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Pressure brought to bear on Bryn witness

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County Hall: News of Simpson's departure from cabinet a shock to many

County Hall

THE PEMBROKESHIRE HERALD can reveal that Peter Morgan has discovered that pressure has more than one face and comes in more than one form over recent weeks.

On Saturday morning (Sept 27), after we published an article on-line based in part on a phone call that took place on Friday evening (Sept 26), Peter Morgan was contacted by members of the IPPG leadership. In those calls, Cllr Morgan was berated over his comments expressing support of David Simpson and those telling how pressure had been applied to him regarding the appearance he was then still due to make before the committee investigating allegations against the council’s CEO Bryn Parry-Jones.

When we spoke to Peter Morgan on Friday he told us: “I don’t do pressure.”

A member of the ruling group on Pembrokeshire County Council, Peter experienced pressure back in February. Having walked out of a meeting of the full council because he believed he had expressed a public opinion prejudging the issue to be debated (the future of Bryn Parry Jones), Peter – and Keith Lewis – were ordered back into the meeting by Deputy Chief Executive Ben Pykett as nobody had followed the pair on their trek to the moral high ground, and the IPPG might have lost the vote.

Quite what Mr Pykett thought he was doing interfering in the political activities of the council and the actions of its members is anyone’s guess.

After a subsequent council meeting, Peter Morgan was one of two councillors summoned to the presence of Chief Executive Bryn Parry-Jones and berated about voting against his personal interest in a vote.

Last Thursday, Peter spoke with his friend David Simpson. He told David about phone calls he had received and pressure that had been applied to him by members of the council’s leadership about evidence he was due to give about that incident.

Cllr Simpson was appalled by what his friend told him. He decided to resign as a result of what he had heard about the actions of Cllr Rob Lewis is seeking to influence Peter’s appearance before the investigatory committee.

Thankfully, due to the fact the editor’s office was locked on Friday evening when our chief writer was working on the report of Cllr Simpson’s resignation from the Cabinet and IPPG, he had to phone Cllr Morgan from The Pembrokeshire Herald’s sales room. In common with virtually all telesales rooms, calls made on the sales system are recorded.

On Monday (Sept 29), the same writer bumped into Peter Morgan outside Committee Room 2.

In the presence of another councillor, Cllr Morgan told him of the reaction to our online article. Phone calls had taken place on Saturday morning and Cllr Morgan left little doubt as to what those phone calls had been like and who had made them.

And after that Peter Morgan gave his evidence to the investigatory committee.

We cannot know what was said in private, but we can report the reaction to it.

After Cllr Morgan had finished his evidence he left Committee Room 2 with his fellow councillor and witness Mark Edwards. Shortly afterwards they were followed out by their friend and colleague David Simpson.

As it does not relate to evidence that was heard in Committee Room 2, we can safely report that whatever Cllr Morgan had told the Committee had caused Cllr Simpson to “have a face like thunder.”

Councillor Simpson asked Peter Morgan about elements of his evidence that varied sharply both from what he had said at Councillor Simpson’s home the previous Thursday and what he had told our reporter the following evening.

Councillor Morgan referred to the pressure put on him by – amongst others – Council Leader Jamie Adams. Jamie had told Peter that what he had said could mean the end of the Independent Group’s control of the County Council.

While this exchange took place the committee was in recess, and Cllr Mike Stoddart, then a member of the committee happened upon the scene. David Simpson left to fetch Keith Lewis, the Committee Chair so he could tell the chair the truth about what had happened.

Cllr Lewis reconvened the meeting to hear afresh from Cllr Morgan, only to find that – as he had once done on the rugby pitch – he had given his markers the slip and made a run for it.

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Trial of Haverfordwest primary school teacher starts at Swansea Crown Court

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A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher who is accused of sexually abusing eleven children thinks he is a victim of a which hunt by the police, a jury has heard.

But at Swansea Crown Court on Monday (Apr 12), the Clare Wilks for the prosecution said that the defendant had “abused the trust of parents and staff” by sexually touching children in his care.

James Oulton, denies 30 charges of sexual assault against the eleven children who were aged eight or nine years old at the time.

The alleged offences took place between 2012 and 2018.

The jury heard how the pupils, now aged between 11 and 17, claimed he touched them sexually.

But the court was also told that Mr Oulton claimed he received cards at the end of term, and he believed letters sent by Pembrokeshire council to parents encouraged false complaints and collusion between pupils.

Oulton, 34, of Richmond Crescent, Haverfordwest, told the court he had behaved appropriately.

The jury heard how the alleged abuse occurred while Mr Oulton was working at a primary school in Haverfordwest.

Clare Wilks, prosecuting, said some of the children alleged that they had been assaulted on a daily basis, while others had had given statements to say it only happened the one time.

The trial continues.

