Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sex-surf councillor gets his seat back

A MAN forced to resign from Allerdale and Maryport councils for using council computers to surf sex sites has been co-opted back on to Maryport Town Council.

It has been alleged by a former town mayor that Kevin Smith was voted back by councillors trying to keep out a BNP candidate.

As a result, ex-mayor Tony Johnstone has resigned from the Labour group in protest and is now sitting as an Independent councillor.

Mr Smith, of Camp Road , Maryport, quit Allerdale after being confronted with a list of adult website pages he had visited. He had signed a code of conduct which stipulated that the council’s computers were not for personal use.

Mr Smith, 42 at the time, had represented Maryport on Allerdale’s Netherhall Ward for 10 years and had been a councillor for 18 years.

He quit both positions and also resigned as secretary of Labour’s Solway branch.

Mr Smith could not be contacted this week but at the time of the incident he said he had gone on to the websites to see what the internet was all about. He said: “It was just the curiosity of a red-blooded male.”

Keith Little, leader of Maryport’s Labour group, said: “He had been looking up sites with material you can see on television after 9pm any day of the week.”

Coun Little denied that Mr Smith had been readmitted to council to keep out a BNP candidate.

He said: “We had four vacancies to fill on the council. We advertised them and we received nominations, including one from a BNP candidate. When the council voted on the nominations, Mr Smith was among the winners.

“It is a long time since he broke council rules. He was a good councillor and, from what I understand, he still gets people approaching him on council business.”

But Coun Johnstone said he believed that Labour members had chosen Mr Smith over Stephen Harris, a BNP candidate, because they were concerned about having a BNP councillor.

He said: “Stephen is a local lad. He was not standing for council because of any interest in national politics but because he wanted to serve Maryport.”


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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mayor faces pub assault trial

The mayor of Lichfield was appearing before magistrates today to stand trial on a charge of assaulting a man in a city centre pub. Councillor Michael Fryers was in court.

He has pleaded not guilty to a charge of common assault following an alleged incident at the Kings Head pub in Lichfield city centre on July 14.

Councillor Fryers, aged 60, and of William Lunns Homes, Stowe Street, has been suspended from the Lichfield City Council Conservative group pending the court outcome.

He is due to re-appear at Tamworth Magistrates Court today after being granted unconditional bail at a hearing in August.

A statement issued from the Lichfield City Council Conservative group said: “At its last meeting the group agreed unanimously to suspend Councillor Mike Fryers from the group and to urge him not to undertake any mayoral duties pending the hearing on October 23. This he has agreed to do.

“Both are neutral acts and do not imply any guilt.

“No amplification of this statement will be given,” it adds.

Mayoral duties will now continue to be carried out by the city’s deputy mayor, as they have been in recent weeks.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Labour men deny trying to rig election

Two Labour candidates - one a former Peterborough mayor - and a party official tried to rig a council election, a court was told today.
Mohammed Choudhary, Maqbool Hussein and Tariq Mahmood hatched a scheme to forge votes on postal ballots for the City Council election in Peterborough, in June 2004, King's Lynn Crown Court was told.

All three deny conspiring to defraud and forgery.

Choudhary, 49, of Cobden Street, Peterborough, city mayor from 1996 to 1997, and Hussein, 51, of Ledbury Road, Netherton, Peterborough, were Labour candidates in the election.

Mahmood, 40, of Clarence Road, Peterborough, was the secretary of the local Labour party, jurors were told.

Prosecutor Anthony Leonard QC told the court: "In the weeks leading up to the local government election for Peterborough City Council in June
2004 the defendants abused the system to manipulate it to their advantage.

"They were able to get hold of postal and proxy votes which belonged to voters in the Central Ward."

He said ballot forms were filled in to ensure support for Labour candidates after the three men arranged for paperwork to be sent to addresses they were connected to instead of to the intended voters.

Neither Choudhary nor Hussein won seats in the election.

UPDATE 14/2/2008

Former Mayor found guilty of vote rigging.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tory Paedophile

Cllr Peter O’Brien

A COUNCILLOR has been arrested and questioned over allegations of possessing child pornography. Hatfield man Peter O'Brien was arrested at Stansted Airport on returning from holiday.

