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Pembroke: Councillor charged with child sex offences to retain seat



THE COUNCIL ward of Pembroke St Mary North still has a representative after it was revealed that Cllr Dai Boswell, referred to in Thursday’s (Mar 8) Full Council meeting as Cllr X, has complied with the attendance requirements.

It was believed that Cllr Boswell had not been present at a meeting of the council since August 14, 2017 and the Council had been urged to declare his seat vacant.

However, the council took external advice from James Goudie QC, who believed that a meeting, held on November 22, 2017, which Cllr Boswell attended, did constitute a council meeting.

Members went along with the recommendation of the Monitoring Officer who stated that Section 86 of the Local Government Act could not lawfully be invoked.

Dai Boswell was elected as Councillor for the Pembroke St Mary North Electoral Division in 2017 but has failed to attend the legal minimum number of meetings in order to keep his seat.

Mr Boswell is also facing trial for historic allegations of child sex abuse, a completely separate issue to his failure to comply with attendance requirements.

The Council’s Monitoring Officer has taken the position that a seminar and other meetings, which Mr Boswell has attended, does count as a council meeting, and therefore he should remain a councillor, something which was questioned by the Association of Labour Councillors.

They have sent two letters to the Council, urging them to declare Mr Boswell’s seat vacant, but have yet to have a reply from the Council’s legal department.

If seminars were Council meetings, the Council’s Legal Department would have been able to provide minutes of those meetings.

Council meetings, by law, are subject to rules in relation to publishing the agenda, setting out the timetable, clear rules in regards to voting, and minute taking but these rules do not apply to seminars.

Councillors have also been a sent a document by the monitoring officer, warning them not to say anything which might prejudice criminal proceedings.

The matter was brought to a head at the Full Council meeting on Thursday (Mar 8), where a question from a Mr D Edwards was read out.

He asks: “Does the Leader agree with the Monitoring Officer’s view that non advertised, informal, unminuted, private, members only seminars are meetings as described in Section V para 85 (2) of the Local Government Act 1972?”

The leader, Cllr David Simpson responded saying that it was difficult to recognise the members seminar as a meeting as set out by the Local Government Act of 1972.

But, he went on to say that having received the advice of QC Mr James Goudie he was contempt to accept that attendance at Seminars does satisfy the attendance requirements.

Cllr Simpson also referred to a meeting hosted jointly by the Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in November 22, 2017, which Cllr Boswell attended.

Later on in the meeting, members were asked to discuss the Pembroke St Mary North Electoral Division in private session.

Councillors instead decided that the matter should be held in public and in a recorded vote, 26 voted to go into private session, with 31 voting against.

Cllr Josh Beynon said he disagreed with the Monitoring Officer’s opinion and said the matter was all about interpretation.

Cllr Mike Stoddart said if the Richardson case was correct anyone could get elected, never come to a meeting and after five years pick up a salary of £65,000 for attending 10 meetings of a planning committee as a spectator, adding: “If that is the law, it needs changing.”

Cllr Jacob Williams said: “The first set of advice was very unclear but there was a complete change of tone in the second one. The Monitoring Officer was not aware of the Green Infrastructure meeting and the budget seminar that Cllr X attended.

“What’s happened since is an attempt to bolster this council’s view.

“The Green event is the one the QC is pinning the most weight on. The LUC was appointed to advise the council and the QC places a lot of weight on this as an important event. This was not open to the public, not open to councillors, it was a select few that were invited by the company.”

Cllr Mike Stoddart concluded by saying that Cllr X had complied with the law and therefore section 85 of the Local Government Act should not be invoked.

That was supported by all but one member, Cllr Rhys Sinnett, who abstained from the vote.


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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