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.

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