Flintshire Council will not contribute to banned councillor's costs

Reporter:

Jamie Nield-Siddall

A LOCAL authority will not make any contributions towards a disqualified councillor’s legal costs.

Flintshire Council has indicated it will not give any indemnities to former Mostyn councillor Patrick Heesom following a court ruling which led to him being banned from office for 18 months.

Mr Heesom, 76, was disqualified from public office and being a member of Flintshire Council for two-and-a-half years last July after evidence he bullied Susan Lewis, the local authority’s former director of community services, was accepted at a tribunal.

He challenged the disciplinary ruling and, following a four day hearing, a suspension period of 18 months was imposed.

Under the Local Authorities Regulations 2006, Flintshire Council is prevented from making a payment to Mr Heesom as it was ruled that his actions of bullying were deliberate.

In a report to go before members of the Flintshire Council standards committee on Monday, councillors are being told the council gave Mr Heesom an indemnity – a promise of payment – for his legal fees in respect of costs from his original tribunal case which began in January 2011 and ran for 58 days over a two-and-a-half year period.

However, as Mr Heesom was found guilty at the tribunal, the local authority declined to make any payment.

In a statement, a Flintshire Council spokesman said: "The legislation stipulates that where a member is suspended or disqualified, they have to repay any money given to them under an indemnity.

“However, the council has not paid any money to Mr Heesom.

"In light of Mr Heesom’s disqualification, the council is not liable to pay anything for the hearing at the case tribunal or for the appeal to the high court."

At his tribunal in 2013, Mr Heesom was found guilty by the Adjudication Panel for Wales of 14 breaches of the councillors’ code of conduct over a two-year period, involving nine different sets of circumstances.

But following a High Court appeal, three of those breaches were quashed and Mr Heesom’s disqualification was reduced to 18 months.

See full story in the Leader

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