He spent more than an hour labouring outside with a handful of other offenders on community service, who were taken to the grounds by bus.
A friend today said Clement is “totally destroyed” by the conviction.
Clement, a former Bexley councillor, pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud by false representation last month after using his City Hall credit card to entertain his girlfriend and another woman. Two other charges were ordered to lie on the court file. He was given a corporate card to cover any “exceptional” expenditure while abroad on City Hall business.
But he used it to pay for two meals with 23-year-old Claire Dowson — for whom he left the mother of his son — and a dinner with PR assistant Joanna Laban. He lied and said he had dined with Tory council leaders. The three meals cost £156.70.
Clement was first suspected of impropriety last November when he started sending cheques to City Hall to cover personal spending he had made on his work credit card. He initially used it to upgrade tickets for himself and a colleague on a flight to the Beijing Olympics. Clement then ignored a series of warnings and continued to use the card for more than £2,300 of personal spending, racking up bills in excess of £7,000.
His spending included £535 of work to his Jaguar and two £100-plus meals at Le Pont De La Tour restaurant at London Bridge, all of which he has since repaid.
When the spending was revealed, the Mayor initially decided his friend had made an error of judgment but, following warnings, demanded his resignation on 22 June. The Greater London Authority referred the matter to the police two days later.
Sentencing Clement, Judge Quentin Purdy said he had “flagrantly and arrogantly” misused taxpayers' money.
He told Clement he had come “very close indeed” to being sent to prison. “You knew full well what you were doing was dishonest and it is your fault and your fault entirely,” the judge said.
Clement, a former postman from Crayford, publicly apologised to Mr Johnson outside Westminster magistrates' court, saying he was “truly sorry”. He admitted he had “let down” taxpayers and colleagues.
Last month Clement's lawyer, Jim Sturman, QC, said his client was “innately a good man” and that “his life is ruined and he has to rebuild it, but he accepts it is his fault”.
A close friend of Clement today said he is completing his punishment without complaint but believes his behaviour was not as bad as some of the expenses claims by MPs that are being investigated.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Councillor Bertha Joseph has been suspended as a councillor for six months following a decision last night (13 Oct 09) by Brent Council's Standards Committee.
The committee met to consider allegations of breaches of the Councillor Code of Conduct by Councillor Joseph. The committee found that Councillor Joseph failed to register within 28 days receipt of gifts of cash from two local businesses amounting to £900 and recommended that Councillor Joseph pay the sum of £900 to the current Mayor's charity. The committee also found that Councillor Joseph brought her office into disrepute and used her position as Mayor to gain an advantage for herself by obtaining sponsorship in the context of the Mayor's Charity Ball which she used to buy clothes for her personal use.
The hearing was held in public but Councillor Joseph did not attend.
The effect of the suspension is that Councillor Joseph will not be able to perform council duties until the end of the suspension period. This includes constituency work and any formal business of the council.
Councillor Joseph has a right to apply to the Adjudication Panel for permission to appeal the decision.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Sandwell Council leader Bill Thomas has quit after being charged by police with theft.
Coun Thomas, aged 69, resigned as council leader today, although he remains a councillor. He was one of the West Midlands’ longest serving council leaders.
Deputy Labour group leader Steve Elking has taken over the task of leading the council.
Details of the alleged offence are unclear, but Sandwell Council chief executive Dr Allison Fraser confirmed that Coun Thomas had decided to stand down.
Dr Fraser said: “The council has been notified that a 69-year-old man has been charged with theft.
“We have been advised by police that this is a personal matter. The council has not been approached by police about their investigation.”
Coun Thomas’s decision to quit was reported to shocked colleagues at a Sandwell cabinet meeting this morning.
Coun Eling said: “Coun Thomas’s resignation is for reasons which are wholly unconnected with the council and his role here.
“For us it is business as usual. We have recently strengthened the leadership team by appointing a third deputy.
“I as leader and councillors Pauline Hinton and Darren Cooper as deputies are available to ensure council business goes ahead smoothly.”
Former Sandwell Council leader Bill Thomas today admitted a charge of theft as he appeared in court.
Magistrates were told three cheques worth a total of £1,300 had been paid out from a NatWest bank account belonging to the 69-year-old to close friend Gareth Hall between April 21 and 24 last year .
Thomas later reported to the bank that he did not know Hall and the cash was reimbursed, but following his arrest Thomas admitted to police he had known Hall for six years.
The Labour councillor and former headteacher, who was arrested last month and resigned immediately as council leader, had originally vowed to fight the charges before pleading guilty today.
He was handed a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay back the £1,300 in compensation and costs of £145.
The court was also told Thomas, of Viking Rise, Rowley Regis, was stepping down from his role as councillor for the Rowley ward.
Gareth Hall, aged 28, also of Viking Rise, pleaded guilty at Sutton Coldfield magistrates today to fraud by false representation. He admitted using Thomas’ credit card nine times without his knowledge as well as writing cheques belonging to Thomas out to himself.
The case against Hall was adjourned until December 4. He was granted bail.
Thomas refused to comment after the case.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Coun Marcia Watson, of Bilborough ward, has been accused of assaulting Fiona Kirlew, 28, who is the mother of Coun Watson's grandson.
Police arrested Jorael and Shimone Thomas at the same time. The Evening Post understands they are Coun Watson's children and the arrests followed a conversation about Coun Watson's grandchild's comfort blanket.
It is the second arrest of a city councillor to be revealed by the Evening Post this week. The other was Councillor Hassan Ahmed.
The allegations against Coun Watson relate to an incident which took place at about 9.30pm on October 28 outside her home in Nuthall Road.
Ms Kirlew, of Lenton Boulevard, who has known Coun Watson for about 10 years, is understood to have been left with cuts and bruises after the incident. She was treated by paramedics.
Coun Watson has refused to comment.
A police spokesman said: "Two women, aged 47 and 25, and a man aged 22 were arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm. All have been granted police bail, pending further inquiries, until December 5."A spokesman for Nottingham City Council said they were not in a position to comment. i
Friday, November 06, 2009
Councillor Andy Matchet was hosting the Lord Mayor's Ball in Coventry last year when he approached two women and told one: ''I'd like to f*** you''.
Cllr Matchet — who was wearing his ceremonial gold chains at the time — also talked about having orgasms and boasted about losing his virginity.
The 57-year-old, of Coventry, admits downing wine and cocktails and claims he can only remember ''some aspects'' of the evening.
He said: ''I am an extremely argumentative person. It is the sort of comment I would have made as part of an argument about radical feminism.
