Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lib Dem - Councillor - Assault

A borough councillor has appeared in court in Northampton, charged with the assault of a former council colleague and community leader.
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

Conservative - Councillor - Child pornography

A FORMER Conservative councillor has admitted downloading more than 1,700 indecent images of children.

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

Labour Councillor - Election Fraud

Enricher of Elections

A FORMER councillor is wanted by police investigating election fraud.
Mohammed Najib was arrested last May after the local elections, it emerged yesterday.

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.

Conservative Councillor jailed after car chase

A SHAMED councillor who acted as an advisor to a Midland police force was today starting a jail sentence after leading officers on a 70mph pursuit through Birmingham streets.

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.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Labour Peer - Dangerous driving

The 51-year-old peer was at the wheel of his gold coloured X Type Jaguar when it ploughed into an Audi A4 that had broken down in the fast lane of the M1 near Rotherham.

Now almost a year after the death Lord Ahmed will appear before Magistrates in Sheffield on a date to be fixed.

As part of the investigation traffic police examined Lord Ahmed's mobile phone on which he made a 999 call from the scene.

It was alleged that shortly before the emergency call a text message was sent to a journalist.

South Yorkshire Police investigators submitted a detailed file to the CPS who have now decided there is insufficient evidence for a charge of death by dangerous driving.

Instead the peer will face a lesser charge of dangerous driving.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "On advice from the Special Crime Division of the CPS, a 51-year-old Rotherham man will be issued with a summons to appear at Sheffield Magistrates Court in relation to driving his motor car dangerously on the southbound carriageway of the M1 between junctions 40 and 35 on December 25, 2007."

The victim, Slovakian Martyn Gombar, died instantly in the impact and Lord Ahmed suffered severe facial injuries and shock.

The Audi hit the crash central crash barrier , spun round and ended up facing the wrong way on the southbound carriageway near to Junction 35 at Thorpe Hesley, near Rotherham.

The driver and one passenger managed to reach the hard shoulder but police believe the driver then tried to dodge fast moving traffic at 6.20 pm on Christmas Day, to get back to his car to retrieve his mobile phone and call for help.

The car belonging to Pakistani born Lord Ahmed , who has lived in nearby Rotherham since he was a child, then hit the car and driver.

At least four other vehicles were also involved in the crash.

The dead man had been living in the Leigh area of Lancashire. His passenger, also a Slovakian was arrested by police and questioned.

Lord Ahmed, along with three other people, was taken to Rotherham District General Hospital where he was treated for his injuries and was allowed home later.

At the time although still badly shaken he confirmed he was at the wheel of his Jaguar car when it struck the Audi. He confirmed he was injured and treated in hospital before being allowed home.

At his home in Rotherham he said soon after the accident : "I was just driving along when I saw a red Audi facing the wrong way -- it was absolutely horrendous but I don't want to talk about it.

"I am not able to say much about the accident because the police are still investigating the case.

"It was terrible. There was a red car in the third lane facing the wrong way and there was nothing I could do."

Lord Ahmed, a father-of-three, was only minutes from his home in Rotherham when the tragedy happened. His passengers, his 49-year-old wife, Sakina Bibi, and his mother in her mid-80s, suffered bruising.

Sakina said of her husband: "He's in shock. He has cuts and bruises."

The Labour peer -- whose official title is Lord Ahmed of Rotherham -- became the first Muslim in modern times to become a lord when he was appointed to the House of Lords in 1998.

In November last year he flew to Sudan and negotiated the release of British teacher Gillian Gibbons , jailed for allowing children in her class to call a teddy bear Muhammad.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Lib Dem Councillor - Benefit Fraud

Daniel Martin

A Dorset councillor has appeared in court to deny benefit fraud.

Councillor Daniel Martin, a Lib Dem member of Poole Borough Council, is accused of using false representation to obtain Job Seeker's Allowance.

Mr Martin, of Kingcup Close, Broadstone, appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court to enter the plea.

The councillor, who was elected in May 2007, was released on unconditional bail. The case was moved to Dorchester Crown Court for a date yet to be set.

The charge relates to a period before Mr Martin was elected.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Liberal Democrat Councillor - Misconduct

Thanks Julian. You made my hat trick for the day

THE Liberal Democrats' next general election contender for Totnes, Julian Brazil, faces being suspended as a district councillor following a dust-up with one of his council's own officers.

The outspoken district councillor has been accused of breaching the national council code of conduct because of his behaviour.

Now South Hams Council's standards board has taken a decision behind closed doors to press ahead with a hearing.

If he is found 'guilty', Mr Brazil could be suspended and barred from taking part in any district council activities for the next six months.

Although South Hams Council has admitted that the standards board, made up of district councillor and independent members, will be holding a public hearing some time in the next month into a councillor's behaviour, it has so far refused to reveal who it is.

