Boo Hoo My Little Cockroachy…

Boo Hoo my little Cockroachy friend, face it, you just lost.  So now I can answer you back for the rubbish you have slung at me and my pals for the last year and a half, and you can’t do anything about it…  You poor boy…  What will you do?  Will you have to come out from under the rock where you live and climb into the sunshine?  So the article in the Camberley News on the front page (CambNewsheadline 04.10.12) pretty much says it all, the case against me was crushed like a bug.  It is amazing that you could be dumb enough to say that I wasn’t exonerated, because I was.  And it was no technicality, it was a National Precedent-Setting judgment.  The actual judgment has been published nationally, so go see for yourself.  You say that Democracy is harmed?  Hardly…  You want to have free speech, but you certainly don’t want anyone else to…

So, why don’t you go to your left wing buddies at the “Leftie of Lightwater Blog?”  Oh that’s right you were banned from there… So why don’t  you go to the Surrey Heath Residents Network?  Oh that’s right you’ve been banned from there too…  So why don’t you do a blast on Twitter?  Oh that’s right you had only 2 followers on Twitter when I last checked, the other 42 people banned you…  Oh sorry, looks like Twitter shut you down entirely…

Do us all a favour, crawl back to Windsor…

Cockroach-0 Yank-1

So, the Yank is back from the abyss of Councillor Standards Committee Hell… Here’s the press release:

SHBC COUNCILLOR DAVID ALLEN OVERTURNS MISCONDUCT CHARGE IN LANDMARK COURT JUDGMENT

On the 11th May 2012 the Surrey Heath Borough Council Standards Committee ruled that Councillor David Allen had violated the Council’s Code of Conduct by a posting in his blog “Who Let the Yank in” comments about a Labour Activist named Kevin Cochrane. This was overturned by Judge Sally Lister in a First-Tribunal hearing on 28th September 2012.

After the judgment in May, Cllr. Allen appealed the matter to the first-tier tribunal, and received approval from His Honour Judge David Laverick to take the matter forward. The matter was heard on Friday the 28th September 2012 by a panel of 2 civilians and one Judge, Her Honour Judge Sally Lister presiding. Judge Lister, in an extensive judgment, found that Cllr. Allen was not acting in any official capacity in his role as councillor by blogging and , that his comments were entirely political in nature, and as such entirely outside of the Councillor’s Code of Conduct.

The case has large national significance in regard to how Councils across the country deal with Councillors who have strong opinions. Both Judges Laverick and Lister have rendered a number of significant judgments over the last 2 years about where the “official capacity” role of councillors and elected officials starts and stops. Councils have long used their “codes of conduct” to muzzle any dissenting councillors who they consider “out of line”. This was the first time that the court received the chance to rule on a purely political blog.

The courts have now given very narrow definition to the matter of “Official Capacity”. Cllr Allen had this to say outside the courts in London: “Thank God we now have some definition as to when and where we are acting in our official capacity as councillors. The old guard bureaucrats in the system want to hold the code of conduct over you like a Sword of Damocles to keep you in line in case you were to say or do anything they think is improper. Well that day is now over… Once you are elected, the act of breathing no longer means you are acting in an official capacity…”

The SHBC councillors on the Standards Committee making the judgment against Cllr Allen were: Mayor Bruce Mansell and Cllrs. Ian Sams from Frimley, Valerie White from Bagshot, and Ken Pedder from Camberley. The complaint by the Council Standards Committee was about a specific blog page, but the council put forward its case by bringing in evidence from across most all of the pages of the blog, essentially attempting to “put on trial” Cllr. Allen’s entire blog. In the end, Judge Lister refused consideration of all the pages that were not part of the official complaint (the 1 page of the blog with the comments), which collapsed the Council’s case in its entirety.

That aside, the Judge took the opportunity in her judgment to clarify in great detail the concept of when a councillor is acting in his/her official capacity. With each successive judgment on this issue over the last two years it has become narrower and narrower. The specific detail of the judgment is available from the First-Tribunal Legal Service, part of the Department of Justice, case Number: LGS/2012/0587.