"I would have said it argumentatively, not invitationally. "I'd had several glasses of wine and was on medication because of my bad back, including paracetemol, Codeine, Ibuprofen and dodo tablets, an over the counter low level amphetamine."
The outburst came during a conversation between the then Lord Mayor, the council's equality and diversity policy officer Laura Slegg, and a third woman named only as 'Miss X'.
Laura, 27, told the council's standard's committee: ''He asked how old she was and he said how old he was.
"He twice said he'd like to f*** her and twice asked if she'd like to f*** him. The three of us had been talking about orgasms and he told us how old he was when he lost his virginity."
Councillor Matchet is a former communist
UPDATE 20 November 2009
Unfortunately, the image posted with this report was of the wrong Mayor and as now been removed. The Green Arrow apologies for misleading his readers and causing distress to the Mayor whose image was used.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
A LEADING city councillor[Labour] has been arrested on suspicion of assault and sexual assault.
Coun Hassan Ahmed, 58, who is the council's portfolio holder for employment and skills, is accused of assaulting a 47-year-old woman who was a teacher at a college in the Notts area.
The offence is alleged to have occurred late at night in July.
Coun Ahmed has denied the allegation.
A spokesman for Notts Police said: "Nottinghamshire Police arrested a 58-year-old man on suspicion of committing common assault and sexual assault on July 29.
"The man was released on bail pending further inquiries and the matter is still very much under investigation."
Coun Ahmed took up his position as portfolio holder in May. He has been bailed to report to the police on November 19.
A statement released on Coun Ahmed's behalf yesterday said: "Mr Hassan Ahmed vehemently denies the allegation. Mr Ahmed believes the allegation to be false, without substance nor credibility. Mr Ahmed is fully cooperating with the police investigation."
Nottingham City Council said it was a police matter and declined to comment.
Monday, September 28, 2009
A former Portsmouth city councillor has been jailed for a year after being found guilty of accepting a bribe.
Jeremy Baker, 47, from Cosham, was convicted of accepting £500 for making sure a planning decision for a property developer got through.
A secret film of the incident was shown to jurors at Winchester Crown Court during Baker's trial.
He was convicted of a corruption charge but cleared of another. They related to his time on the planning committee.
Estate agent David Maunder made the recording in an agreement with a property developer who felt he was poorly treated by planners, jurors were told.
The developer felt aggrieved about the planning committee's dealings over his three properties in London Road, St Helens Parade and Kingston Parade, the court heard.
On one occasion, Mr Maunder said to Baker, "right I've got a little something for you" before counting £500 out on the table, jurors were told.
Baker, who was cleared of taking a £250 bribe, was jailed for a year on Thursday.
Monday, September 21, 2009
A FORMER West Lindsey councillor and Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate appeared in court on Thursday, to deny a charge of sexual assault.
Dr Adrian Heath, a dentist, is alleged to have touched a woman's breasts during an incident on 13th August last year.
The 43-year-old former councillor entered a not guilty plea during a short hearing at Lincoln Crown Court.
Dr Heath fought the Gainsborough constituency for the Liberal Democrats in the 2005 General Election, polling over 12,000 votes, second to sitting Conservative MP Edward Leigh.
He was also a West Lindsey councillor for Cherry Willingham and Reepham, and worked at the Oasis Dental Care practice in Lincoln, before moving to the Genesis Dental Care practice in Gainsborough in April last year.
Judge Michael Heath agreed to an application for Dr Heath's trial to be moved out of Lincolnshire because he is so well known in the county.
Dr Heath, of Roseberry Avenue, Lincoln, was granted bail on condition that he does not contact the complainant.
UPDATE 21 Sep 2009
A dentist who once ran for Parliament groped three patients while supposedly checking their glands, a court was told yesterday.
Dr Adrian Heath, 43, touched the women in the examination chair at his surgery in a way that had 'no clinical justification', a jury heard.
He allegedly told one of them he needed to compare her breasts and even asked her to remove her trousers after warning: 'This is serious.'
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
CONTROVERSIAL former Lye councillor Abdul Qadus has been awarded £8,320 after being made redundant from his job in sales without pay.
Abdul, of Brook Road, Oldswinford, who lost his Dudley Council seat back in 2002 after he was convicted and jailed for passport fraud, claimed he was owed wages and left without redundancy pay after losing his job as a regional sales supervisor at Pareto Marketing Ltd due to financial cutbacks.
The former Tory councillor, who tried to make a comeback in last year’s local elections, told a Birmingham Employment Tribunal hearing he had been employed for six years promoting credit cards at the firm.
The company, which has a branch at Wrexham and a head office in Belfast, failed to attend the hearing - at which Mr Qadus made compensation claims for redundancy pay, unpaid wages, notice, holiday pay and expenses.
Tribunal chairman John Crump rejected a claim for paternity pay because it had not been included on the claim form.
But he awarded Mr Qadus £2,292 in unpaid wages, £1,550 notice pay and more than £3,000 redundancy money.
Donna Causer, a former regional sales employee with the firm, also attended the hearing and said she was waiting to make similar claims against the firm.
Abdul did not wish to comment after the hearing.
Carmarthen Labour councillor Marc Scaife, who has put his name forward for selection as the party’s parliamentary candidate in Carmarthen East & Dinefwr, left on Wednesday for a controversial tour of Libya with Burry Port Town Band.
The band have been criticised for continuing with the tour – part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi coming to power – after the release last week of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing.
In the phone message, a man who identifies himself as Marc Scaife, uses highly offensive language to berate a 19-year-old member of the band who pulled out of the Libyan tour at a late stage, creating a perceived security problem.
The caller is heard saying: “Listen very f****** carefully. You are a f****** idiot...There’s a massive security risk because of you. Do you realise what’s actually going on? Is anything going on in your tiny little mind?
“We are supposed to be playing in front of some of the biggest world leaders out there. Security is 100% tight and it includes the British Royal Family.
“I expect you to sort this f****** thing out. You go up there, you sort it out or expect a call from MI5. All right?
“I’ve had some serious explaining to do because of your irresponsible actions. Call me back as soon as you get this f****** message or I’ll be driving over to your parents’ house tonight to speak to them.
“Wise up, s***head.”
The band member who pulled out of the trip posted the audio tape of the phone call on YouTube. Subsequent messages on the site in the name of Mr Scaife said: “You forgot to tell everybody that you withdrew from the tour on Saturday with just four days to go, leaving us with a gap to fill. Your irresponsibility beggars belief. I’m surprised that you are happy to broadcast this fact.
“I don’t regret losing my temper with you – you deserved it. I stick to my opinions given in the recorded message. I suggest you listen to the actual words used and take note.
