Monday, September 28, 2009

Conservative - Councillor jailed for bribery

Jeremy Baker had denied taking two bribes totalling £750

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

Liberal Democrat - Councillor - Sexual assault

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.'

More here

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Conservative Councillor - Passport Fraud

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.


Labour Councillor investigated after abusive message

WELSH Labour confirmed last night it was investigating a councillor and brass band chairman in connection with a “foul and abusive” phone message that has been posted on YouTube.

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.


Lib Dem Councillor banned over misconduct

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."


Labour Councillor - Escapes Jail???

A former mayor escaped jail today after being convicted of possessing and distributing child pornography.

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.


Labour Councillor - Homophobia

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.