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Bexley Council - Still a bit Bonkers



• Bexley council’s slogan is ‘Listening to you, working for you’ but when presented with a petition signed by 2,219 residents it ruled it out of order for quoting figures in the introductory comments to the petition. It said they were wrong and misleading. The introduction was an extract from Bexley council’s website. The decision was upheld by the Scrutiny Committee chaired by Bexley magistrate, councillor Donald Massey. All Conservatives voting to ignore the petition, both Labour members disagreeing. Subsequently two councillors and a cabinet member backed the petition’s message on their website but withdrew it when it became known to the council leader.

Ian Clement• Bexley’s former council leader, Ian Clement was selected by London Mayor Boris Johnson to be his Deputy four years ago. He was given a twelve week suspended prison sentence for misusing his GLA credit card to the tune of two hundred and twenty seven pounds and he was brought to book following complaints by Michael Barnbrook of the Bexley Council Monitoring Group. Further enquiries revealed that Clement had abused a Purchasing Card and required to pay back £2,087 while Bexley’s leader. Bexley council identified the abuse, demanded answers from Clement, sent an internal email saying how it was to be hidden from the auditor, decided it was not a crime and failed to report the matter to the police. The person who made that decision was Bexley’s current leader, councillor Teresa Jude O’Neill.

• Bexley council sent the police to the home of a shop assistant who had put up a notice asking customers not to park on the yellow line outside his shop. He was having a detrimental effect on council revenue.

Eric Pickles statement
• When Eric Pickles’ department wrote to all councils on 23rd February 2011 telling them “citizen journalists” should be allowed to Tweet and film in council meetings even the most hard line of secretive Conservative councils like Barnet and Westminster caved in. Bexley however changed its Constitution to exclude all forms of recording at meetings. All their Agendas repeat the prohibition and when questioned they say it is to protect members of the public from appearing on tape. They sheepishly offer the excuse that permission may be granted on request but not a single request has been approved, not even for an audio only recording at a meeting where the public is not allowed to speak.

• The blogger known as Olly Cromwell was accused of advocating a march on Bexley’s Civic Offices with flaming torches and pitchforks. He said no such thing and made no reference to it on his website, the comment had been made in a metaphorical context on a website run by a Neighbourhood Watch stalwart. That individual was not censured but Olly Cromwell was reported to the police for posting it on this website - not his own. He had not done that either. The false accusation was made by council leader Teresa O’Neill and Chief Executive Will Tuckley and resulted in Olly Cromwell being referred to the CPS and subsequently issued with a Harassment Form 9993.

• Bexley council complains that bloggers have stated that there is too cosy a relationship between the police and Bexley council. The false evidence about the flaming torches went from Bexley council to the police and came back from the CPS with a recommendation to prosecute in just three weeks. Bexley council’s obscene blog which was easy to investigate because of the trail left through Google went nowhere for six months and was pronounced dead in fewer than three. It was only resurrected because two MPs, Teresa Pearce for Erith & Thamesmead and James Brokenshire representing Old Bexley & Sidcup were embarrassed by events on their patch and brought pressure to bear.

• Bexley council’s normal behaviour is to lie, even when the lie is blatant and obvious to all. Councillors have claimed that only Conservatives are aware that Bexleyheath has a railway station, insisting in writing that Labour councillors did not know. They claim officially and issue press releases to the effect that Bexley has more parking spaces than any other borough in South East London. Neighbouring Bromley has nearly twice as many as a perusal of their respective websites will easily confirm.

• Bexley council is the sixth highest salary paying local authority in the country, levying the ninth highest taxes in London. It is the only authority nationwide to systematically invent false charges against its critics culminating in the case against John Kerlen.

• Bexley council appoints as it mayor for 2012/13 a man who just a month earlier had insulted and belittled a member of the public in a way which the Standards Committee considered to be “disrespectful”. The appointment sums up Bexley council’s ethos perfectly.
The Timeline of Bexley’s attack on bloggers has moved. Click here.
8th March 2011
John Kerlen’s name (aka Olly Cromwell) is linked by Bexley council with an opinion expressed on an internet blog that the only language the council might understand would be flaming torches and pitchforks. It is alleged that Kerlen had written to that effect on this website. Olly Cromwell has never written anything for or on this website, neither did he make or repeat the alleged comments on his own website or anywhere else. Teresa O’Neill and Will Tuckley misled the police in an attempt to silence a critic.

