The lady raised a standards complaint against Mr Hart and he was removed as chairman of the committee. Whilst I was shocked that Tory group didn't suspend Mr Hart, I was assured that this was merely because they wanted to hear the outcome of the Standards committee. Sadly this has just been released and it seems that they have taken leave of their senses and produced a complete whitewash. Hart has been exhonourated and it seems that it is all the fault of the lady herself for not sitting quietly during the meeting.
Here is the verdict.
(a) that the facts found and accompanying details are not sufficient to warrant a finding that paragraph 3(1) of the Code (You must treat other with respect), has been breached. There is no doubt that Councillor John Hart was unwise to repeat the complainant’s words whilst imitating her voice (section 4.7.3(b) of the Investigator’s report) and that this is a reprehensible occurrence which he should never repeat. However, the Sub-Committee do not consider that the circumstances surrounding it warrant a conclusion that what Councillor John Hart did was sufficiently abusive, offensive or direct to come within the criteria set out by the decided cases. The Sub-Committee makes the same point regarding Councillor John Hart saying to the complainant that she could take up any complaint with the Race Relations Council. Councillor John Hart’s remarks were unpleasant and unnecessary but that in itself is not sufficient to justify a finding of failure to show respect given the standard set by judges in the High Court and the statutory tribunals. This conclusion is further endorsed by the requirement set by the courts and tribunals to take into account the accompanying circumstances. In this instance, the finding that the complainant and a regular number of other persons at, and prior to, this meeting had made the chairing of the meetings difficult at times by virtue of their conduct (section 4.7.3(e) of the Investigator’s report), significantly weakens any justification there might have been for finding a breach of paragraph 3(1);
The committee went on to reject the complaint.
Doesn't it occur to the committee that the complainant wasn't on trial? She hadn't signed up to a code of conduct like Hart and she didn't receive a huge allowance like Hart for chairing the committee. All such committee's have people attending who can be difficult. This ruling states that racial abuse is acceptable if members of the public regularly attend and annoy the chairman of the committee.
As far as I'm concerned, this judgement is a complete disgrace and a new low point for Barnet Council. I am truly disgusted.