Leader of Flintshire Council denies attempting to mislead tribunals

Reporter:

Andrew Boyd

A COUNCIL leader has denied attempting to mislead tribunals.

Cllr Arnold Woolley, leader of Flintshire Council, was yesterday called to reappear before a tribunal into allegations that Mostyn councillor Patrick Heesom made six breaches of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct.

During the hearing at St David’s Park Hotel, Ewloe, Cllr Woolley was accused by Michael Murphy, who is leading Cllr Heesom’s legal team, of having lied when giving evidence earlier in the tribunal and in a separate case last year concerning Cllr Alison Halford.

The allegations made by Mr Murphy related to written entries in Cllr Woolley’s journal diaries, particularly from early 2009 when Flintshire Council was looking to appoint a new head of housing.

Asked by tribunal chairman Hywel James if he had been guilty of deliberately misleading the tribunal, Cllr Woolley replied: “I have never set out to mislead any tribunal.

“My evidence has been given as honestly as I can, bearing in mind these were rather exciting and convoluted times when many conversations were going on.”

Mr Murphy raised the issue of the date of a meeting between Cllr Woolley and Cllr Halford while the head of housing position was being discussed.

The tribunal heard it was listed in Cllr Woolley’s journal under February 19, 2009.

Cllr Woolley wrote that the meeting had occurred “later”, which he maintained could mean several days later and not necessarily on that day.

Mr Murphy claimed Cllr Woolley had now provided three conflicting versions of when the meeting was.

He said Cllr Woolley had given the impression at Cllr Halford’s tribunal that it was on February 19 before saying at Cllr Heesom’s tribunal it was on February 24 or 25 and now indicating he was not sure when it was. “This is lies,” Mr Murphy told the tribunal.

Cllr Woolley denied this and said he had never falsified any evidence relating to the day in question.

He said he felt “shock, dismay and horror” that the content of his journal, which included details of conversations with council members, had become public knowledge.

“It contained comments that could only upset a number of councillors and I certainly did not wish the document to enter the public domain,” he told the hearing.

He said parts of the journal were very personal and did not have any relevance to Cllr Heesom’s tribunal.

The council leader was also questioned by Mr Murphy about claims in his journal that, in February 2009, Cllrs Bernie Attridge and Helen Yale (now Brown) had not voted in favour of a five-candidate shortlist being drawn up for the authority’s new head of housing position.

Cllr Attridge insisted earlier in the tribunal both councillors had voted in favour, whereas Cllr Woolley said he did not see the pair raise their hands.

Mr Murphy said the recollections of Cllrs Woolley and Attridge were diametrically opposed and one of them had to be lying.

Proceeding

See full story in the Leader

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