“I suspect you are going to get many similar confrontations from others in the future due to your ineptitude. I suggest you abandon your cry-baby ‘I’m just 19’ approach and act like a man – learn to act responsibly!”
The band member responds, saying: “I have not tried to adopt any cry-baby approach. I am merely pointing out that if I as a teenager can try to act in a mature and civilised manner to sort things out, there is something seriously wrong when a man over twice my age resorts to abusive and childlike rants. Indeed displaying your message on YouTube may be considered immature, but I am only trying to make people aware of the vile and foul attitude I have been dealing with.”
Explaining his position in another posting, the band member said: “I had to withdraw from the trip to Libya due to working commitments and the prospect of losing my job, something I was unwilling to risk in the current economic climate.
“I warned Marc Scaife this might be the case over a week ago and confirmed this on Friday. I have acknowledged the inconvenience this could cause and have been most apologetic.”
It is understood that the band member was one of a number of musicians recruited to go to Libya because long-standing members were unavailable.
A Welsh Labour spokesman said: “The party disassociates itself from the foul and abusive language used in this telephone message. We will be contacting Mr Scaife in order to verify the authenticity of the message and to seek an explanation for this situation.
“The matter concerned is not a Welsh Labour event over which the party has any control. This is not the behaviour we would expect of any elected representative of Welsh Labour.”
Mr Scaife had last night not responded to a detailed message left on his mobile phone by the Western Mail.
According to the Burry Port Town Band’s website, Mr Scaife is 41 and plays solo trombone. He has previously played with the Suffolk Fire Service, Colchester, Crwbin and Clacton brass bands. His occupation is listed as “real estate, Bulgaria”, although it is understood that he works as a relief chef.
A hearing has found the former deputy council leader of Somerset County Council guilty of two counts of breaching codes of conduct.
The two-year investigation looked into dozens of complaints about the behaviour of Liberal Democrat councillor Paul Buchanan.
Mr Buchanan has been disqualified from being a councillor for two years.
The tribunal heard he made written allegations of serious misconduct against chief executive Alan Jones.
'Act of revenge'
On Wednesday the panel ruled Mr Buchanan had "brought the office of [the] member into disrepute" and "used his position as a member to confer a disadvantage on Mr Jones". He was disqualified from local government for two years.
Panel chairman David Laverick said the respondent "was motivated by a desire to cause harm to the chief executive".
Mr Laverick said: "This is a case of revenge rather than intimidation. It was an act of revenge."
Speaking after the tribunal Mr Buchanan said he was "very disappointed" at the overall adjudication panel's findings.
He said: "I'm pleased my case that I clearly didn't seek to intimidate Mr Jones was upheld.
"[But] I'm disappointed the rest of the charges weren't dropped and the panel found, in their view, my making a formal complaint about the chief executive constituted an attempt to cause him a disservice or some harm."
This is a very clear decision and we hope this will end the matter once and for all
Somerset County Council statement
The row had split the council chamber. Mr Buchanan had been thrown out of the Liberal Democrat group, although some members had backed him saying the disciplinary process was "excessive".
Former Liberal Democrat councillor Jim Mochnacz it should not have come to such a conclusion.
He said: "It should have been mediated at a much lower level. It says something about one, if not two of the characters."
In a statement Somerset County Council said: "We are pleased that everyone who wanted to has had the opportunity to make their case to an independent tribunal.
"This is a very clear decision and we hope this will end the matter once and for all. Paul Buchanan chose not to stand for re-election in June and no longer has any connection with Somerset County Council.
"We will not make any further comment until we have seen the full findings from the panel."
Stewart Brown, 60, admitted 21 offences of possessing indecent images of children and one of distributing pictures.
At Leeds Crown Court today he was given a nine-month prison sentence which was suspended for two years.
In 2006 he was mayor of Hebden Royd in West Yorkshire and was also a Labour councillor on Calderdale Council, the court heard.
At a hearing in July, Brown, of Nutclough, Hebden Bridge, admitted all the charges, some of which were said to relate to images of girls as young as three.
A FORMER councillor who dialled 999 claiming he was attacked in a wheelclamping row says police refused to respond - then arrested HIM when he called one of them a homosexual.
Noel O'Brien, 58, a former Labour councillor, rang police after going to reclaim his clamped car.
He claims he was assaulted by staff at the compound in Ardwick who hit him on the head with an extendable baton. The claim is denied by bosses at the company, NCP Services.
After he left the pound, Mr O'Brien made a number of calls to police and admits he became frustrated when they did not respond immediately and that he called one police operator `a homosexual'.
Noel O'Brien, from Haslingden, Rossendale, said he made the comment in frustration. He said the person who answered the phone sounded like the late Charles Hawtrey, the actor who played camp characters in the Carry On films.
The police did arrive and officers arrested him on suspicion of a public order offence because of his comment to the police operator.
Mr O'Brien said later: "Unfortunately in my frustration I made an improper remark and when the police did come they arrested me for making an alleged homophobic remark."
A spokesman for Manchester Council - NCP Services acts on their behalf - denied the assault allegation.
He said: "Nobody at the pound had any sort of weapon. We don't condone any sort of violence. No-one who works there would have an extendable cosh." He said it was Mr O'Brien who attacked staff who had to defend themselves by pushing him away - something Mr O'Brien describes as 'ridiculous'.
Tim Cowen, of NCP Services, said: "This was a frightening incident for our staff and we are very grateful for the prompt police response."
Police confirmed they were investigating Mr O'Brien's allegation of assault and also an allegation that he made an homophobic comment.
Mr O'Brien was released on police bail pending further inquiries and is due to return to a police station on January 14.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
A SENIOR Midland Conservative councillor was today appearing in court charged with sexual assault.
Coun Ian Hillas, who represents Castle Bromwich ward on Solihull Borough Council, was appearing before Warley Magistrates. He was charged with sexual assault on a woman after being arrested by police.
The 42-year-old, pictured, from Oakwood Croft, Solihull, is a cabinet member for economic development and regeneration and the former deputy leader of Solihull Council.
A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said: “I can confirm a 42-year-old man from Solihull was arrested on Monday morning on suspicion of sexual assault.
“He is appearing before Warley Magistrates court today charged with sexual assault.”
Coun Hillas works in financial services and is listed as a director of East Birmingham and North Solihull Regeneration Zone and also for Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Partnership.
He was elected on to Solihull Council in June 2004 and is not due for re-election until May 2011.
The councillor plays a major part in the running of services in Solihull including sitting on the panel which appoints the director of children’s services, along with being heavily involved with the Richard Knight Charity, which maintains upkeep of the St Mary and St Margaret Parish Church in Castle Bromwich.
