Thursday 10 September 2009

Roger Tichborne vs Councillor Brian Coleman - Vindicated

So there we have it. Brian Coleman was found guilty of breaching the standards code. The most interesting part of the summing up was that the Standards committee will beef up the standards training for councillors. I suspect that they recognised that this was deficient and that this was Colemans getout. Am I disappointed that they didn't suspend him? I'm disappointed that they missed a golden opportunity to send a strong message to councillors about treating people with respect. Having said that, if they felt that he wasn't properly trained in dealing with the public, then it is as much a failing of the council as it is of Coleman, so I suppose it was fair.

As to the process, I felt that it was totally weighted against the complainant (ie ME). I was not allowed to address the panel, wheras Coleman's highly expensive solicitor was. His solicitor was also allowed to ask him questions. I had no such opportunity. I had no chance to tell the panel about all the porkies Coleman told in his testimony or even on Vanessa Feltz this morning. I had to listen to my reputation being trashed for an hour, with no right of reply. Can this be fair? Can this be right. I honestly believe that had I been able to make my case, as Coleman could, through his ten grand solicitor, a harsh penalty would have been applied.

I've not been able to comment publicly on the case until now. With this restriction lifted, let me tell you about the lies Brian Coleman told to the investigator in his testimony. These are only the most serious. This is taken from a letter I sent the investigator. You can cross reference this against Colemans statement in the info on the Council website here. I've alredy dealt with the Vanessa Feltz porkerlies, these are ones he told a STANDARDS INVESTIGATOR who was interviewing him back in May. Apparantly, there is no sanction for "economy with the truth".

Page 42, 2nd Para.
BC …. “He turns up I believe at virtually every residents forum in the borough and tries to get up and attack the chairman of those residents’ forums and me and the leader of the council at public meetings, touring the Borough to talk to residents at meetings so he is not restricted to his blog”

I have only ever attended three resident forum meetings. I have detailed these in various blogs. I understand that they are bi monthly in each of the three wards (approx 18 per year in Barnet). Hardly obsessive attendance. I also dispute Mr Colemans description of my input to the meetings. This is usually on subjects such as the condition of Council maintained football pitches etc.

Page 38 Para 2
BC : “I will just tell you, the Leader of the Council has been cleared by the standards board on these remarks. Therefore I understand the Leader has had a similar complaint made from Mr Tichborne and the Standards Committee have said that there is nothing specific about those remarks against individuals so I can’t quite see why”

I have not made a standards complaint against Mr Freer. I have only made one complaint. That is about Mr Coleman. Mr Colemans statement is demonstrably untrue.

Page 34 Last Para
BC: “It is said he is regularly campaigning for Labour candidates. I think he even stood himself in the past for the Council I believe.”

I’ve never stood for Council. This is easily verifiable. I’ve delivered leaflets once in 10 years. That is the sum of my official activity for the Labour Party.

Page 34 Para 7
BC “I think he is pure poison actually, and I have said so. He is pure poison in a democratic process in the London Borough of Barnet and he really is a poisonous individual. I say what he tried to do to Councillor Braun over some minor matter of a shed in a garden. He wrote abuse about her.”

Councillor Braun was the chair of the Hendon Area planning committee. As such, one would expect her to follow the rules when carrying out modifications to her property. The size, scale and position of the structure meant that it required planning permission, which she didn’t apply for, despite objections from neighbours. I expect Councillors to consider themselves bound by the same rules as everyone else. Shortly after this episode was publicised in the press, she lectured the parents of a sick child, who erected a structure without permission, about the fact that the rules apply to everyone, even those with sick children. The Edgware Times published a letter from me highlighting this seeming double standard. If it had been unfair or abusive, the Times would not have published it.
Page 37 Para 9.
BC “He accused the Leader of only doing things for the Jewish community”

In my 2nd blog on Blogspot, I detail how Barnet Council posted a Youtube video, where a “local resident” accuses the Council of “only doing things for the Jewish Community”.
I strongly objected to video being posted by the Council. It was as a result of my criticism of the Council, that I stopped writing for the Hendon Times(they felt my comments were too strident). I also recently criticised the Council Leader for holding a Leader Listens meeting in Golders Green on a Saturday morning, as this excluded observant Jewish voters. Mr Colemans description of me as “straying into areas of anti-semitism” is completely untrue and completely unfair.

BC “We have left all that but the Watling Festival was an occasion where he tried to engage me in conversation and I did not want to have a conversation with him. He kept coming up then he emailed me because I did say this…”

I was organising an under 10 - 5 a side football tournament at the Watling Festival. Mr Coleman was touring the site with the festival organiser, Patti Skeats. I approached Patti, as I needed to collect the trophy at that time. Mr Coleman said “Hello Roger, how are you” before I could say anything. We chatted for approximately 2 minutes about the Darlands Nature reserve, as I had a friend who was interested in getting involved and Mr Coleman is in charge of this. I later emailed Mr Coleman, purely to ask for a quote as to what a good job the festival organisers do for the blog. I assume he read the text, so he knows that. We have only spoken on one other occasion that I can recall. I served him a glass of wine at John Keeble church during the Mill Hill Music Festival I 2007 and he said “Thank you”. The implication that I stalk him in public is most unfair. My daughter is a National swimming champion and I have avoided several Barnet Civic functions where she has been honoured, due to Mr Coleman’s attendance. The opposite is true.

One last thing, Mr Coleman says I can dish it out, but can't take it. The reason I raised the complaint was because I felt that some Tory Councillors held the public in contempt. Colemans email was just a single example. The Standards Sub Committee completely agreed with me about this. That is why they will beef up the training. That is why the process was worthwhile. It has identified yet another area where Barnet doesn't do things properly. Because of my complaint, this will be fixed.

That is a good result. That makes the effort worthwhile.


Brian Coleman aka Mr Toad has GOT to go said...

Rog - you're a star!

Its Coleman who can dish it out but not take it:

Still, a great result, despite the lack of punishment. Surely Boris will sack him now. Surely his local party will deselect him now. Won't they? How much embarrassment can the Tories stand from him?

Hats off to Rog T.

Crusty said...

Well done Rog, I think it was a fair result. We shall see in the longer term if it has a positive impact on the behaviour of our local councillors or not.

Paul D. Hogan said...

Well in Rog! Victory for the common blogger!

Don't Call Me Dave said...


What does that say about the calibre of councillor in this borough that they need to be trained not to call residents liars or wankers?

And if the training is not compulsory, can you imagine Coleman attending?

Anonymous said...

Youtube coverage :)


P33LER said...

I've invited "Bri" and Mike to Sunday footy - hope you dont mind.
btw ? who foots his solicitor bill ?