But former school teacher Mr Brazil, who is also a county councillor as well as the Liberal Democrat's prospective parliamentary candidate for the Totnes seat, revealed he is the subject of the hearing.

He explained it centred on a 'robust discussion' between himself and a council officer over a benefits fraud allegation and a local businessman he claims was being bullied.

"I was asked by a member of the public for support and that is what I did," he said.

He said he had confronted the officer concerned over the allegations. The officer had later complained about him.

The standards board excluded both the public and the press from its meeting this week as it studied a report from the council's own legal team over the alleged confrontation involving Mr Brazil before deciding to press ahead with a hearing.

Mr Brazil said he had seen a copy of the report and accepted that everything it declares was said is correct although, he claimed, it has been taken out of context.

Mr Brazil has been a district councillor representing the Saltstone ward of the district council for nine years.

He has been a Kingsbridge and Stokenham county councillor for almost four years.

He was last year selected to be the Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Totnes with the aim of taking on sitting Tory MP Anthony Steen at the next general election.

South Hams Council's standards board is made up of two district councillors, an independent chairman and two other independent members.

They will form the panel which will decide Mr Brazil's 'innocence' or 'guilt' when the hearing takes place.

Their ultimate punishment is the six-month suspension from council activities. They can also mete out lesser punishments that include ordering him to make a written apology, telling him to undertake council training or formally censuring him — which means giving him a stiff telling off.

Mr Brazil said he found it 'extraordinary' that the case was being brought.

"I feel I am there not to represent the council or the council officers but to represent the local people and local communities and get the best deal for them. South Hams Council has never liked that approach," he said.

Conservative Candidate - Ballot Rigging

A Conservative candidate, from Buckinghamshire, who was contesting a marginal seat at the last general election conspired with five other men to 'rig' the result, a court has heard.

Haroon Rashid hoped to win the West Bradford seat by using bogus postal vote applications, Leeds Crown Court was told.
Prosecuting, Mr Gordon Cole QC, told the jury the plan was 'very simple, illegal and dishonest.'

He said: 'Had the conspiracy continued on through to the end, had it been successful, Haroon Rashid may very well have been elected as Member of Parliament and been sitting in the House of Commons.'

Rashid, 38, of Richings Way, Iver, Mohammed Sultan, 51, of Toller Lane, Bradford, Mohammed Rafiq, 68, of Cecil Avenue, Bradford, Reis Khan, 39, of Whetley Hill, Bradford and Jamshed Khan, 64, of Russell Street, Bradford, all deny conspiracy to defraud the electoral registration officer of Bradford City Council.

Another man, Alyas Khan, has admitted the charge, the jury was told.

Mr Cole told the jury the case involved Postal Vote Applications and a conspiracy to submit fraudulent applications.

Mr Cole said the defendants falsely registered individuals to vote on the electoral register, using the names of people who did not live at the addresses to which they were registered.

The plan was to 'harvest' the bogus votes, he added.

He said they hoped to 'rig' the system 'so that Haroon Rashid could and would get elected'

The trial continues

The jury was told the conspiracy failed and the sitting MP was re-elected by just over 3,000 votes.


Labour Council Leader - Fraud

A former Worcestershire council leader has pleaded guilty to stealing tens of thousands of pounds from a charity.

Ex-leader of Redditch Borough Council David Roy Cartwright, 52, admitted stealing at least £24,695 from local homeless charity Step Out Drop In.

He also admitted making false claims for the charity totalling £63,467 between June 1997 and April 2001.

Cartwright, of Donnington Close, Redditch, will return to Hereford Crown Court for sentencing on 27 February.

The Step Out Drop In charity has since collapsed.

The court heard how Cartwright, who served as a councillor on three separate occasions between 1986 and 2007, had made false claims to the borough council, a charitable foundation and a government department.

Fake invoices

Police were called into investigate the former council leader after Worcestershire County Council's adult services department became suspicious.

Between June 1997 and June 1998 he claimed £21,118 from the Department of Environment, Transport and Regions after saying Step Out Drop In was eligible for a grant to employ an extra member of staff when he knew it was not.

He submitted two invoices between February 2000 and July 2001 for £17,106 and £20,243 to Redditch Borough Council for payments that he knew were fake.

Cartwright, who was leader of the council on three separate occasions between 2002 and 2003, 2004 and 2005, and May 2005 to October 2005, also claimed £5,000 from the Eveson Charitable Trust after sending it a fake builder's invoice.

Det Con Andy Moseley, of West Mercia Police, said: "People often refer to fraud as a victimless crime. It never is.

"In this case, the victims are those homeless and vulnerable people who stood to benefit from this charity but who found themselves looking elsewhere for support and assistance when Mr Cartwright's criminal activity finally and inevitably led to its collapse."


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