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Pembroke: Councillor charged with child sex offences to retain seat

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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.

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Success for pupils on A-Level results day

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THE OVERALL Pembrokeshire pass rate at A-Level was 96.6% compared with the Wales national average of 97.4%.

Nationally there has been a slight decrease in the pass rate compared with last year.

The percentage of pupils gaining A* and A grades in Pembrokeshire was 20.2% compared to a Welsh average of 26.3%.

There has been a good improvement in the percentage of pupils achieving A* and A grades since last year in Ysgol Greenhill School at 24.3%, Sir Thomas Picton School at 24.7% and Tasker Milward School at 30.3%.

The overall Pembrokeshire pass rate at AS-Level this year was 85.2% compared to a national average of 90%.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Director for Children and Schools, Kate Evan-Hughes, said: “Most of our students have achieved the outcomes they require to take the next steps in their journey whether that is university, apprenticeship or employment.

“It is good to see improvements being made in a number of our schools, particularly at the higher grades of A*/A in Tasker Milward, Sir Thomas Picton and Ysgol Greenhill School.

“We are pleased that the strategies to support the most able and talented learners continue to show good results.”

Councillor David Lloyd, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “We continue to work committedly with our schools to achieve better outcomes for learners in Pembrokeshire. We are confident of achieving this.

“It is especially reassuring to see successes in particular schools for our most able pupils. At the same time where there are weaknesses we will acknowledge them and dedicate bespoke resources to remedy them.

“In conclusion I would like to wish all students every success with their future ventures and thank the teaching staff for their ongoing commitment to our young people.”

SCHOOL A*-A A*-E
Ysgol Greenhill School 24.3 95.7
Milford Haven School 9.0 96.2
Pembroke School 11.0 99.0
Sir Thomas Picton School 24.7 95.8
Tasker Milward School 30.3 95.5
Ysgol Bro Gwaun 5.5 92.7
Ysgol Dewi Sant 13.0 98.6
Ysgol Y Preseli 24.8 97.9
Pembrokeshire (overall) 20.7 96.6
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Saundersfoot: Two elderly people allegedly assaulted

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POLICE are investigating an allegation of assault which occurred at approximately 10.30pm on Saturday, August 4.

Two elderly people were assaulted by a male. One of the victims required hospital treatment.

A 20-year-old male was quickly arrested in connection with the incident and has been released under investigation.

PC Corissa Smith said: “This was an isolated incident and officers quickly arrested a man. We are appealing for any witnesses to come forward.

“We are especially looking to speak to a female who may have had contact with the male suspect moments before the incident.

“She is described as being in her mid to late twenties, large build, with blonde hair and wearing dark clothing. She may have been with a smaller female friend.”

Anyone with information that can help officers with their investigation is asked to report it by calling 101. If you are Deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Haverfordwest: Lorry blocks Clay Lane

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A LORRY has blocked Clay Lane in Haverfordwest this morning (Aug 16) shortly before 9am.

Motorists reported a delay on the road and were forced to turn around.

Several large vehicles have blocked the road over the last year.

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