Saturday, October 27, 2012

Labour Councillor Paul Greenaway - Drink Driving

Paul Greenaway
A PORT Talbot councillor has been disqualified from driving after he was caught behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol.

Labour councillor Paul Greenaway, 61, who represents the Baglan ward, has been disqualified from driving for 20 months.

He could now face disciplinary action by his party.

A Welsh Labour spokesman said they were aware of Greenaway's court appearance and it was up to the Neath Port Talbot Labour Group to decide on any action.

"The Neath Port Talbot Labour Group will decide appropriate disciplinary action to take at their next meeting," said the spokesman.

Source and Full Story

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Labour Councillor Abid Hussain Arrested Over Keighley Violent Disorder

Abid Hussain
A Bradford councillor has been arrested in connection with a street brawl in Keighley.

Councillor Abid Hussain (Lab, Keighley Central) was one of six men arrested over the weekend following the torching of a car in Devonshire Street where he lives and where a brawl broke out on August 8 this year.

The 53-year-old councillor, who is vice-president of the Keighley Muslim Association, was arrested on suspicion of violent disorder on August 8 then released on police bail.

Three other Keighley men aged 18, 19 and 34 were arrested in connection with same matter.

Two others, aged 27 and 30 were also arrested for alleged violent disorder on the same date, and also on suspicion of arson relating to the car fires which happened in the early hours of Saturday.

Source and Full Story

Monday, October 22, 2012

Former Tory Mayor Stephen Holmes Jailed for Child Porn

Stephen Holmes
A well-liked former mayor was jailed today (Friday) after secretly amassing a huge collection of child pornography on his computer.

Stephen Holmes, 61, who had served as Dacorum Mayor, was also a school governor.

At the time of his arrest earlier this year, he was a Conservative councillor on Dacorum Borough Council and Herts County Council, where he had held a post as deputy cabinet member for children’s services.

But today his reputation lay in shreds as he was sent to prison for 10 months.

St Albans Crown Court heard how over 16 years and while he was held in high esteem by his local community he began collecting indecent images of children.

Source and Full Story

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Labour Councillor Chris Vobe Suspended Over Computer Hacking Allegations

Labour Councillor Chris Vobe
THE son of Warrington MP Helen Jones, Clr Chris Vobe, has been suspended by Labour party bosses.

Clr Vobe, who was elected in May, was informed of the decision on Tuesday.

He is now the second member of the town’s Labour councillors to be suspended by his own party after frontbencher Clr Hitesh Patel was suspended last month.

The Warrington Guardian understands the allegations surround the potential hacking of computer accounts.

Source and Full Story

Former Lib Dem MP Candidate Vincent McKee Guilty of 25 Frauds

Vincent McKee
A MAN who stood as an MP in Coventry has been found guilty of another fraud offence.

Vincent McKee, 54, of Hanbury Place, Little Heath, Coventry, had already been found guilty of 24 counts of fraudulently taking money from students and families.

The jury returned again yesterday afternoon to find him guilty of one further similar charge.

A trial at Coventry Crown Court has heard McKee took thousands of pounds from students or parents while running a firm offering private lessons to students.

Source and Full Story

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Conservative Councillor David Stephenson - Sick in the head

David Stephenson - Sick in the head

A senior Derbyshire councillor has lost his cabinet position after making a "poor joke" about two Manchester police officers who were shot dead last week.

PC Fiona Bone and PC Nicola Hughes were killed in Mottram last Tuesday.

David Stephenson was removed by Erewash Borough Council leader Chris Corbett for his remarks about scoring points for killing police officers.

Mr Stephenson said: "What I did was undoubtedly tactless - it was a poor joke and I apologise."

However the Conservative councillor said he believed his punishment was harsh.

Mr Stephenson made the comments in front of the wife of a sergeant with Nottinghamshire Police.

Source and Full Story

Labour Councillor Brian Gate, quits after child porn arrest

Brian Gate

The councillor in charge of the borough’s children has resigned after being arrested on suspicion of having indecent images of children.

Councillor Brian Gate, cabinet member for children, schools and families, was arrested at his Harrow home on September 24 by detectives from the Metropolitan Police and has been bailed until early November pending further enquiries, the Harrow Times can reveal.

Harrow Council will formally announce his resignation at tomorrow night’s cabinet meeting, but councillors and senior headteachers from across the borough have already been informed of his arrest.

Cllr Gate, who is married to Harrow on the Hill councillor Ann Gate, has been in his post as portfolio holder for children since May, but has been responsible for schools and families since Labour took control of the council after the 2010 General Election.

In a statement, the Met said: “We can confirm that a 57-year-old man was arrested on September 24 at a residential address in the Harrow area on suspicion of the possession of indecent images of children.

Source and Full Story

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Tory Councillor Chris Boothby Charged With Benefit Fraud

Chris Boothby - Conservative
A HINCKLEY councillor has been charged with benefit fraud and will appear in court later this month.

Cllr Chris Boothby, who represents Ratby, Bagworth and Thornton on Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council, is alleged to have claimed more than £1,500 in benefits, including jobseeker’s allowance, while working as a bus driver for Leicester City Council.

He has also been suspended from the Conservative party - at least until the case is concluded.

