Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

Dowson hits out as complaints dismissed

Published

on

CONTROVERSIAL Pembroke Dock County Councillor Paul Dowson has hit out at his critics after Wales’ Public Services Ombudsman rejected complaints made against him after he spoke out against violence during the Black Lives Matter protests in June.

Cllr Dowson also criticised the decision to illuminate County Hall in purple as a mark of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter campaign, which gained global impetus following the death of a black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis, USA.

The lights at County Hall were switched to purple following a request to the County Council from the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA).

Local authorities in England were asked by England’s Local Government Association to do likewise. Many complied.

Council Leader David Simpson confirmed at last month’s Council meeting that he authorised lighting up County Hall after receiving the WLGA’s request.

Paul Dowson was subjected to a torrent of abuse on social media and his fellow Pembroke Dock county councillor, Joshua Beynon, encouraged his followers to report Cllr Dowson to the Ombudsman for racist remarks he allegedly made.

All of the complaints against Cllr Dowson arising from the matter have now been rejected by the Ombudsman.
Separate complaints made against Cllr Beynon were also dismissed.

Further allegations made by public service workers’ union UNISON regarding posts the union claims originate from social media accounts bearing Cllr Dowson’s name were aired on ITV news last week. Cllr Dowson responded with a forthright interview with BBC Wales on Friday, in which he dismissed claims he was either racist or responsible for posts UNISON complained about.

Cllr Dowson insists that the posts – which The Pembrokeshire Herald has seen and which have been circulated to local Members of the Senedd – are from accounts set up to troll him and damage his reputation.

In a statement on Facebook, Paul Dowson said: ‘My public opposition to PCC supporting Black Lives Matter protests, which saw violent attacks on our police force and which also made a mockery of social distancing laws, inspired Cllr Joshua Beynon to call upon his social media followers suggesting that they report the “rubbish i am talking” to the Ombudsman. Cllr Beynon posted a link they could use to complain and told his followers to ‘pile on the pressure’.

‘As a result, 14 complaints were made to the Ombudsman. In some cases, evidence was manufactured to support complaints. Both the Labour Party and Unison chipped in with their own complaints.

‘I received death threats and was harrassed 24 hours a day 7 days a week for around a month.

‘Today (Tuesday, August 4), I received a decision on the 14th complaint, which like all the complaints that went before them was dismissed with no further action.

‘It has certainly been an eye opener for me.

‘I thought I had seen the best and worst of people throughout my lifetime. But I certainly wasn’t prepared for the depths some people will stoop to in order to punish someone whose opinion isn’t the same as theirs.
‘Fanatical extremism is something we – as a society – have allowed to breed and prosper; we allow some of these people to weaponise the term “racist” and we fear it.

‘I have first hand experience of this new wave of extremism, they won’t silence me or bully me. The police have spent weeks auditing around 600 pages of evidence which I provided them to support a complaint I have made regarding harrassment.

‘All of this because I opposed a violent protest and some purple lights. I will continue to fight for common sense and respect. I will always call out the bullies’.

News

Primary school teacher would ‘moan’ as he touched female pupils, court hears

Published

on

A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher would “moan” while he touched his female pupils in a sexual way, a witness said in Swansea Crown Court.

In total, 11 former pupils, who were all under 13, have come forward and accused James Oulton, 34, of sexually assaulting them.

Oulton denies all the charges – saying the case was a “witch-hunt” and that he had behaved appropriately all times.

One of the pupils, who was in year four at the time, opened day four of the trial by giving evidence via a video link.

The girl told the court: “He would put his arm around by back and backside.”

Under cross examination Chris Clee QC, for the defence, asked the witness: “Did you tell the police that you were touched in an inappropriate way?”

The witness answered: “Yes, teachers should not be touching in that way.”

James Oulton

Asked if what he was doing wrong, the witness replied:

“Yes, very wrong”

In cross examination letters and cards were produced, made the witness whilst in school, where she had said Mr. James Oulton was “the best teacher in the whole world.”

One of the cards said: “You’ve made my life complete”.

Another card said: “Thank you for being so nice, and thanks for everything that you’ve done for me.”

