Wrexham councillors' complaints are rejected by ombudsman


Charlie Croasdale

TWO complaints from Wrexham councillors have now both been rejected by the Wales Ombudsman.

Cllr Keith Gregory has welcomed a decision not to uphold a complaint made against him by fellow councillor Malcolm King, lead member for finance, following a bitter dispute between the Caia Park pair.

It follows the rejection some time ago of a similar complaint made by Cllr Gregory against Cllr King which was also rejected by the Welsh Ombudsman, who deals with cases of alleged local government maladministration.

Last night, Cllr King said he hoped the complaints were at an end as he was concentrating on how to minimise the effects on residents of having to implement millons of pounds of cuts forced upon Wrexham Council by central government.

However, Cllr King wanted to make clear suggestions by Cllr Gregory that the police had upheld complaints made against him were unfounded.

The complaints stem from an incident during the May 2012 council elections when Cllr King was served with a harassment notice by North Wales Police following an incident at Cllr Gregory’s home. Cllr Gregory alleged Cllr King and three others were in his garden shouting abuse at him. At the time Cllr King rejected the allegations and called the serving of the notice “ridiculous”.

In his complaint to the Ombudsman, Labour Wynnstay Cllr King claimed Cllr Gregory had breached the councillors’ code of conduct by “failing to show respect and consideration in a number of ways”.

Now – two years on – the Ombudsman has concluded the investigation, stating: “The director of investigations found there is no evidence Cllr Gregory failed to comply with the code of conduct.”

Cllr Gregory said: “I’m glad to finally be able to draw a line under all this, which all came about due to an incident that happened over two years ago.

“I feel I was entitled not only to complain about Cllr King’s behaviour to the police but also to comment on the matter publicly. I hope the Ombudsman’s decision finally puts the matter to rest.”

Smithfield Cllr Gregory, a member of the Wrexham Independent group with links to Plaid Cymru, said on May 2, 2012 – the night before the election – he was at home in Colwyn Road, Wrexham.

Speaking at the time, Cllr Gregory said on the day on the incident he and his family were about to have an early evening meal. His four-year-old daughter Katie spotted some people in the front garden.

“I went to investigate. There was a group of four people in the garden. One of them was Cllr King,” said Cllr Gregory.

“I was the victim of insults shouted at me. I couldn’t believe what was happening and felt I really shocked.

“My daughter was crying. This was absolutely disgraceful behaviour. No-one should have to tolerate it.”

Cllr Gregory says it has been a “rollercoaster” two years. Along with the complaint to the Ombudsman, he also faces eviction from his home by Wrexham Council – a situation he continues to fight – and he has represented victims of child abuse from North Wales care homes, having himself been abused when in care .

See full story in the Leader

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