Cllr Boothby, from Ratby, is being prosecuted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) who accuse him of claiming £949 in jobseeker’s allowance, as well as £560 in housing benefit, while still getting behind the wheel of a bus to work. It is also alleged that he was claiming unemployment benefit for his wife, Tina, while she was working in a pub in Markfield.

Source and Full Story

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Labour Councillor Matt Fry Suspended as Fraud Investigation Begins

Matt Fry - Labour
A LABOUR councillor has been suspended amid allegations of fraud.

Matt Fry, Stoke-on-Trent City Council member for Weston Coyney has been suspended from his post with immediate effect after a police investigation began.

The Sentinel understands the inquiry is focussing on Mr Fry’s handling of public money.

A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: “We have received an allegation of fraud which we are currently investigating.

“No one has been arrested at this stage.”

Mr Fry, aged 31, who has sat on various council committees including the Staffordshire Fire Authority, was not available for comment last night.

The Stoke-on-Trent Labour Group refused to comment on the nature of the allegations, releasing a statement only to confirm Mr Fry had been suspended.

Source and Full Story

Friday, September 14, 2012

Deputy Mayor John Johnson - Child images

John Johnson - Labour

A former deputy mayor of Peterborough has appeared in court accused of downloading a large amount of “extreme” child pornography.

John Johnson (62), of Deerleap, Bretton, who was deputy mayor between 1999 and 2000 appeared at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Johnson, who was a Labour councillor for North Bretton between May 1995 and January 2001, has been charged with making 714 indecent images of children.

He is accused of downloading six level-five images of a child, which is the most extreme level of pornography in legal classification terms.

Source and Full Story

Imdad Hussain - Failure to disclose

Imdad Hussain - Labour

Bradford Councillor Imdad Hussain has been suspended for two years by the Labour Party after it found he failed to disclose he had been banned as a company director.

An investigation by the party at a national level has concluded he breached party rules.

Coun Hussain will not now be allowed to stand as a Labour candidate when his seat on Bradford Council comes up for re-election in 2014. The 42-year-old councillor continues to sit as an independent in the Heaton ward.

Coun Hussain was disqualified as a company director for seven years after his company went into liquidation last year. Earlier this year he was suspended by the Labour Party while national party officials began an investigation into his business dealings.

Source and Full Story

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Philip Bethell: Sexual Assault

Philip Bethell (Labour)

Councillor Philip Bethell, who represents Balderstone and Kirkholt, was arrested last Thursday (2 August) after police received a report of sexual assault.

A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said Councillor Bethell has been questioned by officers and bailed until 16 August whilst inquiries are on-going.

Monday, August 06, 2012

John Jenkins: Tweets

Councillor John Jenkins (Conservative)

Llanelli councillor John Jenkins faces an Ombudsman investigation over alleged offensive tweeting.

Councillor John Jenkins, who represents the Elli ward of the town, has been reported to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales for a series of tweets he made on his personal Twitter account.

The tweets, posted over the last few months, made reference to a sex toy, joked about paedophilia and referred to a well-known footballer as a "budding pervert".

But Councillor Jenkins has refused to apologise for what he has labelled as a "smear campaign" against him.

A report which appeared in the press yesterday made reference to a tweet from Councillor John Jenkins which addressed a friend, Jessica Harries.

"You'd have to be pretty thin-skinned to be offended by a tweet of harmless banter between friends."

Miss Harries has also stepped forward to defend the councillor.

She said: "John Jenkins and I have been friends for over five years now.

"We have worked together and also socialised. Never have I once been offended by anything that he has said.

"I think it's absolutely ridiculous and petty that someone has gone through John's tweets to find something to have against him and then taken a private inside joke and turned into something more.

"It seems that nobody understands playful banter anymore.

"In no way was I offended by John's tweet."

Full Story Source

Simon Arthur: UPDATE

Simon Arthur (Liberal Democrat)

Senior Lib Dem councillor Simon Arthur has been jailed for attacking his frail 87-year-old mother.

Simon Arthur, 44, was sentenced to four months after a court heard he treated his mother Isabelle "like a dog" for years.

Arthur admitted punching pensioner Mrs Arthur who uses a walking stick to get around.

Magistrates heard Arthur - a Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate in the 2010 General Election - told his mother: "I hope you have an awful death".

Arthur was finally arrested when a neighbour called police after seeing him assault his mother on the driveway of their home.

“We hope that the publicity generated today by this case will raise awareness of elder abuse and send out a strong message that society does not tolerate cruelty towards older people."

Full Story Source

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Abdul Patel: Financial Irregularities

Abdul Patel (Labour)

Kirklees Council is investigating allegations about the running of a Muslim burial ground which is partly operated by a newly-elected Dewsbury councillor.

Coun Abdul Patel this week hit back at claims about the amounts paid by bereaved families to himself and former Batley councillor Ghulam Maniyar, who together run the Muslim Mosque Burial Committee.

It has been alleged that the men may have taken up to £1m from families during the 25 years they have leased the private plot near Dewsbury Cemetery.

It is also claimed the burial committee may have questions to answer about tax and accounts and that there is no record of where bodies are buried.

But Coun Patel – who won his Dewsbury East seat for Labour this year – says the allegations are untrue.

“I don’t think this will affect my work as a councillor at all,” he said.