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Kill the Bill protest to take place in Haverfordwest on Saturday

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INDIVIDUALS and activists from local groups, including Extinction Rebellion Pembrokeshire, Stand Up to Racism West Wales, Pembrokeshire People’s Assembly and Reclaim These Streets Pembrokeshire are campaigning against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and are to hold a demonstration against the Bill at 1pm this Saturday April 17, in Haverfordwest.
One of the organisers told  The Herald: “This is an enormous piece of draconian legislation that includes significant expansion in police powers to curtail the right to protest. The right to peacefully assemble and protest are a fundamental part of any democracy; empowering people to have their voices heard, in addition to holding the Government to account. These rights are universal –they protect peaceful and legitimate protest whatever the cause.
“The events at the Clapham vigil and at demonstrations over the last few weeks are a dangerous indication of what the future of protest will look like if the police powers bill gets through parliament.”
A local campaigner, a mother and grandmother said “We are in the process of losing a fundamental part of our democracy, It is important we protect it for future generations. We have messed up so much of their future already-we need to hold the Government to account”.
Aspects of the Bill include:
  • The power for Police forces to shut down protests that they deem too disruptive at their own discretion.
  • Up to a 10-year sentence for demonstrators considered to be causing a “public nuisance”.
  • The power for police forces to impose start and end times on static protests of any size.
  • The power to expand stop and search powers, which already discriminate against marginalised communities. If you live in the Dyfed Powys police area, you are 5 times more likely to be stopped and searched if you are black than white.
  • Up to 10-year sentences for damage to public monuments’ Police powers will be expanded and custodial sentences increased to “protect” women.
  • These measures are not sufficient to prevent violence and are troubling, considering some police officers’ involvement in cases of violence against women. Significant restrictions on where protests around Parliament may take place.
  • The elevation of trespass from a civil offence to a criminal offence, meaning police and courts can give harsh sentences to Travellers.
  • Increased power of police to seize vehicles and homes from Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller communities and demanding proof of permission to travel.
  • The bill will criminalise a way of life for these communities.
A peaceful, Covid-compliant march and rally will be taking place in Haverfordwest on Saturday April 17 , assembling at Picton Fields at 1pm.
People will be asked to wear masks and keep to social distancing regulations.  It is one of a number of protests being organised nationally on the same day against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill.
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Everything you need to know about the current coronavirus restrictions in Wales

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THE GOVERNMENT guidelines in Wales are changing today (Apr 12).

There are major changes coming into force today across the country as the government coronavirus guidelines are starting to relax.

The changes affect household bubbles, non-essential retail, education and travel.

As of Monday, April 12, the following changes have come into force:

  • Six people from two different households (not counting children under 11) can meet and exercise outdoors and in private gardens
  • Households or support bubbles can holiday in self-contained accommodation – including hotels with en-suite facilities
  • All pupils and students can now return to school, college and other education
  • All shops and close-contact services can open
  • The ban on travelling in and out of Wales has ended
  • Driving lessons can resume and some driving tests (Remainder on April 22)

Non-essential retail are able to open up today for the first time since the country was put into a national lockdown with non-essential retail ordered to close in December of last year.

With infection rates falling and the national vaccine rollout success, the Welsh Government have set out a road map of restriction easing.

Unlike England, the hospitality industry in Wales will have to wait until April 26 to open their doors to customers, but only for those who can operate in an outdoor space such as beer gardens.

The current guidelines in force for Wales are as follows:

Meeting friends and family

From May 3:

  • Two families can once again form an “extended household” and meet indoors.

The following rules currently apply:

  • Six people from two different households (not counting children under 11) can meet up outdoors, including gardens.
  • If you are an adult living alone or you’re a single responsible adult in a household (a single parent, for instance), you can form a support bubble with one other household.
  • You can also end it and form another support bubble with a different household, as long as you leave a 10-day gap between.

Going to work

  • You must work from home if you can. The only exceptions will be critical workers and jobs where working from home is not possible.
  • Tradespeople can work in someone else’s private home, as long as it is managed in a safe way and both the worker and household members are well and have no symptoms of coronavirus.

Schools and nurseries

  • All pupils will return to face-to-face teaching at school from 12 April.
  • From that date all students can return to further education and training centres.
  • University campuses will be able to open for blended (face-to face and online) learning for all students.
  • Internal GCSE, A-level and AS-level assessments have been cancelled.

Leisure time

From April 26:

  • Outdoor attractions, including funfairs and theme parks, will be allowed to reopen.
  • Outdoor hospitality can resume, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants, but indoor hospitality will remain restricted.

From May 3:

  • Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people can again take place.
  • Gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities can reopen. This will include individual or one-to-one training but not exercise classes.

The following rules currently apply:

  • Self-contained holiday accommodation, including hotels with en-suite facilities and room service, can open to people from the same household or support bubble.
  • Outdoor sports facilities such as golf, tennis and basketball are open. A maximum of six people from two households can take part.
  • Organised outdoor sport for under-18s can now take place.
  • All gyms and leisure centres are closed.
  • Professional sports will continue but stadiums are closed to fans.
  • Bars, restaurants, cafes and pubs are closed – except for takeaway and delivery.
  • The outdoor areas of some historic places and gardens can reopen in a limited way.
  • Libraries and archives can reopen

Shopping

From April 12:

  • All shops can reopen.
  • All close contact services such as hairdressers or beauty salons can open, including mobile services.

The following rules currently apply:

  • Hairdressers and barbers are open for business – by appointment only.
  • Non-essential shops remain closed.
  • Garden centres are now open.
  • Alcohol cannot be sold in shops between 22:00 and 06:00 BST.
  • Face coverings must be worn by customers and staff.
  • Indoor shopping should be done alone, or with people in your household.

Other

From April 12:

  • You can travel anywhere in the UK or the Common Travel Area (Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands)
  • Outdoor canvassing for the Welsh elections can begin.
  • Driving lessons can resume and some driving tests (remainder on 22 April).

From April 26:

  • Weddings receptions can take place outdoors, but will be limited to 30 people.

The following rules currently apply:

  • Weddings and civil partnerships can take place at licensed venues, but receptions are not allowed.
  • Care home residents can receive one designated visitor.
  • You can travel anywhere within Wales.
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