A Solihull Council spokeswoman refused to comment on the arrest and what procedures took place if a councillor was charged with any offences.
A senior Solihull councillor will face trial on a charge of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl.
Coun Ian Hillas, 42, a former deputy leader of Solihull Borough Council, appeared at Warley Magistrates’ Court yesterday and was granted conditional bail. He was committed for trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court and will firstly face a plea and directions hearing on September 1.
Hillas, of Oakwood Croft, Solihull, who represents Castle Bromwich for the Conservatives on Solihull Council, has pleaded not guilty to one charge of a sexual assault in Cradley Heath.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Married step-dad David Kirton, 55, was remanded in custody by magistrates after being arrested at the weekend following complaints from the alleged victim.
Police confirmed: "A 55-year-old man has been remanded in custody prior to appearance at crown court.
"He was charged with offences under the Sexual Offences Act, including rape and sexual assault."
Kirton, a councillor in Harlow, Essex, is believed to have recently left the home he shares with his wife Denise, 55, and moved to Stevenage, Herts.
A council spokesman refused to comment and the borough's Tory leader was unavailable last night. Kirton will appear at Chelmsford crown court on October 21.
UPDATE 9 June 2009
A 55-YEAR-OLD former Conservative councillor, who became "infatuated" with a 13-year-old girl and sexually assaulted her was jailed for eight years today (Monday).
David Kirton, 55, formerly of Longbanks, Harlow, Essex, later of Stevenage, also admitted committing two other sexual offences on the girl during an eight-month period.
Kirton, who won his seat in the Staple Tye ward at the local elections in May last year but has since been suspended, sent texts and spoke to her on MSN telling her among other things: "Babe - you're a gorgeous woman."
Fully Story and Source
Saturday, May 23, 2009
A FORMER Labour councillor is facing jail for assaulting a young woman traffic warden.
Noel O'Brien shoved Joanne Subocz and threw her hat on the road after she caught him parking illegally in Manchester city centre.
O'Brien, 58, shouted a torrent of racist abuse at Polish-born Miss Subocz , telling her 'go back to your own country, we don't want you here'.
Miss Subocz said the incident left her shocked and for weeks she was afraid to go back on the streets.
District judge Paul Richardson, sitting at Manchester magistrates' court, convicted O'Brien of racially aggravated assault and bailed him for reports.
He told O'Brien: "This was an unpleasant piece of behaviour on a woman from another country doing her public duty. She was assaulted and bullied in a nasty fashion.
"If I don't get a favourable report on you I will have no option but to impose a custodial sentence."
Quote - "It left me shaking, it was a horrible experience."
Miss Subocz said O'Brien, a former councillor in Haslingden, Rossendale, swore and pushed her after he parked on a suspended bay in St Mary's Parsonage last January.
She said: "It left me shaking, it was a horrible experience."
Four witnesses told how O'Brien rounded on the warden and screamed abuse. Jennifer Lynch said he was agitated and aggressive.
"He charged towards her like a bull," she said.
O'Brien, of Mercer Crescent, Haslingden, had denied the charge but didn't give evidence in his defence. He refused to recognise the court after the judge said he could not cross-examine civilian witnesses.
A previous bench appointed a lawyer on O'Brien's behalf to test the evidence, avoid unnecessary distress to witnesses and ensure the trial ran efficiently.
O'Brien accused the judge of denying him his civil right. He said: "I'm taking no further part in the proceedings. This is a joke - it's a pantomime."
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Cllr Vijay Shah, Wembley Central ward, was arrested at his home in Clayton Avenue, Wembley, on March 8 by officers from Hertfordshire Police.
A Hertfordshire Police spokeswoman said: "A 44-year-old man from Wembley has been arrested on suspicion of fraud by abuse of position.
"He was arrested on March 8 by officers from Hertfordshire Police. He has been bailed by Police until 10 of September, to return to Watford Police Station."
The Times understands that Mr Shah was suspended by the Liberal Democrat party on Saturday May 11 by party leader Paul Lorber.
For full story see this week's Times
UPDATE OCT 22 08
A Brent Councillor has been charged with fraud after a seven month police investigation.
Councillor Vijay Shah was arrsted in March this year in relation to his role as an accountant at EJ Masters delivery company, in Kings Langley, Herfordshire.
He was charged with fraud by Hertfordshire Police on Monday, and has been bailed to appear at West Herts Magistrates Court on November 7.
Mr Shah, of Clayton Avenue, Wembley, sits as an independent councillor after being thrown out of the Liberal Democrat Party shortly after his arrest.Source
UPDATE 13 May
A former Liberal Democrat councillor has been jailed for 12 months for stealing £55,000 from the company in Hertfordshire that employed him.
Vijay Shah, of Clayton Avenue, Wembley, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of fraud at delivery company EJ Masters.
Shah, 45, continued to sit as an Independent for Wembley Central on Brent Council after his arrest, St Albans Crown Court was told.
His deception was uncovered when he lost his job over another matter.
Shah gave a false reference to a woman from India who had applied for a job, the court heard.
A new accountant was hired and Shah's fraud was discovered.
Sentencing him, Judge Simon Carr said: "Responsibility comes with public office.
"Those who take public office have incurred a responsibility to ensure they are above reproach. You singularly failed to do this."
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
A British Euro MP was last night charged with fiddling thousands of pounds of taxpayer-funded expenses.
Former UKIP politician Tom Wise is accused of false accounting and money laundering following accusations that he fiddled his generous Brussels staff allowances.
He is thought to be the first MEP to face criminal charges over the use of Parliamentary perks.
Wise, 60, a former policeman, was arrested in June last year after it was revealed that he had allegedly siphoned off nearly £40,000 of public money by claiming it was for a researcher’s salary.
Detectives investigated after it was claimed Wise only passed on some of the cash and banked the rest. He allegedly spent £6,500 on a Peugeot 406.
He was alleged to have pretended that his own bank account was that of his then researcher Lindsay Jenkins which is against EU rules.
He is alleged to have channelled £39,100 into it, from which he paid Jenkins £13,555.
Jenkins, 62, was also charged with one count of false accounting and one count of money laundering.
Wise and Jenkins were jointly charged following a nine-month police probe. They pair were released on bail and will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court next Monday.
The £62,000-a-year MEP faces a maximum 14 years in jail if found guilty of money laundering. The maximum term for false accounting is seven years.
Wise now sits as an independent MEP for East Anglia after being dismissed from the Rightwing party.
News of the criminal charges will once again turn the spotlight on the Brussels gravy train.