The witness added: “Despite what he did do, he was a good teacher.  

“He used to buy us treats.

“He was nice caring and a sweet and fun teacher – but not what he was doing.

Referring to the cards, she said: “I would definitely not be saying that stuff now.”

Explaining how she told her parents the witness said: “Once I realised that [x] was in his class, I asked her ‘did he do this stuff to you?’

“She said yes.

“I realised more and more it was wrong and it was time to grow up now, and to speak.

“As soon as I found out that this was happening to [x] I stood up and told my parents.

Asked if she had seen inappropriate behaviour happening to anybody else the witness answered: “He did it to most of the girls in the class, but he had his favourites.

Asked if she had spoken to other girls about the touching, the witness said: “Yes, I was just curious was it just me, or was it normal?”

“Teachers should most definitely not be doing that to students.

“Doing what?”, the witness was asked, “You said in your police interview that he would pull you off your chair and make you sit on his lap, is that true?”

“Yes,” was the reply.

“Did you try and stop him?” she was asked.

“Yes, I tried to push him off sometimes and said, ‘get off its weird’, but I didn’t want to make a scene.

“He would make me sit on his lap whilst he was marking my work.”

When asked by the defence barrister how she was sat on her teacher’s lap, and if it was under a desk, the witness answered: “No, not under the desk, as both of our legs wouldn’t fit under.”

The witness also said that when she was sat on the defendant’s knee he would make “a low grunting noise.”

Asked if she had spoken others about this case, the girl said: “Police told my mum and dad that there were very many people involved in the case.

“I thought it was just me and [x] that was going to be at court, I only recently discovered that others had come out.”

A second female pupil was also giving evidence via video link. She was 9-years-old at the time of the alleged offending.

Firstly, a pre-recorded interview was played in court in which the witness said: “My teacher, Mr. Oulton always put his hand up my leg like that and up my t-shirt.”

She added: “If he calls you over and he pulls you onto his lap, if you don’t, he pulls your chair over and makes you.”

“How would he make you?” the QC asked.

“He would grab your arm, push you, and then pull you in”, she replied.

When asked if this was a one off, the witness said that the defendant “did it every day.”

“How would you be sat on his lap?”, she was asked.

“He would have one arm on my stomach, then the other arm would be rubbing my leg.”

“He would swap arms and then put one arm up my t-shirt.”

When asked to clarify if it was under her t-shirt the girl explained: “Yes it was under my t-shirt rubbing his hands up and down.”

The witness added: “If I tried to get up for work, he would just grab my arm.”

“He would make a funny sound like a hissing airplane.”

“We had a helper in the class, and when he came in, he would stop, and then I could go and sit down.”

The trial continues.

Continue Reading

News

New trees planted to help town

Published

on

SEVERAL new trees have been planted on Riverside Avenue in Neyland.

They were planted by Grandiflora, courtesy of the Town Council which recently pledged to plant more trees in the town in an attempt to help the environment.

As well as helping the environment, the trees will prevent vehicles from being parked on the grass verges on Riverside Avenue, which had been severely churned up over the winter and looked unsightly.

The Town Council will be working with Pembrokeshire County Council regarding parking issues in Neyland.

The trees will be tended and watered over the summer period to ensure they reach their maximum potential and enhance the area for residents and visitors alike.

Continue Reading

News

Golden goodbye report likely to be critical

Published

on

A REPORT by Audit Wales into the departure of former CEO Ian Westley is very likely to contain criticism of senior council officers.

In November 2020, Mr Westley left Pembrokeshire County Council with a £95,000 pay-out, something which has been criticised by a number of councillors.

In a document before the Audit and Governance Committee on Tuesday (April 13), it says that termination payments to Chief Officers are routinely examined by Audit Wales but in the case of Mr Westley, the audit team was unable to locate a recorded decision to enter into the settlement agreement which led to a termination payment being made to the Chief Executive.

An Audit Office spokesperson said: “This appeared unusual and therefore the audit team decided to undertake an early examination of the process that resulted in the payment being made.”