“The community is behind me and I am not worried about the outcome of any investigation.”

Mr Maniyar – a Batley East Labour councillor until 2004 – also insists: “None of this is true. I won’t be losing any sleep.

“We have a lease on the land and pay to Kirklees Council. And we have a record of every grave. If we didn’t pay our rent the council would follow it up.

“There are more than 400 graves there and if we didn’t keep up records there would be an investigation.”

He said the committee was an open organisation, and payments for burials differed because some people wanted more than the basics which pushed up the cost.

“I have no fear about this at all,” said Mr Maniyar. “Our operation is an open book.”

Kirklees Council’s audit team has begun an investigation after a former councillor raised concerns about the committee.

A spokesman said: “The investigation is more than 50 per cent complete. So far there has been no police or tax authority involvement.

“The site in question is privately leased and Kirklees Council does not have statutory requirements regarding the registration and disposal of bodies at the site .”

But he said graves in the Muslim cemetery were not the council’s responsibility.

He added that there was nothing apparent at this stage to stop Coun Patel continuing as a councillor.


Saturday, August 04, 2012

Simon Arthur: Assault

Simon Arthur (Liberal Democrats)

Councillor Simon Hugh Arthur has admitted assaulting his 87 year-old mother who said she was "terrified" by her son after he subjected her to a catalogue of assaults.

Simon Hugh Arthur, 44, admitted trying to drag his elderly mother, Isabelle Arthur, from her car.

Arthur, who represents Newton ward on Mumbles Community Council, also admitted grabbing a knife and lunging towards a police officer.

Mrs Arthur said she was "terrified" by her son, who had stood as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Liberal Democrats in the 2010 General Election.

Sharon Anderson, prosecuting, read a statement to Swansea Magistrates Court from Mrs Arthur in which she said her son "treats her like a dog", and that she is living on eggshells.

The prosecutor added that Arthur had admitted to police in interview that he had punched his mother on a number of previous occasions.

Mrs Arthur — who was described in court as "frail" — had been out for the day on July 21 but said she was too scared to return to the home they share, instead choosing to wait in a Mumbles car park.

She said she regularly went to the car park to avoid going home, and had even slept there overnight previously.

Around 8pm she did go home and parked in the driveway but her son had locked all the doors to their home in Summerland Lane, Newton.

The court heard that at around 11.30pm Arthur came out of the house and began the attack.

Mrs Arthur's statement read: "He came over, opened the driver's side door, grabbed hold of my hair and tried to pull me out of the car. It was like he was possessed."

He tried to grab her a second time, but failed, before shouting "You'll burn" and "You'll suffer in the after life".

The court was told Mrs Arthur, who uses a walking stick, then tried to make her way down the driveway to get help but her son grabbed her stick from her, using it to block her path.

Mrs Arthur fell to the ground and dragged herself along the floor.

She crawled out of the drive and her son followed, eventually trying to pick her up — but she told him to leave her alone.

A neighbour saw what was going on and called the police.

Mrs Arthur escaped serious injury in the assault.

In her statement she said her son had never had a proper job and always relied on her for financial support.

He had a "nasty temper," and he had got "more controlling" since Mrs Arthur's husband died 22 years ago.

Last year, after Mrs Arthur's twin brother, Peter, died Arthur's behaviour "escalated," she said.

Ms Anderson said after his uncle's death, Arthur told his mother: "It should be you that's gone, not Peter" and "I hope you have an awful death".

In her statement Mrs Arthur said: "I try and let it go over my head but when it's physical, I can't excuse it."

When police arrived on the night of the attack, they took Arthur into the kitchen where he opened a drawer and grabbed a knife.

A statement by PC Greg Bowen which was read out to the court described how Arthur raised the knife above his head and lunged at the officer.

PC Bowen and another officer managed to grab the knife.

"If he'd have been given a split second more than allowed he would have brought the knife down on me," the constable's statement said.

Arthur later told police he had he locked the doors to the house "out of spite", and said he did not remember most of the incident and had drunk more than a bottle of wine.

In his interview, he said he did not intend to hurt the police officer, but wanted to commit suicide.

The court heard Mrs Arthur did not support the prosecution against her son and would not make a formal complaint but wanted him to get help.

Her statement continued: "I now realise he will hurt me if he carries on, I don't know what I have done to deserve this. I want him out of my house, I want him to get the help he needs."

Magistrates were told she had contacted social services who had advised her to write a letter, asking her son to leave the premises — but he had responded by laughing and throwing it away.

Arthur had been involved in six domestic violence incidents against his mother since August last year, the court heard.

After he admitted having previously punched his mother, officers asked him to indicate the force he had used on a scale of one to ten. He replied "two".

Laura Sherwood, representing Arthur, said she did not plan to mitigate until a pre-sentence report had been prepared.

Arthur, who admitted two charges of common assault, was remanded in custody until August 6.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Brian Silvester: UPDATE

Brian Silvester (Tory)

Chesire East councillor Brian Silvester could face prison after he admitted putting vulnerable lives at risk at his Crewe home.

Appearing at South Cheshire Magistrates Court in Crewe on Monday (July 24), Cllr Silvester and his brother Colin pleaded guilty to a total of 11 fire safety breaches in relation to the building they rent out as bedsits on Crewe Road in Shavington.