Wise’s lawyer, Stephen Welfare, said: ‘Mr Wise denies any intent to deceive or any unlawful wrongdoing whatsoever and he will be fighting the allegations in court.’
He said neither Wise nor his family had profited and said there had been no loss to the European Parliament.
He added: ‘It is frankly scandalous that Mr Wise has been charged with criminal offences.’
Sunday, April 19, 2009
A TEACHER appears before magistrates charged with rape and drugs offences.
Huw Elystan Davies, of Ewenny Road, Bridgend, also a town councillor in the area, had his case committed to Crown Court for trial.
The 37-year-old faces charges of rape, possessing cocaine and supplying cocaine at his home between November 16 and 17 last year.
He was released on conditional bail until his appearance at Cardiff Crown Court tomorrow.
Davies is head of Welsh at Brynteg Comprehensive School, Bridgend.
Friday, April 17, 2009
He has been ordered to return to Wigan Police Station on Monday, April 14, pending further inquiries.
Mr Shaw stood down from the council, resigning his position on the Metro's licensing and regulation committees as well as Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority.
Elected to Wigan Council in 2005, Mr Shaw, who is unemployed, represented Wigan West ward.
UPDATE Jan 07 2009
The 42-year-old was originally charged with 16 charges of possessing an indecent image of a child, but these charges were withdrawn by the Crown Prosecution Service with the agreement of the defendant.
Mr Shaw made his second appearance before Wigan Magistrates' Court yesterday and was remanded on conditional bail until his first Crown Court date.
He will face two alleged firearms offences on the same date.
Mr Shaw, who joined Wigan Metro in 2004 and represented Wigan West ward for one term (three years), is alleged to have had a prohibited weapon and ammunition without a certificate.
He was arrested at the Town Hall in Hewlett Street in July 2007 .
UPDATE April 17
A former Wigan councillor who downloaded child porn and had a gun and ammunition in his safe was today (Thur) jailed for six years.
A court heard that Joseph Shaw's offending came to light after his daughter found the indecent images on his computer.
She was so shocked she did not initially tell anyone but after she found he had continued visiting child porn sites and also discovered texts on his phone apparently making obscene references to her she told a counsellor who alerted police.
JaIling 42-year-old Shaw, Judge David Swift said, "At the time you were in a possession of public responsibility, a man to whom others might look for an example."
Liverpool Crown Court heard that Shaw had been a Labour councillor for Wigan West for three years and also a member of the Greater Manchester Transport Authority,
Judge Swift told Shaw that the indecent images, totalling almost 2,000, involved the exploitation of children, "some very young indeed." The children had been subjected to "degrading and sickening experiences", he said.
When police raided his home in Avondale Street, Standish, they found a World War 11 .38 Smith & Wesson revolver and 15 cartridges for it in a safe.
Shawk, who had a shotgun certificate, used to be a member of a gun club and must have been aware that the gun was capable of firing live ammunition and must have known it was prohibited, said Michael Scholes, prosecuting.
He said that the indecent images found on Shaw's computer covered all five categories of abuse and had been discovered by his daughter in April 2007.
He told her not to use his computer but she did while he was out and it was when visiting the 'history box' to delete any trace of her usage that she saw he had been visiting child porn sites.
The next month she again checked his computer and found he had visited similar sites.
Her father was arrested in July that year at Wigan Town Hall and when his home was searched it was found to be "chaotic and disordered."
A total of 1,967 indecent images, including still and movie files, were found, including 17 in the most serious category involving sadism.
When interviewed Shaw, who has no previous convictions, described the pornographic images as "disgusting. I wouldn't hurt a kid." He admitted he had developed a fascination for viewing the images out of curiousity and visited illicit websites 2 - 3 times a week.
Shaw pleaded guilty to 17 offences of making indecent images and one charge of possessing indecent images of children. He also admitted having a prohibited weapon, the handgun and ammunition.
He was ordered to sign on the Sex Offenders Register for ten years and Judge Swift also made a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for life banning him from being alone in the company of children.
A FORMER Tory councillor has been jailed after spending £35,864 on “fine dining and expensive living” and claiming it back on expenses.
Daniel Smy visited London hotels and shops including the Savoy, Royal Horseguards and Selfridges, and claimed for a chauffeur-driven journey from Dorset to the Carlton Club, a court was told.
The former deputy chairman of South Dorset Conservative Association was sentenced to 12 months in prison at Bournemouth Crown Court yesterday. He pleaded guilty to 10 charges of theft and forgery as chairman of the Portman Building Society’s group staff association.
Smy, 35, of Mount Skippet Way, Crossways, was a West Dorset District Councillor when the 10 offences took place between 2003 and 2006.
Smy – who asked the court to take 86 further offences into consideration – is also ex-chairman of Crossways Parish Council.
Prosecuting, Alison England said he was in a position of trust at the Portman Building Society as he oversaw contributions to the staff association. She said treasurer Diana Stevenson realised Smy’s expenses were inappropriate and challenged him about an invoice for a visit to a Dorchester pub.
When previous claims were looked at, cheques with forged signatures were found. Miss England said Smy spent the money leading a life of fine dining and living in top hotels.
The court was told Smy admitted using his employer’s funds for his own use and saw it as a perk of the job as his £18,000-a-year salary was not enough.
In mitigation Robert Grey said Smy was a man of good character with a history of helping people but had felt “a build-up of stress and isolation” and “got carried away”.
He said Smy was on anti-depressants and was “beside himself with shame”.
The Rev Jaqueline Birdseye from the Moreton Parishes told Judge John Beashel of Smy’s involvement with community projects. But he was sentenced to 12 months for each of the 10 offences with the sentences to run concurrently.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
The Labour politician with the highest expenses claim of any London MP has denied that he was cheating taxpayers by claiming a second-home allowance while maintaining that his main home is a single-bedroom schoolhouse and seaside caravan 70 miles from his constituency.
Defiant Left-winger Harry Cohen said: 'When MPs were given this allowance they were told "Go and spend it, boys" and that is what I have done. It is my right.'
His comments come as The Mail on Sunday launches a petition to demand a full enquiry into MPs' expenses, to report within three months and NOT after the general election as is currently suggested.
Mr Cohen has claimed every single penny of the maximum £104,701 in Commons expenses in the past five years for his £375,000 property in his Leyton and Wanstead constituency in East London, on the basis that it is his 'second home'.
Astonishingly, he says he has claimed the full second-home allowance since 1990.
It means he has pocketed a staggering £310,714 in total - believed to be the largest amount ever claimed by any MP.
Yet he declares on his Labour website that he and wife Ellen 'live' in Leyton and 'spend weekends at their static caravan' on Mersea Island, an unspoilt stretch of the East Anglian coast.
