There is no criticism of Councillor Maxine Fothergill in this blog.
I had hoped that Mr. Watson whose email to Bexley Council threatening Judicial Review was placed on BiB yesterday would be able to produce the evidence that there was no written complaint against Councillor Maxine Fothergill. He came up trumps.
John sent me a copy of an email dated 18th April 2016 from Lynn (I’m still being considered by the CPS for a charge of Misconduct in Public Office) Tyler, who works for Akin (I’m not really a solicitor) Alabi; Bexley’s top legal officer.
Lynn Tyler considers that the complainant is “frail and vulnerable”. An intermediary I sent to speak to the elderly lady’s friend said she had a heart problem and stress was best avoided but she is alert and mercifully free from significant mental degeneration.
However Bexley Council considered the old lady to be incapable of a written complaint and sent a Social Worker to interview her “to establish the allegations in full”.
That report was “conveyed to the Council Officer” and “an Investigating Officer was appointed”. He discovered that the Social Worker’s report had not “established the allegations in full” because two more were added to the list.
Bexley Council considers that the Investigating Officer’s report is a written complaint from a member of the public. “Thus the Committee had before it, as required, details of the allegations in writing.”
This is the same procedure as that adopted by Ms. Tyler following Councillor Cheryl Bacon’s mishandling of the Scrutiny meeting she chaired in June 2013. She prepared four statements on behalf of Bacon and three Council Officers. They were neither signed nor dated and in one case the Council Officer didn’t have a clue that ‘his statement’ existed when shown a copy.
All four statements were amateur jobs unworthy of anyone with legal experience and, as tends to happen when lies are committed to paper, were riddled with inconsistencies. One was altered nearly a year later to better support Bexley Council’s dishonesty. Greenwich police (Bexley cannot be trusted to investigate their masters) took months to unravel all the false statements and submit their case to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Ms. Tyler went on to say in her email of 18th April that being unable to write a complaint does not preclude making one. One might have some sympathy with that view if she was dealing with a genuine illiterate but if she is suggesting that an elderly adult is sufficiently demented as to be incapable of stringing words together with a pen it casts some doubt on the legal validity of the complaint especially when no one thought to obtain a signature. But unsigned statements appear to be a regular feature of Ms. Tyler’s work. With her boss not being a solicitor one can easily imagine how such legal norms are overlooked in Bexley.
John Watson has suggested that if the complainant is really as frail and vulnerable as Ms. Tyler has stated she could be easily manipulated by a corrupt Council and that is what Bexley has so often proved to be.
Mr. Alabi has said in a letter dated 28th March 2016 that Mr. Watson “has no standing” to make a complaint about any breach of correct procedure and that only Councillor Fothergill can do so but as he is not a qualified solicitor his advice is worth no more than yours or mine. Personally I doubt I would be forbidden to report a crime against a neighbour but in Bexley things can be very odd. The police here claimed that only Bexley Council could report a crime when its last Conservative Leader put his hand in the till. And Bexley Council decided they would rather protect him than embarrass him. Most of the money was never repaid.