They also admitted a charge levelled by the council of failing to obtain a licence for a house of multiple occupation.

After hearing the case, magistrates decided their sentencing powers were insufficient for the gravity of the crime, saying it ‘did not fall outside the custody threshold’.

The 60-year-old former mayor of Crewe and Nantwich was sent to crown court for sentencing.

In January this year the Chronicle revealed that Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service had closed down the Willaston ward councillor’s property with immediate effect, as there was an ‘imminent risk of serious personal injury’. Tenants were forced to move into temporary accommodation while a catalogue of serious failings were rectified.

On Monday, prosecutor Chris Green told the court that one fire officer believed it ‘undoubtedly had the poorest standard of fire safety he’d ever seen in his 10 years of service’.

Loose wiring, holes in the ceilings and roof, and combustible materials in corridors meant a fire could have easily started at any time, and would have spread rapidly.

Insufficient exit routes, broken smoke detectors and fire extinguishers that hadn’t been serviced for almost 20 years meant it would have been almost impossible to escape a blaze unharmed. Any escape routes would most likely have been engulfed in flames within minutes.

Mr Green said: “This is a very serious case. The layout of the building itself, which was split into 10 bedsits, was extremely hazardous and any fire was likely to be so advanced before discovery that escape would be impossible.

“Going into a tenant’s bedsit would provide little or no resistance to fire. There were no seals or fire protection on the doors and the mains electrics were badly wired.

“If the fire started in one bedsit, there was no means of alerting anyone else as there were no inter-connective alarms. Many of the tenants were vulnerable due to age and disability, meaning there was a greater risk to such occupants.

“The breach was long-standing and in interview the Silvesters revealed some tenants had been living there for 34 years or more.

“The risks in this case were obvious. Getting a risk assessment done isn’t rocket science.”

Cllr Silvester, a former Cheshire East deputy council leader, was warned by the fire service that all tenants had to be re-homed until the problems were rectified – but it was later discovered tenants were still living there.

Mr Green added: “Efforts were made by the Silvesters to mask the fact the notice had been breached. Tenants were asked to make sure their cars weren’t present so it looked like no-one was still living there after the notice had been served.

“That is a serious aggravating feature and demonstrates an indifferent attitude to the level of risk.”

Referring the case to crown court for sentencing, chairman of the bench Stewart Cockburn said: “We’ve considered the facts placed before us very carefully. The breaches created a very serious risk to the safety of tenants and as owners of the property for at least 11 years you should have been aware of the fire regulations. You didn’t take sufficient steps to enforce the prohibition order for the safety of tenants.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Richard Vallery-Peters: Fraud

Richard Vallery-Peters (Tory)

Former Tory councillor Richard Vallery-Peters has been arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation just weeks after he met the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Richard Vallery-Peters, who lost his Hastings Borough Council seat in May, was arrested at his home in Ashburnham Road on Monday morning.

The 47-year-old former Navy rating was quizzed by detectives and later released on police bail.

His arrest relates to the wearing of military medals.

Sussex Police spokesman Andy Freeman said: “On Monday morning, police arrested a 47-year-old man from Hastings.

“He was arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation. He was given police bail until August 6.”

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ronald Ford: assault

Councillor Ronald Ford assaulted his partner after she found out about his affair has been ordered to pay a total of £700.

Construction worker Ronald Ford, 55, was spotted by the woman standing in the street outside his home during the early hours of Sunday morning “with a female who had an unhealthy interest in him”.

When he came into the house, his partner followed him into the bedroom where he was sitting on the bed sending a text message.

Jedburgh Sheriff Court was told on Monday that she grabbed the mobile phone and read a message from a woman called Lee.

The message read: “How do you ever find time to work dealing with her in the morning and me in the afternoon?”

Prosecutor Graham Fraser said: “An argument ensued and she hit him twice. He punched her on the face, causing her to fall to the ground and kicked her on the legs. He stopped attacking her and went to bed, but there was a degree of tension in the house. The partner went to see her step-son and the police were phoned at 1.30am.”

Mr Fraser said the partner suffered swelling and redness to her face, but declined medical attention.

Ford appeared in the dock with a bandaged hand and a black eye, but this was attributed to an altercation with his son. The court was told that the couple’s 13-year relationship was now over and that she had suspected him in the past of being unfaithful.

Ford told police “there was a bit of a scuffle” and admitted showing too much interest in the other woman.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of domestic assault at their home in Market Place, Earlston, on Sunday after appearing from custody.

Ed Hulme, defending, said: “The background to this has come to light. There was a heated argument which became physical as he tried to get his phone back.”

First offender Ford – who is a member of Earlston Community Council – was fined £200 and ordered to pay his former partner £500 in compensation.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

John Holden: Still got a years salary after Fraud conviction

John Holden (Labour)

John Holden was convicted in July last year at the city’s sheriff court for falsely claiming more than £43,000 in Council Tax benefit and Income Support over a number of years.

He was formally sentenced to a year in prison on August 11 and Sheriff Ian Abercrombie described him as a liar and cheat.

Highland Council ceased paying the shamed 63-year-old’s £16,233 salary when he was led from the courtroom in handcuffs and it received his formal resignation four days later.

But Holden still received his councillor’s wage for several weeks, more than £1,000, after he was found guilty following a lengthy and high profile criminal trial.