If his real main residence is the Leyton house, it means his Commons allowance has funded a holiday home completely unconnected with either his parliamentary or constituency duties.
Source and Full Story(Must read)
A FORMER Worcester UKIP candidate –- who has since converted to Islam – has been sentenced for possessing indecent photographs of children.
Jason Phillips, who stood in the city’s 2007 elections for the Arboretum ward, had previously admitted downloading two indecent images of a child.
Sallie Hewitt, prosecuting, said police were alerted to Phillips when he sent sexually offensive messages to friends of his new girlfriend’s ex-husband through the social networking site Facebook.
When questioned by police he told them he had sent the message to be as offensive as possible.
Police officers seized his computer and in December 2008 it was found to contain the images, which were deemed to be Level 2 photos – the most serious being Level 5.
One had been placed into the computer recycling bin.
Mrs Hewitt said Phillips told police four years previously a friend had downloaded adult porn on to his computer as he thought it was funny, but had deleted it.
In mitigation, Paul Stanley said Phillips had sent the messages after receiving unpleasant messages himself.
Mr Stanley said Phillips was unhappy about being in court and pleading guilty to these offences.
“It’s a possession matter only in relation to two stills which might or might not be real,” he said.
“It has been for him a very difficult period of time. He has never been in trouble with the court before.”
The 33-year-old, of Cyril Road, Rainbow Hill, who has now changed his name by deed poll after converting to Islam to Abdullah Nasser Jihad, will now have to sign the sex offenders register for five years.
Magistrates also sentenced him to a community order with two requirements – that he attend a sex offenders group programme and be supervised for three years.
He was also ordered to pay £60 in costs and a forfeiture and destruction order was made on the computer.
In a letter Phillips wrote to your Worcester News the day before he was sentenced, he explained how he had converted to Islam.
Phillips also said he had been very depressed.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
A Government minister who claimed £60,000 in allowances for the house where his parents live has been reported to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner - by his local Tory MP.
Tony McNulty, the Employment Minister, claimed "second home allowance" for the house in his Harrow East constituency, in northwest London, from 2001 until earlier this year, even though he moved out in 2002 after getting married for the second time.
Mr McNulty lives nine miles away in Hammersmith, whose MP, the Tory frontbencher Greg Hands, reported him today to John Lyon, the Commons standards watchdog.
"Charging as the Member of Parliament for Harrow for a second home in Harrow when you are living in Hammersmith, and neither of these places are very far from Westminster to start with, and at the same time in that second home are living the MP’s parents, then clearly there has got to be an inquiry," Mr Hands said.
* Labour MP 'ashamed' over Commons romp
* Pressure on Myners to tender resignation
* Conservatives in disarray on tax promise
Mr McNulty insists that his claims are legitimate because he used to sleep in the house when he was first an MP. He says that he still uses the house as an constituency office.
But the former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Sir Alistair Graham, questioned the claim today and said that Mr McNulty might have to pay back some of the money.
"He talks about using it as a base to do constituency work, but he didn’t say that he stayed overnight there," Sir Alistair told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "I think he has a few questions to answer and if he was not staying overnight there there probably should be some money repaid."
It emerged today that the standards committee, set up by John Major in 1994 to help clean up politics - is again considering a wide-ranging review of MPs' expenses, although sources close to the body said that that was not directly linked to the controversy surrounding Mr McNulty.
Sir Alistair, who chaired the committee from 2004 to 2007, backed the call for a full review.
"I think the important thing is that it has been left to MPs to sort out their own arrangements and I think that is a slightly absurd arrangement. I don’t think the public feel they can trust them in this area," he said.
Among those criticising the claim today was Alan Duncan, the Shadow Leader of the Commons, who told the BBC that it was "not clear" that Mr McNulty had operated within the rules.
"The allowance is for a second home, it is not for a constituency office. There he is brazenly trying to bat this away by saying, ’Oh well, the system is not very good but I didn’t do anything wrong’," Mr Duncan said. "There are some serious questions still to be answered."
Source and Full Story
A GOVERNMENT whip was today embroiled in the growing expenses row after claiming thousands of pounds for a second London home despite already having one within 10 miles of Westminster.
Assistant government whip Dawn Butler has claimed £37,245 in taxpayers' cash in two years to pay for a second property.
The Labour MP for Brent South has a house in Wembley, aboutnine miles or a 32-minute Tube journey to Westminster, and a home in Stratford, about eight miles or a 24-minute Tube ride.
She was today facing questions over why she needed the two homes, which are almost exactly the same distance from the Houses of Parliament. Her office has stressed in the past that she moved into the Wembley house after being elected in 2005 to allow her to serve her constituents.
Ms Butler is the second government member to come under fire this week over second home allowances after it emerged Employment Minister Tony McNulty claimed £60,000 for a house in Harrow where his parents live.
Opposition MPs and Ms Butler's neighbours today criticised her housing arrangements.
Greg Hands, Tory MP for Hammersmith & Fulham, said: "These allegations raise further questions. Gordon Brown needs to get a grip on his ministers and their expense claims."
Mark Jansen, 26, who lives two doors from Ms Butler's Stratford home, said: "Most taxpayers can't even afford houses at the moment and yet an elected MP, who is meant to represent us, has two. That just doesn't seem fair, especially in the current financial climate."
Ms Butler claimed £15,442 in second home allowance in 2005/06 and £21,803 in 2006/07. As an assistant government whip, she is entitled to an annual salary of nearly £90,000 including her MP's entitlement of £63,291. Her total expenses' claim, which includes staffing, office, travel, postage, second home and other costs, was £285,356 over two years.
Ms Butler bought the three-bedroom, mid-terrace Wembley home for £250,000 in 2006. It is now valued at about £260,000. Her two-bedroom terrace Str atford home, believed to be the family home she lived in before becoming an MP, is worth around £235,000.
Neighbours today said she is rarely at the Stratford home. Jose Gomes, 40, has lived next door for 14 years. He said: "I used to see her all the time, now I only see her every couple of months. Her brother's here occasionally."
Her neighbours in Wembley said they regularly see her and that she spends the majority of her time there. Speaking at her Wembley home today, Ms Butler declined to answer questions from The Standard about her use of the second home allowance. She said: "I totally resent you coming to my private home. Have some respect. How dare you."
Her spokesman has previously justified the expenses claim and said: "When she was elected she moved straight into the constituency and the [allowance] helps her to do that."
The Prime Minister has backed an inquiry into MPs' expenses by the Committee on Standards in Public Life, and has sought to widen it to include work carried out by politicians outside Parliament.
