Judicial review ruled out in dispute over conduct

Coun Bob Brierley outside Wigan town hall on his way to a council meeting
Coun Bob Brierley outside Wigan town hall on his way to a council meeting

A WIGAN councillor who slammed local authority probes into his behaviour will not be referring them further up the legal chain.

Independent member Bob Brierley was found guilty of six conduct breaches in an unprecedented series of hearings last year.

I have evidence that shows I have done nothing wrong. The council is trying to shut me down as a councillor

Coun Bob Brierley

He called the standards panel’s decisions “a disgrace” and vowed to refer them to judicial review.

But having been priced out of going down the legal route, the Hindley Green councillor has taken a different approach in an attempt to clear his name by distributing leaflets about the hearings giving “his side of the story”.

He told the Evening Post: “The decisions were made by Labour councillors and should have been done by an independent panel. Judicial reviews cost thousands of pounds and it’s not worth it.

“I have evidence that shows I have done nothing wrong. The council is trying to shut me down as a councillor.”

Coun Brierley boycotted the hearings and has since sent out his own evidence to residents.

He was found guilty on each occasion of using bullying or intimidatory behaviour to council staff, residents, hospital workers and voluntary staff at a community project.

The hearings, which took place over six weeks between September and November last year, are estimated to have cost the local authority £60,000, officers said.

As a result of the guilty verdicts, Coun Brierley had his one remaining committee place removed and his access to his elected member brighter borough funding has been banned until 2016.

Council officials said he was given every opportunity to present counter evidence for each of his hearings but chose not to.

At the conclusion of the hearings, Paul McKevitt, deputy chief executive of Wigan Council, said: “I’m disappointed that Coun Brierley continues to disregard his peers’ recommendations. Complaints have come from employees, contractors, partners and members of public. We work well with the majority of councillors, but his actions continue to tarnish the reputation of other councillors and the council as a whole.”

And Coun Brierley’s behaviour was cited in the council’s appeal to local government minister Eric Pickles for greater powers to sanction misbehaving members.

His five-page leaflet, distributed across Hindley Green, breaks down each hearing and explains the “false allegations”. Adding: “A request for an independent panel to address the complaints was over-ruled.”