The authority has published its list of councillor expenses for 2011/2012 and it emerged Holden, of Teal Avenue, Drakies, was paid £5,941 in salary from the start of the financial year in April.

The 63-year-old had initially refused to relinquish his Inverness South seat upon the guilty verdict in July.

The council could not hold a by-election until it received the resignation or a direction from the Highlands and Islands sheriff principal Sir Stephen Young that the seat was vacant and it had considered submitting a petition.

A council spokesman confirmed Holden – who was released after serving only three months of his one-year sentence – was paid his salary as normal for April, May, June and July until August 11.

A current court move by the Crown to recover the money from Holden obtained by fraud has been postponed until September because he has been diagnosed as being depressed and unfit to give his legal team instructions.

The authority’s combined salaries and expense bill for its 80 councillors was £1.725 million, £4,000 up from the previous year.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Daniel Sutherland: Assault

Daniel Sutherland (Labour)

Councillor Daniel Sutherland (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) appeared at Calderdale Magistrates Court on July 10 to face a charge of assault by beating against the woman.

The 23-year-old councillor, of Valley View, Halifax, spoke only to confirm his name, age and address during the initial hearing at Calderdale Magistrates Court.

He pleaded not guilty to the incident that is alleged to have taken place after a party on June 24.

The case was adjourned for a trial at Bradford Magistrates Court on November 1, 2012.

Councillor Sutherland represents Illingworth and Mixenden ward and chairs the council’s planning committee.

He is also a member of the council’s governance and business committee and the social care for children review group.

Councillor Sutherland has played rugby for Ovenden Rugby League Football Club for six years.

He is a member of the management board at Illingworth Centre Committee, Mixenden Parent’s Committee and the North Halifax Partnership.

His mother, Lisa Lambert, who accompanied him to court, was elected to the council in May.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Michael Mills: Fraud

Michael Mills (Tory)

Michael Mills, 64, a member of Holywell town council in Flintshire at the time, was caught after a tip-off. He used her pension card 110 times.

Mills said he had been in a "state of shock" after the death of his wife.

But magistrates said they were extremely serious offences, which he knew were wrong.

Mills admitted 14 fraud charges at an earlier hearing.

Defending solicitor Brian Cross said when Mills came to understand that what he had done in an emotional state was wrong, he did not have the courage to report it and buried his head in the sand.

"He is genuinely remorseful," Mr Cross told Flintshire magistrates, sitting in Mold.

Mills, a retired miner from Greenfield, told the court his "head just went" after the death in 2010 of his wife of 42 years, Brenda.

He added: "I was walking around - as if I had had a nervous breakdown for more than a couple of months."

There were emotional scenes when he was handcuffed and led away to the cells.

Prosecutor Tony Newnes said that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) received anonymous information that he was continuing to claim his dead wife's benefits.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pervez Choudhry: Must wear tag

Pervez Choudhry (Tory)

Pervez Choudhry, of Tuns Lane, Slough, had married his second wife in Pakistan but was still legally married to his first "arranged" wife.

Choudhry, 54, admitted bigamy at a previous hearing.

He was given a community order with a nighttime curfew, ordered to pay £5,500 to his second wife and fined £750.

Wheelchair-bound Choudhry married his first wife in 1986 and the pair had three children, the court heard.

He said this was an arranged marriage after his family had decided he would wed his first cousin when he was aged 11.

They separated in 2007 but remained legally married, it was heard.

In October 2008 he met his second wife Dr Zabina Shahian but "untruthfully" told her he had been legally divorced, Judge Ian Grainger said.

Two months later the pair married in Pakistan, but she left him over concerns his first marriage may not have legally ended and hired a private detective to investigate.

Choudhry, who vowed to take his case to the Court of Appeal, claimed the religious ceremony in Pakistan was not recognised under UK law.

He told BBC News after the hearing: "I had no intention of deceiving anybody. I was simply trying to create a family unit."

His second wife Dr Shahian said: "I was very devastated [when I found out he was still married].

"My life has been at a standstill. When I met him I took him at face value."

Choudhry defected to the Tories in 2009 after being elected as the Labour candidate for Central Ward.

He was arrested and charged with one count of bigamy in August 2010.

He was suspended from the Conservative Party pending the investigation and stood as an independent, but lost his seat at the election earlier this month.

Rosemary Dickson: misconduct

Rosemary Dickson (Tory)

An investigation will consider allegations of misconduct against a councillor in relation to the Cherkley Court planning application.

Earlier this month councillors granted planning permission for a private members' golf course and luxury hotel at the 19th century estate near Leatherhead.

But following a meeting of the standards committee of Mole Valley District Council, Councillor Rosemary Dickson (Con, Leatherhead South) will be investigated over claims she breached the council's code of conduct.

Council officers recommended refusal of the application, but Mrs Dickson proposed a motion to reject that recommendation at a meeting on April 4, then voted in favour of the final planning application on May 2.

A report from a meeting of the standards committee states: "The complainants allege that Councillor Dickson has breached the rules relating to the declaration of interests and that she was biased/predetermined."

The report, from a meeting on April 30, lists seven issues including: the fact Mrs Dickson's husband's second cousin Joel Cadbury is a director of developer Longshot; her relationship with Longshot's PR advisor Nick Kilby; and allegations of lobbying in favour of the plans.