A number of Tory frontbenchers have lucrative directorships which have been criticised by other MPs.
Friday, March 06, 2009
A Tory councillor allegedly punched his neighbour in a longstanding feud.
Geraint Jones lost his temper and stormed up to the man "screaming and shouting", before punching him in the head, a court heard.
Hinckley Magistrates' Court was told the men had been arguing for years about neighbour Anthony Harrison having access to his home across Jones's property.
The argument flared when Mr Harrison walked across Jones's property to unload bags of granite chippings outside his home.
He said Jones hurled verbal abuse, then traced him to a nearby house where he was working and hit him.
Jones (61), a North West Leicestershire District councillor, denies assault.
Mr Harrison, a 47-year-old roofer who lives next door to him in Tamworth Road, Ashby, said the punch was thrown two hours later, as he worked at a house in Nottingham Road.
He admitted they had fought before, and that he had beaten up Jones while defending himself in the past.
On this occasion, he said the punch came out of the blue.
He said: "I saw Jones charging down the entryway saying words along the lines of 'What the hell is going on here?'.
"I went to block his path, saying something like 'Get away from this job'.
Mr Harrison said Jones then used abusive language.
"I stood in front of him and he tried to barge past me. He carried on using vulgar language," Mr Harrison told the court.
"Because I wouldn't let him past, he swung a punch. It stung me. I was shocked by the whole incident."
During the earlier incident outside their homes, Mr Harrison said Jones had stood on the other side of a gate "shouting obscenities at me".
The court was told the altercation happened on June 11.
Mr Harrison said in 1996 Jones had attacked him but ended up getting "the worst of it".
The trial is to continue at a later date.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
OPPOSITION leaders have called for the chairman of Bolton’s planning committee to consider his position after he admitted to operating an illegal taxi.
Labour councillor Sean Hornby has received a “simple caution” after admitting using his car as a taxi without a licence, acting as a taxi driver without a licence, operating a car as a taxi without an operator licence and using his car as a taxi without the correct insurance.
Yesterday, Bolton Council withdrew the case at Bolton Magistrates’ Court as Cllr Hornby accepted the caution — which means he admitted the offences.
His previous “not guilty” pleas were “vacated” — removed from the court.
The case has been ongoing since last August and has cost Bolton taxpayers thousands of pounds.
The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats leaders have called on Cllr Hornby, who represents Little Lever and Darcy Lever, to consider his position.
Tory leader Cllr John Walsh said: “Anyone in public life is accountable. I hope Cllr Hornby will consider his position.”
Cllr David Wilkinson, deputy leader of the Lib Dems and licensing committee member, said: “It is up to Labour to proceed with this as they see fit.
“The planning committee has a lot of responsibility and if the chairman cannot adhere to the rules set by another committee of a similar standing, then questions need to be asked.”
But Cllr Hornby’s solicitor Ajmal Hussain, of AGH Solicitors, said his client would continue in his roles He said: “Mr Hornby has faced considerable stress and anxiety in a saga that has lasted for almost 12 months.
“He now intends to resume his normal personal and political life.
“Mr Hornby, a diligent and committed councillor, intends to continue serving his constituents. He intends to contest the next local elections in May, 2010.”
Cllr Cliff Morris, leader of the Labour Group and Bolton Council, said: “The issue has been dealt with by officers in the appropriate way. There are no implications for Cllr Hornby’s position under the code of conduct for councillors.”
A simple caution is not a conviction, but can be cited before a court on subsequent conviction.
Cllr Hornby, who was elected in 2006, originally pleaded not guilty to the charges, but the council said it opted to issue him a simple caution after he indicated, before the start of a planned trial last Monday, that he was willing to accept it.
A council spokesman said: “We are pleased that the matter has now been resolved and Cllr Hornby has been dealt with appropriately.”
Cllr Hornby was granted permission to apply for his costs from the Central Fund, a fund similar to legal aid but for privately-funded defences.
UPDATE 6 March 09
A senior city councillor has tonight been bailed after earlier being arrested in connection with a police inquiry into political corruption.
Officers from the Staffordshire Police Major Investigations Department arrested councillor Roger Ibbs this morning.
It is understood that police were called in by senior officers at Stoke-on-Trent City Council following a lengthy internal inquiry.
Police questioned a 61-year-old man on suspicion of corruption in public office before bailing him tonight.
Mr Ibbs, of Kingsway, Stoke, is the leader of the Conservative and Independent Alliance group on the city council and the portfolio holder for children and young people's services.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
A PAEDOPHILE councillor admitted a string of child pornography charges - two-and-a-half years after being arrested.
David Charles, 60, from Cranham, pleaded guilty to 16 counts of possessing vile images of youngsters, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.
Charles, a councillor in the St Andrew's ward in Hornchurch, quit the Conservative Party following his arrest at home by officers from the Havering child abuse investigation team in June 2006. Since then he has been an independent councillor.
Residents' Association councillor Barbara Matthews (Hacton ward) said this wewek that Charles must now step down.
"If there's any honour in that man at all he will resign - regardless of any prison sentence," she said, adding his position as a local councillor was now "untenable".
Depraved images were found downloaded on Charles' home computer by police.
At an earlier hearing Charles claimed he only viewed adult pornography and discovered child porn "by accident".
He used the alias "Avenger" online and told police he downloaded the pictures and reported the websites to an American internet watchdog before deleting the obscene images.
He was formally charged with child porn offences in June 2007, but denied them.
His trial was due to take place on April 8, but now he has admitted to the charges, this date will act as his sentencing hearing.
Judge Simon Wilkinson said at last Wednesday's hearing: "All sentencing options are open."
Charles will be dropped as a councillor should he receive a prison sentence of more than three months, Havering Council confirmed.
Cllr Matthews added: "As a councillor he is often invited into people's homes. They are not going to be comfortable with that now.
"While there must be relief that there has been a resolution to all this, it is unbelievably crass that he has taken over two years to come forward."
Charles, who is in receipt of a councillor's allowance of £8,507 for 2008/9, failed to attend a single Hornchurch Area Committee meeting in 2007. He refused to comment.
Sunday, February 08, 2009
A COUNCILLOR has been banned from driving for two years.
John James Jones, 63, of North Ormesby, Middlesbrough, appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court last week charged with dangerous driving, having an inappropriate licence and no insurance.
He was convicted and was given a two-year driving ban, fined £1000 and ordered to pay costs of £40.
But under the Local Government Act 1972 he also faces being booted off the council and banned from public office for five years.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
FORMER mayor of Horwich Bernard McCartin broke down in tears as he admitted to a court he was a benefits cheat.