Police attended his home in Drakes Way and executed a warrant in connection with the investigation. Councillor O'Brien has represented Welham Green ward on Welwyn Hatfield Council since May 2006, and is a member of the cabinet IT and housing panels.

He has been suspended by a stunned Conservative party.

Party leader John Dean told the WHT: "Councillor O'Brien has always carried out his council duties in a capable and conscientious manner.

UPDATE : 20 May 2008

09:00 - 20 May 2008

A Former Tory councillor who owned more than 6,500 sick pictures showing children being sexually abused is now living in Nottingham.

Peter O'Brien, 46, appeared at Hertford Magistates Court, where he admitted 11 counts of making indecent images of children and two of possessing indecent images.

He told the court he was addicted to hardcore porn, claiming curiosity had got the better of him.

He had a stash of 6,590 videos and photographs, some of the most extreme kind.

The councillor was living in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, when the offences took place, but has since moved to Nottingham, the court was told. An exact address was not revealed.

O'Brien told police he had downloaded child pornography for years and viewed them for his own sexual gratification.

Paul Webb, defending, asked for the case to be adjourned for reports. He said: "There is considerable mitigation on O'Brien's behalf."

The case was committed to crown court at a later date.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Respect - False Declaration

A HALIFAX election candidate who failed to declare his criminal record has appeared in court.
Sajid Mehmood, 36, of Saxon Street, off Hanson Lane, Halifax, admitted making a false statement on nomination papers.

He stood for the Respect Party in Park ward, Halifax, in council elections in May.

Sentencing was adjou-rned at Bradford Crown Court until November 23.

Under the Represen-tation of the People Act, anyone given a prison sentence of three months or more, even if it is suspended, is disqualified from standing for election for five years.

In 2003, Mehmood was sentenced to three months in jail for possession of heroin and cocaine.

He was also convicted of driving offences and received four months in prison in 2004 and another 16 weeks in 2005.

In August, the High Court refused to order a re-run of the election in Park ward after former Conservative councillor Mohammed Chaudhary Saghir petitioned the court for the result to be declared void.


A FORMER Calderdale Council candidate who could have faced jail today over election fraud has died mysteriously at 35.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Labour Councillor Suspended

Tony Blair's former election agent has been suspended as a councillor for a month, for swearing and threatening a Labour colleague. John Burton, 67, was reported to the Standards Board for England following an outburst at Sedgefield Borough Council in October 2006.

A tribunal heard that he had warned Kester Noble in colourful tones that he would be deselected if he did not back a £20m housing scheme.

The hearing was told it was a "one-off event in an otherwise exemplary political career".

Mr. Burton, who was the former PM's constituency agent from 1983 until Blair stepped down as an MP this summer, was reported after his comments were overheard by another councillor.

The Adjudication Panel for England, meeting in Darlington on Tuesday, heard that Mr. Burton had sworn at fellow Labour councillor Mr. Noble, and told him he was putting pressure on him.

A tribunal heard that Mr Burton said to Mr Noble, the then (Labour) deputy leader of Sedgefield County Council: "I'm putting ****ing pressure on you. [The application] is good for the village. It's what the people want and there's an election coming."

The tribunal heard the planning application, for 112 homes on land outside Trimdon, was rejected by 23 votes to four - Mr. Noble was among those who opposed it.

Mr. Burton left the meeting before the vote - after declaring an interest as a member of Trimdon Parish Council and the Trimdon 2000 community project.

In March, Mr. Noble was deselected as a Labour candidate for the Old Trimdon and Fishburn ward.

The adjudication panel rejected accusations that Mr. Burton had broken the code of conduct by speaking in favour of an application in which he had an interest, and also rejected any suggestion he had been responsible for Mr. Noble's deselection.

But it found that the threats and offensive language used by Mr. Burton had brought his office into disrepute and did breach the code of conduct.

The month-long suspension begins immediately. Mr. Burton said he did not want to comment on the ruling.