It also notes that she tabled the motion to reject the advice of council officers; stated in an e-mail to Cherkley Campaign founder Kristina Kenworthy that she did not want to lose her right to vote; and did not fully represent her constituents' views.

A minor point was noted that she lives in Givons Grove, where the residents' company that owns the estate's roads has entered into contracts with Longshot.

The report adds: "When the seven separate complaints were taken as a whole, there was reasonable enough doubt to indicate misconduct and a breach of the council's code of conduct." Mrs Dickson, who retained her council seat at the elections on May 3 with an increased majority, refutes the claims.

She said: "I think it is absolutely appalling that people are able to throw out unfounded allegations without any proof or evidence and I have to go through this."

She said she has never spoken to Mr Cadbury, never overtly lobbied in favour of the application, her e-mail to Mrs Kenworthy was taken out of context and has represented the views of the "silent majority" of constituents.

She added: "I have said all along I didn't really mind about the votes so much, but I did mind very much about my reputation which is being dragged through the mud here."

The committee also considered several complaints about Councillor David Sharland (also Con, Leatherhead South) but decided not to investigate as, though he "demonstrated a predisposition towards the application", his views were not "predetermined".

People are being urged to demand an inquiry into the Cherkley Court application.

The National Planning Casework Unit is considering the issue.

The Cherkley Campaign, Mickleham Parish Council, Friends of Box Hill, Leatherhead Residents’ Association and the Campaign to Protect Rural England are asking residents to demand an inquiry.

The unit’s address is 5 St Philip’s Place, Colmore Row, Birmingham, B3 2PW, or e-mail

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Kosru Uddin: Threats to kill

Kosru Uddin (Labour)

Kosru Uddin, 45, was alleged to have made threats to kill to Rania Khan, a supporter of Independent mayor Lutfur Rahman.

It was reported that screams were heard coming from the town hall as a “violent fracas” erupted on Wednesday night.

One source told a newspaper: “There was violence. It was just chaos.”

It is the latest crisis to hit Tower Hamlets, which is facing a police investigation into claims of electoral fraud at a council bye-election while there have been claims that Mr Rahman is linked to groups supporting extremism.

Trouble erupted at 11.35pm as people left the chamber at the end of the meeting.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Michael Mills: Benefit Fraud

Michael Mills

Michael Mills, 64, a member of Holywell town council in Flintshire at the time, was caught following a tip-off.

Investigators found that his wife Brenda died in January 2010 but kept observations as he went to the Post Office to claim her benefits.

Mills admitted 14 fraud charges and will be sentenced at a later date.

Flintshire magistrates heard that the couple had been married 44 years but that Mrs Mills had been extremely ill for the last five years of her life, ending her days in hospital.

Prosecutor Henry Hills said that the Department of Work and Pensions received anonymous information that he was continuing to claim his dead wife's benefits.

Checks showed that retirement benefits of £40 a week were still being paid out in her name together with £402 a month disability living allowance - but checks with the registrar showed that she died on 23 January 2010.

Observations showed that he was attending the Greenfield sub post office weekly, and post office records showed he was still claiming benefits as a married man caring for a disabled wife, as well as her benefits.

After Mills was arrested in January this year, it also emerged that he had failed to disclose his miner's pension.


David Gawn: Theft

David Gawn (Labour)

David Gawn, of Lankers Drive, South Harrow, appeared afresh at Hendon Magistrates’ Court on Monday on a charge of the attempted theft of £7,000 belong to Dennis O’Brien on or before August 5 last year.

His case was committed to Harrow Crown Court and the Labour ward councillor for Harrow on the Hill was granted unconditional bail to appear for a plea hearing there on June 22.

Gawn previously appeared on the same charge twice before at the same magistrates’ court, on January 5 and on February 23, before the court discharged the committal of the case to the crown court, on March 15.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) formally re-charged Gawn and re-registered the case on March 27, leading to Monday’s hearing.

Gawn’s solicitor Julian Prus told the Observer his client will deny the charge.


Monday, May 07, 2012

Sandy Ezekiel: Fraud

Sandy Ezekiel (Conservative)

Former town hall leader Sandy Ezekiel has been accused of fraud and misconduct in a public office will not be suspended from sitting on the council.

Cllr Sandy Ezekiel, who represents the Clitonville East ward for the Conservative Party on Thanet District Council, was charged this week with fraud by abuse of position.

The 59-year-old – real name Maurice –of Crow Hill, Broadstairs, was also charged with misconduct in a public office.

Officers from the Serious Economic Crime Unit of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate also charged 64-year-old Philip Emanuel, of Laleham Gardens, Margate, with aiding and abetting fraud by abuse of position.

Despite the criminal investigation, a council spokeswoman said the authority would not be suspending Cllr Ezekiel from his elected position.

“This is an outstanding criminal matter that is being dealt with by the police,” she said.

Shadow Tory leader Cllr Robert Bayford said no decision had yet been made on whether Cllr Ezekiel would be suspended from the party.

“We haven’t addressed that yet; it’s something the Conservative group in Thanet and the Conservative Party will have to review,” he said.

Police say the alleged offences are related to a property in King Street, Margate, between September 2009 and February 2011.

