(Cllr Patrick Heesom’s tribunal. Day 57? )

Tuesday at 2pm, the Panel reconvened at the Village hotel after many months delay. At the same time, in County Hall, Flintshire County cllrs were about to agree a new way of dealing with alleged breaches of their codes of conduct. The Ombudsman for Wales finally accepted all allegations against cllrs need no longer be sent automatically to his office for judgement. A local resolution strategy is to be introduced to deal with alleged breaches, leaving only the more serious cases to go to the Ombudsman.

The scheme is years overdue Mr Ombudsman. I told the Chief Executive in his office five years ago, that this was how Cllr Patrick Heesom should have his alleged code breach dealt with. Let the Group Leaders & the local Standards Panel rule first. To involve the Public services officer for Wales. (PSOW), would all end in tears.

This marathon tribunal, some 58 days stale & still unending; will certainly end in tears. But whose? Certainly the taxpayer who will some day be asked to pay the enormous cost of the arrogance of the Ombudsman, his biased procedures and of his Adjudication Panel teammates. Grinning Chair, District Judge Hywel James ably supported by best mate, deputy judge, J Peter Davies & one lay lady who knows a thing or two about the NHS!

The circus Ringmaster had handed down the Panel’s “Finding of Fact” by email on 4th June, all 404 pages & then formally again on 17th June. But naughty barrister Michael Murphy & lawyer Martin Howe for Patrick spoilt the party by responding with their own huge legal submission. It was soon very clear, as legal arguments raged, that Judge James “Finding of Facts” was considered much more akin to “Finding of Fiction”? Well, the bits I read using skills honed in 30 years as a Bobby, with my capacity to scan fast even if pages are upside down; were sheer “Alice in Wonderland” storytelling. The part of the “Facts”, I have personal knowledge of because I was at the meeting. I gave my truthful version of events at my earlier Tribunal. Only the evidence of junior officers, the mendacious Susan Lewis and the Chief Executive was believed.

The SIX cllrs from different political parties, including my own testimony given previously on oath; were not! Most cllrs present at the Housing Selection Panel had never been interviewed by the investigating officer. They submitted themselves for cross examination rather than allow the truth to be ignored.

More fiction had been uncovered. Patrick’s lawyers doggedly refused to accept the serious allegation that Patrick had threatened Director Carl Longland. They argued there was just no evidence to support this criminal allegation in any part of the case. Not in any witnesses testimony, any emails or in any statements. Pure fiction. Trying to recover the initiative, Ringmaster James pointed out that Barrister Murphy’s legal submission contained a semi-colon but the wording of the Act did not. Wow! What an error. Bring on the clowns. Further fuss was made over the allegedly missing 200 appendixes! “Look behind you, Mr Judge, the Panel had them already”.

A wheel, if not all of them on the wagon of injustice being steered by the Ringmaster and his bear baiting colleague: may have now fallen off completely. The great Opus Magnum Judge James felt he had delivered with unquestionable authority seems now to be a damp squib. It was due to be placed on the web. Don’t waste time searching. It’s not there. Second thoughts maybe?

The collective wages and costs of accommodation, translation-services, hourly rates for lawyers etc per day at each Panel session must run into thousands. The Panel gobbled this level of expenditure for four such days during on and off deliberations in this week alone and frankly, appeared to achieve two tenths of “Bugger all”. No judgement has yet been made. No breach decided and no sanction handed down.

Patrick, having been under the Ombudsman’s cosh has been at the mercy of this shocking system for over five years, must endure again till mid July for the Panel to re-convene.

Panel watchers feel that the circus is in deep “doodoo!” The normal standard of proof for tribunals is “balance of probabilities”, far easier to prove than the higher criminal standard of “beyond reasonable doubt”. If Messrs James & J Peter Davies feel the distinguished law firm of Martin Howe, of 30 years practice in human rights; will allow them to take away Cllr Heesom’s elected role on such flimsy evidence as contained in the Panel’s findings, the Panel should be in a circus after all.

The challenge has been thrown down. Take our boy’s reputation away by believing only witnesses for the prosecution and ignoring the rest, then a higher court will be invited to pass judgement.

I throw down a challenge too. The judge ruled that the transcripts I have waited three years to obtain so I can prove perjury; would be released when the tribunal ended. The judge seemed to think it had ended on 25th June after his “Finding of Fact was delivered and he seemed to suggest that the Panel was now disbanded. But wait, the judge has seemingly reneged on this promise. Now, I must seek their release which according to his faithful crew cut sporting Clerk, this is by no means a certainty. “Tell the judge” I snapped, “he is denying me justice”. “They are in the public domain. To withhold them is a malfeasance.”

Stephen Phipps went very red. That makes two of us. I’m red with anger over the antics of these men who are paid well to sit in judgement on their peers. Both men also hold various distinguished posts. Roll the circus on to the Court of Human Rights and soon. Unbiased decisions by fair minded lawyers are the only way forward. No elected councillor should be subjected to the shocking ordeal imposed on Patrick Heesom ever again.

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