Yesterday I attended Uxbridge magistrates court to observe the trial of Barnet Councillor Brian Coleman. Mr Coleman had assaulted cafe owner Helen Michael on 20th September 2012. Mr Coleman has spent the last eight months telling anyone who cared to listen all manner of porkies, variously claiming Helen Michael had lunged at him, that she'd attacked him, that she enticed him into parking in a loading bay (????) so she could photograph him, and that he'd not touched her. Various Tories have over the the past eight months repeated versions of Colemans account. Anyone who didn't know Helen would probably assume she was a cross between a Sumo wrestler, Lara Croft and the wicked witch of the West, with the power of mind contol thrown in from his account. Anyone who actually knows Helen and has had the pleasure of her company will know she's 5' nothing, of slight build and unlike Brian Coleman, honest and decent. They will know that she photographed Colemans illegally parked car, not because she sought to harrass him, but because she thought his flouting of parking regulations was hypocritical. She no more expected Coleman to assault her than I would expect the Queen to punch me on the nose if I photographed her at the trooping of the guard.
I was shocked by many things at the trial. The sheer violence of Colemans attack on Helen when shown on the CCTV footage. The lack of remorse from a man, who clearly thinks beating women is fine and dandy. I was shocked by the complete lack of an apology from Coleman. I was shocked by the fact that his lawyer claimed that the CCTV footage did not tally up with Colemans recollection of events. This is the heart of the matter. The man is such a pathalogical liar that he even deluded himself, convincing himself that it was all Helen Michaels fault and that he is the real victim.
In 2009, I took Brian Coleman to the Standards Committee of Barnet Council, following an incident where he sent me an abusive email (copying in every Councillor in Barnet). At the time I said that I did it in the (vain) hope that Brian Coleman might learn he should treat other people with respect. His lawyer spoke of Colemans previous good character and his "devoted public service". I was rather upset that this was allowed to go unchallenged. Coleman was the only Mayor of Barnet to be found guilty of breaching the Council standards code whilst in office. Not only that, but he failed to learn from this, being found guilty of a similar and even more awful case of abusing people by email last year.
Coleman is undoubtedly a bully. After my standards case was heard, I received five phonecalls from victims of Coleman, all of whom told a similar story. They had suffered dreadful treatment at his hands and then been bullied into backing down from their challenge. Another interesting thing was the fact they were all women. Coleman is clearly a misogynist and has a problem with women who stand up to him. Helen Michael was simply the last in a long list of women he has treated in an atrocious manner. In the case of Helen Michael, Coleman picked on the wrong person. Despite all manner of shenanigans, Helen stood firm and saw the challenge through. We are grateful to her for this. Now the world knows exactly what sort of man Coleman is.
There are several points that his council colleagues can no longer fail to acknowledge.
1) Brian Coleman is a pathalogical liar - He can't even be honest with himself.
2) Brian Coleman is a nasty, violent thug, who thinks violence towards women is just fine
3) Brian Coleman has no regard for taxpayers money. Despite knowing that he was guilty, he pretended he was innocent until the very last minute, perhaps hoping Helen Michael would back down.
I reread the blog I posted after my standards hearing today - http://www.barneteye.blogspot.co.uk/2009/09/roger-tichborne-vs-councillor-brian_10.html - Rereading it I was reminded of all the lies Coleman told in his evidence. All of them I could demonstrate to be completely untrue. Many of his colleagues read this and yet said nothing. They cannot ignore it any longer. Whilst Brian Coleman continues to sit as a Councillor, Barnet Council are condoning violence against women. Whilst Coleman remains a councillor, they condone lying to save your ass.
I have one final thing to say. The stress of this case has taken a massive toll on Helen Michael. I doubt I've ever met a more fiesty, stronger woman in my life, but she has suffered a lot. Her spat with Coleman was caused by the damage his parking charges caused her business. She has "taken one" for the whole of Barnet and we should pay her back. All I ask you to do is pop into Cafe Buzz this week and buy a Coffee, a sandwich or a meal. It's a great cafe and the least we as a community can do is give her our full support. Whether you are a fireman, a Barnet FC supporter, a trader, someone who shops in our high streets or car parks or just a decent citizen of Barnet who cares for the truth, we all owe Helen a debt of gratitude for seeing through the case. Lets pay her back. I can guarantee that a trip to Cafe Buzz is a pleasure.