No complaints were raised, by councillors or any other body, with Audit Wales but the number of concerns and questions being raised at following council meetings prompted them to commence an audit.

Audit Wales state: “Our audit fieldwork is substantially complete. However due to the complex nature of some of the issues involved we considered it necessary to take some external legal
advice. We are currently considering that advice. 

“In the near future we will draft a document setting out our provisional findings and conclusions. 

“Once this document is ready we will commence a clearance process to confirm factual accuracy. 

“If the document contains criticism of identifiable individuals, in the first instance we will provide those individuals with any extracts of the document that pertain to them. Once
we have confirmed the factual accuracy with individuals, we will send the full draft document to the Council’s Chief Executive to identify any remaining factual inaccuracies. 

“We will only issue the finalised document once the clearance process has been completed. #

“We are unable to provide a definitive timetable for reporting because it will depend on the responses we receive within the clearance process.”

Only a handful of senior officers were involved in the procedure surrounding Ian Westley’s departure.

The inference which can be safely drawn from Audit Wales’ report to the Audit Committee is that some of its content will be critical either of councillors, senior officers, or both.

The process of asking those named to respond is known as Maxwellisation, a legal practice that allows persons who are to be criticised in an official report to respond prior to publication.

The report highlights the exceptional nature of the case at Pembrokeshire County Council and demonstrates the sensitivity of the issues raised.

If senior officers are sharply criticised or found to have failed in their duty to their employer, they will almost certainly have to go.

The council’s interim Chief Executive will read the document after maxwellisation.

It is also likely that the council’s newly appointed Chief Executive, Will Bramble, will have a chance to see it.

The Audit Wales spokesperson added: “We are unable to provide a definitive timetable for reporting because it will depend on the responses we receive within the clearance process. We are unable to respond to queries about our emerging findings whilst the audit is progressing, and until we have finalised our conclusions.”

In January, Cllr Jamie Adams had called for the council to commence an internal investigation into Mr Westley’s departure but that was deferred to allow for the Audit Wales review to be completed.

Cllr Adams said that the decision of payment should have been a ‘democratic decision’ and has asked why that wasn’t the case.

Continue Reading
News15 hours ago

Primary school teacher would ‘moan’ as he touched female pupils, court hears

A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher would “moan” while he touched his female pupils in a sexual way, a witness said...

News18 hours ago

Golden goodbye report likely to be critical

A REPORT by Audit Wales into the departure of former CEO Ian Westley is very likely to contain criticism of...

News2 days ago

Marloes pensioner in child abuse images case

A PENSIONER has been bailed to attend Swansea Crown Court by magistrates sitting in Haverfordwest Law Courts this week. Derek...

News3 days ago

Primary school teacher described as ‘touchy-feely’ on day two of trial

A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher, accused of sexually assaulting his pupils was “very touchy-feely”, Swansea Crown Court heard on the...

Entertainment3 days ago

BAFTA winner Sir Anthony Hopkins visits St. Davids

CELEBRATING his BAFTA win, Sir Anthony Hopkins has been vaccinated and returned to his native country of Wales where he...

News3 days ago

Trial of Haverfordwest primary school teacher starts at Swansea Crown Court

A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher who is accused of sexually abusing eleven children thinks he is a victim of a...

News4 days ago

Kill the Bill protest to take place in Haverfordwest on Saturday

INDIVIDUALS and activists from local groups, including Extinction Rebellion Pembrokeshire, Stand Up to Racism West Wales, Pembrokeshire People’s Assembly and...

News4 days ago

Everything you need to know about the current coronavirus restrictions in Wales

THE GOVERNMENT guidelines in Wales are changing today (Apr 12). There are major changes coming into force today across the...

Health4 days ago

New Covid vaccine arrives first in West Wales

THE FIRST person in the UK to receive the Moderna vaccine against Covid-19 got their jab at 8:30 in the...

News4 days ago

Ten years in prison for Milford Haven taxi driver who raped passenger

ANTHONY MARCUS JONES, 43, a taxi driver from Hawthorn Path, Mount Estate, Milford Haven has been sentenced to ten years...

Popular This Week