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Paedophile report to be published

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Mik Smith: The paedophile was nearly allowed to become a foster carer

THE REPORT into how Pembrokeshire County Council dealt with convicted paedophile Mik Smith will be published after a landmark decision by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet today (Jun 2).

The new Cabinet, led by new Council Leader David Simpson, voted unanimously in favour of publishing the report.

Cllr Mike Stoddart, who has long campaigned for the report to be published, also asked if a Task and Finish Group could be set up to investigate other issues that he was aware of which were not included in the report and that was supported by the Cabinet.

His notice of motion has been repeatedly knocked back by officers who said the report could not be published because it contained sensitive information.

At previous meetings of Full Council meeting and Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee in March, calls to release the document were defeated on the chairman’s vote after a tied vote.

The report has already been leaked to the press but at a previous meeting, Chief Executive, Mr Ian Westley, stated that it was his ‘personal preference’ that the report shouldn’t be published due to an agreement he had with the report’s author.

On Monday, Cllr Stoddart told the new Cabinet: “This is a rather long story. I have been trying to get this published for the last 18 months. I’m afraid there is a complex web of deceit in this report.

“The whistle-blower was sacked in 2006 and it is often thought that this was the sole whistle-blower when in actual fact there were eight members of the youth service that had this complaint.

“When she was sacked, this council had already had a second complaint about Mr Smith, she wasn’t a part of this and yet they sacked her.

“The Head of Youth Service was asked about Mr Smith’s suitability to be a foster parent and verbally he replied in very positive terms and he was then sent a form with a covering letter which said ‘agencies are reminded that they have a duty to pro-actively inform PCC of any issues that arise that could impact on this person’s ongoing capacity to act as a foster carer or could represent a safeguarding issue to the children who might be placed with them’.

“The Head of Youth Service left that blank although he had administered two disciplinary sanctions against Mr Smith in 2005 and 2006, and furthermore there had been a further complaint in 2009. To me, what went on here is an absolute disgrace and I do think the people of Pembrokeshire have a right to know all the facts.

“There was a report put before the scrutiny committee, which said: “The report contains personal information in relation to the names of children, parents and professionals. I have failed to find any reference to any names of children, parents of professionals and I feel that this is part of the tactics that I object to in this authority where things are invented to push members in a particular direction.”

Cllr Stoddart also claimed that the report was incomplete as its author had been restricted to the information that was available.

Cllr Paul Miller said he agreed entirely with Cllr Stoddart and said it was in the public interest to publish what he described as a ‘serious issue’.

Cllr Tessa Hodgson said it was clear that the people of Pembrokeshire had voted for change and said that they must demonstrate they were prepared to take action. She added that they must ensure that something like this never happens again.

Cllr Neil Prior said: “Organisations will always make mistakes but it’s how we deal with them that is important and I do feel that we have very difficult decisions ahead and we need the support of the public in understanding why we take some of those decisions and I do feel strongly that this is a new era, and to show a gesture of goodwill to the people of Pembrokeshire that we should release the report.”

Cllr Phil Baker added the report did make for difficult reading and that it was a dark period for the council whilst the investigations were ongoing.

Cllr Pat Davies said that newly elected councillors had inherited the problem and added that it was time for the matter to be settled.

Chief Executive Ian Westley asked for the information that Cllr Stoddart to make him aware of the information that he had and also encouraged the person who leaked the report to come forward and say why they had done it.

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Crime

Man found not guilty of stalking beauty salon owner

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FRANK JANIUREK, 43, of Heol Glyndwr in Fishguard, has been acquitted of stalking the owner of a beauty salon after a trial at Swansea Crown Court. The jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict following approximately two-and-a-half hours of deliberations.

Janiurek was accused of causing serious alarm or distress to the woman between 25 March and 10 July 2022. The prosecution claimed that after receiving a facial treatment at the salon on 8 March 2022, Janiurek began sending numerous emails and making frequent calls to the salon, often repeating questions that had already been answered. He was also alleged to have walked past the salon daily and liked one of the complainant’s Instagram pictures using an account under a false name. Additionally, it was claimed that he stared at the complainant for an extended period while she was out in Cardigan celebrating her birthday.

Caitlin Brazel, prosecuting, argued that these actions constituted stalking, causing serious alarm or distress. However, Janiurek pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Matthew Murphy, defending Janiurek, contended that the complainant had not directly communicated her discomfort to the defendant until 1 June. Murphy stated, “She doesn’t tell him anything about his behaviour and the effect it’s having on her before June 1.” He argued that if the complainant felt uncomfortable, she should have been more direct in her communication.

