Opposition councillor to face standards board amid row over police taking evidence

An outspoken opposition councillor will face the borough council standards committee again later this month.

Tuesday, 6th November 2018, 11:29 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th November 2018, 2:47 am
Coun Bob Brierley

Two hearings have been scheduled to hear allegations that Hindley Green independent representative Coun Bob Brierley breached the local authority’s code of conduct.

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Details of the hearings, which are set to take place on November 19 and November 29, are yet to be released into the public domain.

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However, the latest accusations against the controversial elected member, who only last month was found guilty by the same standards panel of abusing female town hall employees, have already sparked trouble.

Coun Brierley has demanded that the hearings be postponed until an investigation by Greater Manchester Police - which last month arrested him on suspicions of stalking, breaching data protection and criminal damage - is completed.

He says he cannot build his defence case and provide supporting evidence while the probe is ongoing because the police have seized his technological devices and paperwork as part of their criminal inquiries.

However, the town hall said that he has had adequate opportunity to put his side of the story across before the standards committee convenes.

A Wigan Council spokesperson said: “Unfortunately Coun Brierley has chosen not to co-operate with the investigation and submit any evidence.

“He was invited to do on several occasions between first being notified of the complaint on April 17 and notification of the hearing date on October 31.”

Coun Brierley was arrested on October 19 and has since been released under investigation.

The idea that the two hearings may go ahead despite the ongoing criminal inquiry has provoked an angry response from the independent politician.

Coun Brierley said: “The police have taken all the information I was going to present at the hearing.

“That evidence proves my innocence and shows that these allegations made against me are false.

“I’m not in breach of the code of conduct.

“I’m not reneging on my responsibility.

“I want to go there to clear my name but if I’ve no evidence I will be found guilty.

“These hearings will have to be postponed until after the police investigation. If the council bypasses that and carries on it will be ridiculous and just another way of discrediting me.”