Councillor cleared of third code breach

A Wigan councillor found guilty of two code of conduct breaches was cleared of a third not previously revealed by the town hall.

Monday, 5th December 2016, 11:52 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 1:02 pm
Coun Bob Brierley

Coun Bob Brierley faced the council’s standards committee last month in a private hearing closed to public and the press.

A local authority statement issued at the conclusion stated the Hindley Green independent was deemed guilty of breaches relating to his behaviour.

The Evening Post requested further information as to whether Coun Brierley had been cleared of any other breaches but was told no further information would be issued.

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However, the council’s own minutes from the private hearing reveal the outspoken councillor was accused of acting in a “bullying or abusive manner” as part of the complaint.

The committee found “there was insufficient evidence to support the assertion (Coun Brierley) had bullied or been abusive to any person.”

The minutes confirm the complaint centred on Coun Brierley becoming involved in a domestic dispute and he was found guilty of two breaches, relating to “using his position as a councillor inappropriately and bringing the council into disrepute.”

Town hall documents also reveal Coun Brierley was accused but cleared of attempts to “intimidate” investigating officer Peter Hassett.

The committee heard Mr Hassett reported the councillor after he left a voicemail “accusing the council of manufacturing evidence” in relation to the domestic dispute complaint. The minutes read: “The committee was of the view that there was insufficient evidence...that he had intimidated or attempted to intimidate any person...involved in the administration of any investigation.”

Following the hearing, Coun Brierley’s representative, former councillor Jim Ellis, said the council’s statement on the outcome was “a very narrow interpretation” of the proceedings.

No further action in terms of punishment or sanctions is understood to have been placed on Coun Brierley although he, along with all councillors, will be offered the opportunity for further training in relation to their roles.

If Coun Brierley does not undertake this training the committee may consider further restrictions to his access to Brighter Borough funds, the documents reveal.