Councillor Cheryl Bacon’s decision to put a public meeting, in her own words,
into Closed Session was ill advised; it was also illegal, not that most people
would be overly concerned by such a transgression. Later realising what she had
done she should perhaps have apologised.
If she had it would be long forgotten. Instead she decided to rewrite history by inventing a story to cover her mistake.
On the evening in question Cheryl’s husband Gareth Bacon told Nicholas Dowling he would be ejected if he attempted to record a council meeting and Cheryl Bacon spoke only to Nicholas, no one else.
The next day the Bexley Times reported Nicholas Dowling’s recording attempt and Bexley council’s threat to eject him. In the early days no one realised that Bacon would decide to lie for Britain rather than do nothing or say sorry and the significance of accusing only Nicholas of creating a disturbance was overlooked.
The report in the Bexley Times (see extract above) only mentioned one resident. The council issued official advice to all councillors on how to react to any repeat of 19th June’s events. It specifically referred to “some disruption by an individual seeking to record”.
On 24th June the News Shopper reported that “a member of the public was asked to leave the meeting on June 19”.
On 7th July 2014 former deputy council leader Colin Campbell went on TV to lie about Nicholas shoving a microphone within six inches of Bacon’s nose. The News Shopper reported that Campbell referred several times to Nicholas Dowling and (singular) “a member of the public”.
At some unspecified date councillor Cheryl Bacon made a statement which she failed to sign to the effect that half a dozen members of the public were creating a disturbance in the council chamber. This she had to do because it is the only legal excuse for her decision. Several councillors subsequently confirmed in writing that Cheryl Bacon’s statement was a tissue of lies.
Councillor Stefano Borella confirmed in a statement that only Mr. Dowling was threatened with ejection. Councillor Borella subsequently stated that the version of his statement which Bexley council produced did not reflect what he said. He has since confirmed that the references to a group of people making a nuisance of themselves was not true. Nearly everyone present sat and said nothing throughout the procedings.
A statement attributed to the doorkeeper Mal Chivers was produced much later than the other statements after it became clear that Bacon’s lies were going to require a lot more support. It contradicted the earlier statements because of that need to implicate everyone present at the meeting in a disturbance, a disturbance which several councillors have confirmed did not extend beyond Nicholas Dowling seeking permission to record the meeting in a manner said to be “not aggressive’.
The statement attributed to Mr. Chivers was so far removed from the truth that Mr. Barnbrook and I asked him face to face what he asked the police to do. He said it was “to eject Nick Dowling of course". When he was shown ‘his’ statement he at first denied any knowledge of it, then became rather evasive. Mick Barnbrook tried to settle the matter by asking the police for a copy of their Computer Aided Despatch, but they refused to let him see it, not in the public interest apparently. You can guess why that might be.
Since the two police officers who attended seemed to be perfectly decent individuals; I referred to them next day as jovial Bonkers readers, not as ruffians who had ejected us from the council meeting as I most certainly would have if there was any suggestion of unnecessary officiousness, Mr. Barnbrook asked if they could provide a statement of what they were required to do. It has taken a very long time to get it.
Chief Inspector Ian Broadbridge of Bexley police wrote to Mick last week as follows…
I can confirm I have statements with declaration in accordance with the Criminal Procedures Rules, Criminal Justice Act and Magistrates Courts Act signed by PC Kelly, Arthurs and Mal Chivers on the 22nd March, 2nd April and 13th May 2014 respectively. All statements support the attendance note of Mal Chivers (A copy of which you have in your possession), of the incident in the Council chamber on the 19th June 2014 (sic).
The Chief Inspector specifically says that the two PCs were asked to eject five or six males from the council chamber. This statement is designed to protect the lying Cheryl Bacon. It does not make sense in the light of newspaper reports at the time, the council's own document written the day after the incident, the police’s own statement to the press, several statements by honest councillors and the blogs published here within hours of the incident. Mr. Barnbrook is right now constructing his allegation of Misconduct in Public Office which he will send to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. At a public meeting I heard CI Broadbridge say that he was within two years of retirement and was hoping for an uneventful exit. He isn’t going to get one now is he?
For reasons that have not been covered today, Chief Superintendent Peter Ayling will be similarly accused of Misconduct. He joins his predecessors Stringer and Olisa.
Just for the record, Chief Executive Will Tuckley has not yet responded to the letter dated 17th April which informs him of the willingness of several councillors to speak the truth. i.e. that Cheryl Bacon’s account of what happened in the council chamber on 19th June 2013 was nothing like the truth. Councillor Cheryl Bacon lied. Does anyone believe otherwise?
Index to related blogs and documents.