1st October 2011
John Kerlen posts a picture of his neighbour’s house on Twitter accompanied by the question “Which C*** lives in a house like this?” and later the words “Please feel free to post actual shit”. He does not provide the owner’s address or the owner’s name.

3rd October 2011
The Tweets are seen by councillor Sandra Bauer who recognises the house and passes the information to its owner, councillor Melvin Seymour. Seymour is allegedly alarmed by Sandra Bauer’s comments which subsequent events show to be much exaggerated.

26th October 2011
 In a statement to Bexleyheath police councillor Melvin Seymour writes “Sandra Bauer explained [to me] that it [the Tweet] was urging people to put dog faeces through my letter box”. The word Kerlen used was shit with no mention of any delivery method. “Dog faeces” was a lie by one or both councillors and included in a signed police statement.
Melvin Seymour also writes “It is quite clear that John Kerlen is trying to encourage people to come to my house and cause criminal damage”. It was not clear at all. Kerlen didn’t mention Seymour‘s name neither did he provide an address for the picture he posted.

28th October 2011
Unidentifiable plain clothes police raid Kerlen’s home while only his wife is present. They seize all her computers, telephones and cameras and John Kerlen’s. A total of eleven items, several vital to Mrs. Kerlen’s occupation. John Kerlen is arrested later the same day and held in a cell for seven and a half hours without legal representation.

3rd November 2011
Bexleyheath police distributes a statement that the owner of this website, bexley-is-bonkers, has been charged with “abusing councillors and local authority staff” and is to appear before Bexley Magistrates on 7th November. It is withdrawn after an MP protests.

7th November 2011
The prosecutor is unprepared for the Not Guilty plea; no evidence is brought to Court. At no time did the prosecution mention John Kerlen’s website,, only and its owner Malcolm Knight is said to be responsible for the Harassment.
The District Judge gives the prosecution five weeks to make a case against Kerlen and instructs them to return on 12th December. The trial is set for Bromley Magistrates’ Court on 6th January 2012.

12th December 2011
The Crown Prosecution Service is again unable to find any evidence for their charges. They are told to come back on 21st December for one last try.

21st December 2011
Once more the CPS fails to find any evidence against John Kerlen. He had committed none of the offences recorded on his Harassment warning and is found Not Guilty. However the CPS springs a surprise and charges Kerlen under the Communications Act 2003. A trial is set for 14th February at Greenwich Magistrates’ Court.
Kerlen’s barrister seeks the immediate return of his computer and telephones etc. The District Judge agrees there is no reason to keep them. Nevertheless it is to be another two months before Bexleyheath police follows the Judge’s recommendation.
The CPS later claims Greenwich Court is double booked on 14th February and after a month of silence rearranges the trial for 13th April in Greenwich.
On 24th March the venue is moved back to Bexley thereby returning it to where Bexley council can exert its malign influence.

13th March 2012
Bexley councillor Philip Read reports John Kerlen to the police for breaking his bail conditions. Kerlen is imprisoned for 24 hours on the malicious word of one spiteful councillor before a Judge throws out his false accusation. The police keep Kerlen in a cell for a further hour with no justification.

9th April 2012
When the Judge asks the prosecution for a summary of the charges she is given the list which was prepared for the previous pre-trial hearing which resulted in the Not Guilty verdict. The Judge is thereby made aware of several false accusations and events in which John Kerlen was not involved in any way whatsoever without any opportunity to inform her of his innocence.
Councillor Melvin Seymour says on oath that John Kerlen had slammed a door in his face when he tried to be neighbourly. This is widely believed to be a total fabrication.
John Kerlen is found Guilty of being grossly offensive for his use of the ‘C’ word and for menacing councillor Seymour despite at no time identifying any councillor. Sentencing is deferred until 9th May 2012.

19th April 2012
The Probation Officer is equipped only with the list of charges of which Kerlen is Not Guilty having been given the same wrong charge sheet which had been given to the Judge.

9th May 2012
The Judge has forgotten the case and why she had found John Kerlen Guilty. The prosecution and defence lawyers are both guilty of misinforming her. It is stated as fact that Kerlen posted obscenities on a “grossly offensive and menacing” website called bexley-is-bonkers run by Malcolm Knight. No one corrects this error. The Judge is again told of various events of which Kerlen had already been found Not Guilty.
These false claims are recorded by a Press Association journalist and repeated in many national, regional and local newspapers across the country and beyond.

14th May 2012
Bexleyheath police announce on their website that John Kerlen has been found Guilty of Harassment at a trial in 2011. Totally incorrect.

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