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The police officer investigating the allegation of Misconduct in Public Office against councillor Cheryl Bacon and the two senior council officers who supported her false account of the events of 19th June 2013 has said that when he has completed his investigations he will refer the case to police solicitors to get a ruling on two things…
• That the offence of Misconduct in Public Office can be levelled against a councillor.
• That lying in Public Office is a crime that can lead to conviction.
A month ago I put forward the personal view that Cheryl Bacon would not be prosecuted on the grounds that a politician lying cannot be a crime or the jails would be overflowing. An anonymous correspondent has belatedly suggested that I do a little research into my supposition.
The Crown Prosecution Service website revealed that councillors can face charges of Misconduct in Public Office…
Click image for source web page
SSo that seems to answer the Greenwich police's first question. Cheryl Bacon is answerable to a charge pf Misconduct in Public Office; but is lying a crime?
The suffix in the image above is the clue. R v Speechley (2004).
William James Speechley was a councillor, leader in fact, at Lincolnshire County Council. He pulled a fast one over the realignment of a road which bounded his property and was found guilty and given a prison sentence.
His legal team appealed and one of their three reasons was there was no case to answer. viz. Lying isn't a crime. The appeal judges ruled as follows…
The Appeal was thrown out.
So there it is enshrined in law courtesy of three Appeal Judges at the Royal Courts of Justice in November 2004. A councillor who lies can be found guilty of Misconduct in Public Office, and no one at Bexley council has lied more than councillor Cheryl Bacon.
Perhaps the former deputy leader of Bexley council, Colin Campbell should have been accused as well. He went on TV and quite literally did not once say something that was truthful. As he wasn’t at the meeting in question one can only assume that someone fed him all those lies.
Something similar happened in the Speechley case too…
Finally I must apologise for some lax wording in the report on this case dated 9th January. It said that all the councillor witnesses had become reluctant to attend their interviews at Plumstead police station. I now understand that only two have so far been invited. The blog has been suitably modified.