Murphy also highlighted that the complainant’s actions, such as signing off emails with ‘All the best’ and stating she had an injured arm and was not taking on new clients, did not clearly indicate that she wanted the contact to end. He noted that Janiurek, who is neurodivergent and has Asperger’s syndrome, was primarily engaging with the business, not the complainant personally. Murphy emphasised that all of Janiurek’s messages were related to beauty treatments, except for one occasion when he inquired about the complainant’s injured arm.

Regarding the Instagram picture, Murphy pointed out that it was posted on the business’s account, not the complainant’s personal account.

Recorder David Elias KC, who presided over the trial, thanked the jury for their careful consideration of the case. Following the not guilty verdict, Janiurek was allowed to leave the dock, having been acquitted of all charges.

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Crime

Cannabis factory with over 800 plants found in west Wales drugs bust

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POLICE in Carmarthenshire made a major drugs bust this week when they found over 800 cannabis plants in what was supposed to be a vacant property.

A 26-year old man was arrested and has now been remanded into custody.

The police are appealing for information and have released photographs of the illicit cannabis production facility.

A police spokesperson told The Herald on Friday (May 24): “Dyfed Powys Police executed a warrant at the Mountain Gate, Tycroes, Ammanford on Tuesday May 21.

“The vacant property was found to have a large hydroponic set up inside, with approx. 800 cannabis plants seized by officers.

“One man, Beni Mirashi age 26, was arrested and was charged with being concerned in the production of cannabis.

“He appeared at Llanelli Magistrates Court on 23 May and was remanded to next appear at Swansea Crown Court on June 24.”

Police asked that if anyone has any information that may support officers in their investigation, they are asked to contact us either through a direct message on social media, online at: 
https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing [email protected], or by calling 101

Quoting reference: 24*459007

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Red Bull Hardline Wales confirms rider list for 2024

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RED BULL Hardline, known as the most challenging downhill mountain bike race world wide, confirms the final rider list for this year’s Wales event. 

Following its first event overseas, with a stop Down Under, Red Bull Hardline returns to its home in Wales’ Dyfi valley to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The brainchild of Dan Atherton a decade ago, 34 of the brightest and best talents in downhill mountain biking are set to descend on the north Wales course. With the 2023 event sadly curtailed by the Welsh weather, there’s old scores to settle and it’s all to play for in 2024.

Confirmed Rider List:

NameNationality
Ronan DunneIRL
Bernard KerrUK
Brook MacDonaldNZL
Charlie HattonUK
Adam BraytonUK
Craig EvansUK
Theo ErlangsenSA
Matteo IniguezFRA
Juanfer VelezCOL
Gaetan VigeFRA
Jim MonroUK
Matt JonesUK
Edgar BrioleFRA
George BranniganNZ
Sam GaleNZ
Jono JonesUK
Sam BlenkinsopNZ
Brendan FaircloughUK
Josh BrycelandUK
Dennis LuffmanUK
Sam HockenhullUK
Josh LoweUK
Taylor VernonUK
Thibault LalyFRA
Thomas GenonBEL
Szymon GodziekPOL
Sebastian HolguinCOL
Alex StorrUK
Vincent TupinFRA
Harry MolloyUK
Matteo IniguezFRA

Female riders will begin training on Monday, giving them ample time to familiarise themselves with the new course, with Tahnée Seagrave, Cami Nogueira and Hannah Bergmann all set to continue to push the boundaries of their sport once again. Louise-Anna Ferguson will be returning to Wales fresh from her success at Red Bull Hardline Tasmania, putting on a gutsy performance to finish a full finals race run despite an early crash. New to Red Bull Hardline, Vaea Verbeeck will make her first appearance, bringing fresh fire power to the women’s lineup 

Following his stand-out success at Red Bull Hardline Tasmania, Ronan Dunne will be taking to the start line with aims of achieving the double. Nipping at his heels will be three-time winner Bernard Kerr, who placed second in Tasmania back in February. 2017 champion Craig Evans is back once again and eager to replicate his success of 7 years previous.

The breathtaking race will be broadcasted live globally on Red Bull TV on Sunday 2nd June at 2.30pm GMT. Ahead of the event, fans can enjoy the week’s best action from course walk and practice on the Red Bull Bike YouTube ahead of the main event. 

For further Red Bull Hardline rider updates and for more information visit www.redbull.com/hardline and make sure to save the link to Red Bull Bike YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@RedBullBike/featured to not miss out on the week’s best action.

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