The 66-year-old told magistrates he had defrauded more than £18,000 from the public purse.
McCartin claimed he suffered from crippling back pain and that he could walk no further than 25 yards without a stick.
But he was exposed as a liar when investigators from the Department of Work and Pensions caught him on film.
In an amazing set of clips, McCartin, the former first citizen of Horwich, is seen: l Lifting and carrying a huge bag of compost from the back seat of his car l Lifting heavy boxes of match day programmes which he sold from his wheelchair at the Reebok Stadium l Walking distances of up to 1,100 yards without the aid of his walking stick and without showing any signs of discomfort l Carrying heavy bags of shopping out of a supermarket with his walking stick under his arm l Painting fence posts l Putting on his mayoral chain before attending functions.
Yesterday, magistrates in Bury gave him an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, and a six-month curfew between 5pm and 5am.
McCartin was also told he must wear an electronic tag and pay £250 costs.
The court heard McCartin, of Ainsworth Avenue, Horwich, admitted he should have informed the DWP about an improvement in his condition.
David Hewitt, prosecuting, said McCartin was overpaid by the sum of £18,022 over a period of four years.
In 1997, Mr Hewitt said, McCartin was found to be in need of the higher rate of disability benefit in terms of his mobility and the middle rate in respect of his care needs.
The court heard the higher rate was only available for people who cannot walk at all, or can walk but with great difficulty.
“In his application form, McCartin stated that he was unable to walk without the aid of a walking stick and said he could only walk 25 yards before feeling severe discomfort. He said it would take him 15 minutes to walk 25 yards,” said Mr Hewitt.
The DWP filmed McCartin between January and May, 2007 — while he was mayor of Horwich — and captured the incriminating evidence on film.
Officers spoke to him in August, 2007, when he admitted there had been an improvement in his circumstances in May, 2003, when he became a councillor.
He did not report the changes to the DWP however.
Anthony Shimmin, defending, said McCartin was a man of previous good character who suffered from myopathy — a disease which weakens the muscles.
He had worked all his life but this forced him to stop, causing him to become house-bound and depressed.
Mr Shimmin said McCartin turned his life around by becoming a councillor and working in his local community, causing him to push himself beyond his limits.
He added: “The video doesn’t show his suffering at home and the fact that he doesn’t sleep very much. He has served his local community and been promoted to its highest office and now he faces this shame.
“And he is ashamed. This has broken him as much as his medical condition has.”
DWP investigator Andrew Wood said after the hearing: “We would like to make it clear to everybody that there are serious consequences if you commit benefit fraud.”
McCartin was also ordered to pay the £18,000 back at a rate of £12 a week.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Prince Sadik Chaudhury, aged 36, a Liberal Democrat councillor for Thorplands, appeared at Northampton Magistrates' Court yesterday, accused of assaulting Yousuf Miah, a former Conservative councillor who is the chairman of the Northampton Bangladeshi Association.
Chaudhury, of Parkside in Ecton Brook, pleaded not guilty to a car park scuffle, which allegedly happened after a meal at the Delhi Cottage restaurant in Far Cotton, Northampton, in April last year.
The fracas allegedly happened after claims of an argument between the two men over a previous conversation.
The case was adjourned to a later date.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Ian McKellar, of Sandy Lane, West Kirby, pleaded guilty to eight offences of making indecent images before May 11, 2006.
Liverpool crown court heard the images involved 1,639 images in the lowest category and the other 83 were in the next three more serious categories.
McKellar is a former chairman of West Wirral Conservatives and represented Claughton on Wirral Council in the 1980s.
Arthur Gibson, defending, told the Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Henry Globe QC, that McKellar pleaded guilty on the basis he had deliberately sought to look at naked girls aged between 12-16 in erotic poses.
But he said McKellar had not wanted to look at children involved in the more serious categories, including having sex with adults.
Mr Gibson said the images were not stored after being viewed.
McKellar, 58, denied another offence of making indecent photographs, involving six images, which will now be dropped.
Cllr Jeff Green, leader of the Conservative group on Wirral Council, this week distanced the party from McKellar.
He said: “My understanding is he has not been a member of Wirral West Conservatives for some time.
“He tried to reapply to become a member and was turned down.
“He is a man with a family and it is a terrible situation. He must now await his sentence.”
Ian McKellar’s solicitor David Kirwan said: “My client deeply regrets his actions and no one is more ashamed than he.
“While he fully appreciates that he has let down his many friends and colleagues, he hopes that they will understand that these actions were completely out of character.
“Apart from service as a councillor, he has worked unstintingly for many years within the voluntary sector.”
McKellar was further remanded on bail to await sentence on February 24.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
But he failed to answer bail in September and is now believed to be abroad.
Calderdale's first Asian councillor lost his Labour seat in Park ward last year after a 22-year stint.
It is believed Mr Najib is now living in Pakistan and inquiries are being made to trace him there.
UPDATE Jan 24 2009
READERS rang the Courier yesterday to say they had seen wanted former Halifax councillor Mohammed Najib on David Dickinson's The Real Deal.
Mr Najib was seen to peer through a screen during an antiques viewing at Halifax Town Hall.
The show was aired yesterday but was recorded a few months ago.
Heather Terry, of Mixenden, said: "I've just seen your missing ex-councillor."
Mr Najib's solicitor confirmed the images were of his client.
Mr Najib is wanted by police investigating election fraud.
Mohammed Farooqui was locked up for six months and banned from driving for two years after admitting a charge of dangerous driving.
Birmingham Crown Court heard the Redditch Borough Council member was driving too quickly when he collided with a Rover car in Handsworth on July 23 last year, causing four people to be taken to hospital.
Being pursued by police, he reached speeds of up to 70mph and ran a red light, narrowly missing two other vehicles and mounting the pavement.
He then tried to flee on foot before he was finally arrested.
Julian Harris, defending, said Farooqui, 30, of Station Road, Handsworth, had been a councillor since the age of 24 and had acted as an independent advisor to West Mercia Police.
Passing sentence, Judge Melbourne Inman QC said motorists who put members of the public at risk by their driving would go to prison.
Mr Harris, said Farooqui worked as a surveyor but had recently lost his job.
On that particular night, he said, Farooqui had attended a property award ceremony at the International Convention Centre and had decided to visit his partner who thought she may be pregnant, although this subsequently turned out to be false.
He said Farooqui had had a lost of personal problems, was concerned about the welfare of his partner and at the time was “at the end of his tether”.
Mr Harris said Farooqui panicked after the accident and what he did was “utterly out of character”.
He said any form of custodial sentence would mean the defendant would have to resign as a councillor.