Senior Crown Prosecutor with the CPS South East Complex Casework Unit Ken Goss said he advised Kent Police to charge the two men.

“It is alleged one of the men improperly used privileged Thanet District Council information in relation to the purchase of two properties,” he said.

“This decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.”

Both men have been bailed to attend Maidstone Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, May 8.

Cllr Ezekiel, who was arrested in November, was first elected onto Thanet District Council for the Tory party on May 1, 1999.

The carpet trader became council leader on May 22, 2003, and stepped down on May 13, 2010. He held onto his seat in last year’s elections winning the majority of the votes.

He remains councillor for the Cliftonville East ward and sits on the Joint Transportation Board.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Margaret Moran: Expenses Fraud

Morgan Moran (Tory)

Former Luton South MP Margaret Moran, who is accused of fiddling her parliamentary expenses, will not face a jury, a judge has decided.

Mr Justice Saunders said Ms Moran, 56, would not have to appear in court, after psychiatrist Philip Joseph said she was not fit to stand trial.

Dr Joseph said the ex-Labour MP was suffering from a depressive illness and had extreme anxiety and agitation.

Ms Moran did not attend the hearing at Lewes Crown Court.

Ms Moran, of Ivy Road, St Denys, Southampton, Hampshire, was described as weeping inconsolably when she appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court last year on 15 charges of false accounting and six of using a false instrument relating to expense claims totalling about £80,000.

It is alleged that Ms Moran, who stood down at the last election, "flipped" her designated second home, making claims for properties in London, Luton and Southampton.

Other allegations include that she dishonestly claimed £22,500 to repair dry rot at her Southampton home.

She is also accused of falsely claiming £14,805 for boiler repairs and work on her conservatory.

Dr Joseph told Lewes Crown Court the stress of the proceedings and allegations she was facing made it impossible for her to participate in court proceedings.

He said she had tried to harm herself and there was a risk of suicide.

He added that she felt feelings of abandonment by the Labour Party and shame that her career was over.

Mr Justice Saunders said: "Dr Joseph has attempted to discuss the allegations with her and is satisfied that she is not able to give proper instructions.

"He recorded her as saying 'I just want to plead guilty and be punished', but his view and my judgement is that is unlikely to have been a response reached after a proper consideration of the allegations and is simply an attempt to get the matter over with and assuage feelings of guilt which may relate to other matters."

He added that both sides were in broad agreement and all the experts agreed that Ms Moran is unfit to plead.

The case was adjourned to Southwark Crown Court on 15 November for a three-day hearing for a jury to determine whether the defendant committed the acts alleged by the prosecution.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Brian Silvester - Multiple convictions

Brian Silvester (Tory Councillor)

Cllr Silvester, a former deputy council leader, is to be prosecuted by his own authority for failing to obtain a licence for a house of multiple occupation.

But now the councillor of 35 years standing will face a joint prosecution by the council and the fire service in relation to the building he rents out as bedsits at his home in Shavington House Farm on Crewe Road, Shavington.

In January the building was shut down by the fire service after it was declared a fire safety risk.

A prohibition notice was served against the flats, forbidding them to be used for sleeping and living accommodation while the safety issues were rectified.

And now, after months of investigation, the fire service has decided to prosecute.

As the council and the fire service share the same legal team, the original court date has been pushed back to accommodate both charges.

Cllr Silvester, who is being prosecuted alongside his brother Colin, will now appear at South Cheshire Magistrates Court to face the charges next month.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pervez Choudhry - Bigamy

Pervez Choudry (Tory at time of the charge)

The former leader of the Conservative party on Slough Borough Council has pleaded guilty to bigamy.

Councillor Pervez Choudhry, of Tuns Lane, Slough, was arrested and charged with one count of bigamy in August 2010.

The 53-year-old defected to the Tories in 2009 after being elected as the Labour candidate for Central Ward, but is now an independent councillor.

Mr Choudhry will be sentenced at Reading Crown Court on Friday 18 May.

His term of office runs until 3 May.

Mr Choudry said he was unable to comment because it was a "sub judice matter" but that "this case has no bearing or will have no bearing on my standing as a councillor".

Slough Borough Council said it was a "private matter".


Monday, April 16, 2012

Lord Ahmed - Suspended from Labour

Peer Ahmed (Labour)

Peer Lord Ahmed suspended after 'offering £10m bounty on Barack Obama and George Bush'.

A peer has been suspended from the Labour Party amid reports that he offered a £10 million bounty for the capture of President Barack Obama and his predecessor President George W Bush.

Lord Ahmed, 53, who in 1998 became the first Muslim life peer, was reported to have made the comments at a conference in Haripur in Pakistan.

According to Pakistan's Express Tribune newspaper Lord Ahmed offered the bounty in response to a US action a week ago.

The British peer reportedly said: "'If the US can announce a reward of $10 million for the (capture) of Hafiz Saeed, I can announce a bounty of £10 million (for the capture of) President Obama and his predecessor, George Bush."

A former Pakistani foreign minister and a provincial education minister were said to have been present at the reception.

Lord Ahmed, who was born in Pakistan, became Baron Ahmed of Rotherham at the age of 40.


