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Editor Tom Sinclair’s appeal adjourned for a fifth time



A SECOND judge stepped down from hearing the appeal of Herald editor Tom Sinclair at Swansea Crown Court today (Jan 12).

The 38 year old is appealing against a conviction for allowing a story to be published in the Ceredigion Herald in 2016 which could have led to the identification of the victim of a sexual offence – a failed attempt at voyeurism.

As the offending article from The Ceredigion Herald was read out in court, His Honour Peter Heywood QC realised that he had heard the failed appeal of the would-be voyeur and therefore had to recuse himself.

“A very unfortunate co-incidence… I would feel uncomfortable sitting on this case” he said.

Last year his colleague, His Honour Paul Thomas QC, also had to stop proceedings and call an adjournment because deputy editor Jon Coles – a likely witness in the case – is known to him personally.  They previously worked in the legal profession together when Judge Thomas was a barrister.

After a period of uncertainty, a third judge, His Honour Keith Thomas QC, was made available to hear the case.

The court heard how the victim of the sex crime had not been aware of the article in the newspaper – and was only made aware when contacted by a police officer. That officer had obtained copy of The Ceredigion Herald from The National Library of Wales after the sex offender’s solicitor complained to the police.

Judge Keith Thomas, sitting with two magistrates, rejected the first limb of the appeal when he ruled that the court report had contained so much detail that the victim could have been identified, even if only by family, friends and those who already knew something about her family.

Sinclair argued that he knew nothing about the report until he was made aware that police were investigating a complaint and wanted to interview him.

He said the Ceredigion Herald had been part of the Pembrokeshire, Llanelli and Carmarthen Herald group and as editor of all four titles all stories would be emailed to him before publication – but only as a way of searching out the important stories and deciding the layout of the first 20 pages. It would have been impossible for him to have read and edited 1000 articles per week himself, he claimed.

He said that a time sheet maintained by a security guard at the group’s main premises in Milford Haven showed he had left the building on June 23, 2016, at 11.26am – before the report had been emailed to him.

He then travelled to Heathrow airport for a flight to Oman to try to raise business investment.

Consequently, he had not had any editorial input in relation to the article.

But cross examined by Craig Jones for the CPS, responding to the appeal, he agreed he had not mentioned to the interviewing police officer anything about a trip to Oman on the day in question or about an unread email.

“Are you simply trying to wriggle out of your responsibility,” asked Mr Jones.

“Is the reality that you did see the article?

Sinclair said: “No, I didn’t see the article. I had my main man nurturing the court reporter and checking her articles. It was agreed that Jon Coles would check her articles but with me having the final say.”

Sinclair said that on previous occasions when he made a mistake he admitted it – such as when he printed an article naming the 17 year old captain who crashed his fishing boat.

He agreed he had told the police officer that in his opinion the article “sailed close to the wind, but by the skin of its teeth its ok.”

The court decided it needed to hear evidence from Mr Coles, who will connect to the court on January 22 by video link with Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court. The hearing was adjourned until then.

Sinclair said in court that negative publicity surrounding the case led to an impact on advertising sales, which was one of the reasons why he decided to close the print edition of The Ceredigion Herald to concentrate on online news in that region.


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Funeral of Kiara Moore to take place on her birthday



Jet Moore: With his daughter, Kiara

THE FUNERAL of Kiara Moore, the two-year-old who tragically died in the River Teifi in Cardigan on Monday (Mar 19), will take place on Tuesday (Mar 27).

The date would have been her third birthday.

Announcing the funeral on Facebook, her father, Jet Moore, said: “Kiara’s funeral and party will be held on the 27th March.

“Myself, Kim and family would like to invite you all to either the funeral and party for her happy life and birthday! (or just be have a thought for her on this day and make some one happy).”

“Please bring kids if you can! We are keeping it a happy celebration.”

The funeral will take place at Parc Gwyn Crematorium in Narberth, then the Fostrasell Arms in Llandysul.

Jet went on to say that the family want to set up a trust in Kiara’s name to ‘support people who are sad (metal health) and the outdoor environment’.

He added: “So please do not buy flowers but donate money to this and we will make happy experiences for 100s and 1000s I hope!”

Dyfed-Powys Police have said that enquiries are ongoing into the incident, and have warned online ‘trolls’ to be aware of what they post.

A spokesperson said: “Enquiries are continuing to fully understand the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident.

“Examination of the vehicle will form part of these enquiries.

“We can also confirm that the vehicle had not been stolen.

“We are aware of potentially malicious comments relating to the incident on social media. These are being reviewed and action may be taken where appropriate.”

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Audit Committee will not make police response public



MEMBERS of the Audit Committee have given an undertaking not to disclose a letter from Dyfed-Powys Police relating to the Commercial Property Grants Scheme in Pembroke Dock.

The Committee met today (Mar 23), where it discussed the response from Dyfed-Powys Police after they agreed to write to them, complaining about the delay in the investigation.

At their previous meeting in January, the committee also resolved to ask a member of the police force to attend the next meeting to give an update.

Detective Super Intendent Shane Williams attended the meeting and asked members not to disclose the letter to the wider public as it may prejudice the criminal proceedings or the right to a fair trial.

However the Council’s Head of Legal Services, Mrs Claire Incledon, told the committee that, in her opinion, the letter was in the public domain and that they would not be able to withhold the letter should an FOI request be made.

Members of the committee resolved that they would not make the letter available to the wider public.

DSI Shane Williams told the committee of a number of interviews that had taken place and said: “Fraud is sometimes complex and does take some time. I am not saying that 25 months is acceptable.”

He went on to say that a meeting was held with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in November 2017 when they asked for further work to be done.

DSI Williams said that the work was nearing completion and that another meeting would be arranged ‘sooner rather than later’ to discuss whether or not to press charges.

He added: “The investigation has taken longer than anticipated but we will be putting some impetus behind this. This is a CPS decision but it is public money and there has been an indication dishonesty or fraud and there should be prosecution.”

Cllr Jacob Williams referred to the letter on several occasions which states that WEFO are the victims in this case but DSI Williams added that Pembrokeshire County Council were also the victims.

When pressed for a response as to why only WEFO were included as victims, DSI Williams said: “From the initial complaint WEFO were the victim but we became aware that that PCC were paying back grant money and therefore had a claim as the victim.”

Audit Committee chairman Tony Baron said it was his impression that they were weeks away from a conclusion and that they should take a view that the letter should not be published until that time.

Chief Executive Ian Westley said it was an ‘option’ for members as there might not be a robust legal defence if they were asked to circulate the letter and they refused.

Cllr Cris Tomos moved that a vote be taken on keeping the letter private but members indicated they would not be prepared to take such a vote.

The Committee resolved to thank DSI Williams for attending and gave an undertaking that they would not make the letter public.

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Milford Haven: Police appealing for information after window smashed



POLICE are appealing for information after a glass window was smashed at a Milford Haven property.

On Tuesday (Mar 20) at approximately 7:30pm, an object was thrown at the front ground floor window at a property on Priory Road, Milford Haven, causing the outer glass panel to smash.

Police say a large number of youths were seen in the area when the incident occurred.

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “Anyone with information is asked to contact Milford Haven police station via 101.”

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