Tuesday, April 03, 2012

George Lord: Sexual Assault (Sentencing)

George Lord (Conservative)

Former Worcestershire County Council leader George Lord has been jailed for four years for a series of sexual assaults.

The 79-year old was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court this morning (Tuesday).

It was reported last month how Lord had pleaded guilty to three charges of indecent assault on a girl in the 1970s when he was a lay minister of a church in Droitwich and performed a number of sexual acts on the teenager.

He had already been found guilty of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old in the council chamber at Worcestershire County Council in 2010.

Lord was told he will spend at least half of his four year sentence in jail.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Milan Radulovic: Benefit Fraud (Hearing)

Milan Radulovic (Labour Cllr)

The former leader of Broxtowe Borough Council appeared at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court this morning charged with benefit fraud.

In the short hearing Cllr Milan Radulovic – accused of a £45,000 benefit fraud – was told his case is too serious to be heard at Magistrates’ Court.

He will appear at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday March 30.

Cllr Radulovic stepped down from his position as leader when the allegations came to light.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Peter Cruddas: Cash for Access

Peter Cruddas (Tory party co-treasurer)

Conservative Party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas has resigned after being filmed apparently offering access to Prime Minister David Cameron in return for donations of £250,000 a year.

The senior Tory fundraiser told undercover reporters pretending to be business representatives that 'things will open up for you' if they donated that amount of money to the Tories.

In a meeting secretly recorded by The Sunday Times, he said: 'It will be awesome for your business.'

Mr Cruddas said he only took up the post at the beginning of the month and was 'keen to meet anyone potentially interested in donating'.

He said he had not consulted any politicians or senior party officials before the recorded conversation.

Mr Cruddas told the undercover reporters that 'premier league' donors - those giving £250,000 a year - could lobby Mr Cameron directly and their views were 'fed in' to Downing Street. He said there was no point in 'scratching around' with donations of £10,000.

According to The Sunday Times, he believed that any prospective donations from the reporters - pretending to be wealth fund executives - would come from Liechtenstein and would be ineligible under election law.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

George Lord: Sexual Assault

George Lord (Tory) former head of Worcestershire County Council

Disgraced ex-Tory council leader George Lord on Thursday admitted molesting a teenage girl more than 30 years ago and groping another junior member of staff in the town hall while he was in office.

Dr George Lord, 79, former head of Worcestershire County Council, assaulted the girl – aged either 14 or 15 – between 1977 and 1979 while he was a church preacher.

Lord, from Bromsgrove, Worcs., had already been convicted of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old girl in the council chamber while he was leader in 2010.

Reporting restrictions have only just been lifted to allow the media to report on the latest case.

A previous hearing was told Lord assaulted the girl by ”touching her bottom and vagina” without her consent.

Lord on Thursday pleaded guilty to three charges of indecent assault at Birmingham Crown Court.

Lord, wearing a dark shirt and grey tie, stared straight ahead during the 10-minute hearing.

He admitted indecently assaulting a 14 or 15-year-old girl between September 1977 and 1979.

Lord was remanded into custody for pre-sentence reports and was warned he faces a prison sentence.

Judge Nigel Godsmark QC told him: “You have pleaded guilty to three charges of indecent assault".

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ross Knowles: Embezzlement

Ross Knowles

Ross Knowles, a 42-year-old boss at Kent County Council, is alleged to have siphoned off funds meant for big energy companies - which he used to buy a Jaguar car and trips abroad.

The respected 'golden boy' of his sector cashed in invoices for as much as £400,000-a-time into his own personal account, a court was told.

A jury heard that British Gas and NPower were two of the companies he defrauded, before being caught out.

Knowles worked with the Local Authority South East Region (Laser) buying energy for Kent County Council in 2007, Maidstone Crown Court heard.

Over a 14-month period, Knowles - who earned a salary of £66,000 a year - extracted more than £2million and kept it for himself, the court was told.

Allison Clare, prosecuting, told the jury that the Cambridge graduate was regarded as 'a bit of a star' and a 'golden boy'.

She said: 'He was a huge asset to Laser, everybody thought. That may be why he was able to perpetrate the fraud.

'The essence of the fraud is really very simple.'

Knowles would ask British Gas and NPower to add an extra charge at their end of their dealings as a 'comfort blanket', Miss Clare told the court.

This was meant to be reclaimed by Kent County Council and Laser at the end of the year.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Stephanie Brookfield: Drunk and Disorderly

Stephanie Brookfield, who is standing for Labour in the Earcroft ward of Darwen in May’s elections, was arrested at Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Molineux stadium on Saturday.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: “We can confirm a 50-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly at Molineux football ground on Saturday.

“She was arrested after complaints from ground staff.

“She was taken to Wolverhampton Police Station, where she was given a caution and released.”

Miss Brookfield, who is active among Rovers fans who have been protesting against owners Venky’s, said: “During the match, a large number of people were protesting against Venky’s.

“Unfortunately, some of them were arrested.

“I am a passionate and vocal Rovers supporter and always have been.

“The police kept me at the station before throwing me out after a couple of hours.

“I missed my coach home as a result.”

Miss Brookfield will still be standing at the forthcoming elections.

Labour councillor for Earcroft Trevor Maxfield said: “Stephanie is a passionate Blackburn Rovers fan and is down at Ewood week in week out. We are fully behind her.”