Recent Twitter activity has provoked extra visits to the Bonkers website so for the benefit of new readers here’s a short(ish) summary of the Maxine Fothergill situation.
Part of Councillor Fothergill’s harassment complaint is that she has been featured here far too often, although not nearly as often as other Councillors who have become involved with the police.
There are several reasons for this
• Found guilty by Bexley Council’s Code of Conduct Committee for using her position to obtain financial advantages. She allegedly negotiated the purchase of a house for a friend from an elderly elector she met while canvassing. The vulnerable lady was chauffeured around the borough in the Mayor’s car.
• Two business associates arrested by Kent police on fraud charges were told by them that their accuser was Maxine Fothergill. The police found no evidence of fraud.
• Reported a Conservative election candidate to the police alleging theft.
• Extended her home a second time without further planning permission and was ordered to remove the additional extension.
• Twice applied for planning permissions in Bexley and signed a declaration to the planning office that she was not a Bexley Councillor thereby evading scrutiny by the Planning Committee as required by Bexley Council’s rules.
• Accused an employee of fraud. The employee was under arrest by Kent Police for eleven months before being released without charge, no evidence of fraud having been found.
• Accused a business associate of an intention to poach her business.
The reports relating to the Code of Conduct Committee were discussed at a face to face meeting with Councillor Fothergill in 2016 and an agreement before witnesses was reached on how they should be presented. Despite that they now form part of her harassment accusation.
The employee accused of fraud (Hayley Warnes) and the business associate (Ray Robson) took libel action against Councillor Fothergill because she had distributed her accusations widely.
Councillor Fothergill lost that libel action because, as the solicitor Mark Lewis has publicly confirmed, she lied.
The High Court action was first mentioned on Bexley is Bonkers on 13th November 2017. The mention consisted only of a screen shot of the Court listing.
Councillor Fothergill phoned and emailed the same day requesting removal of every reference to her libel case from this blog and Twitter.
On 16th November the first documentary evidence from the libel case was placed on line. On 19th November the last piece went on line.
At no time was Councillor Fothergill referred to in a derogatory manner, the technique was to let the facts speak for themselves.
On 19th November I emailed Councillor Fothergill to tell her that I regarded the story as finished.
She replied the same day to say that was not good enough. All references to her must be removed from the web as while they were there “all the world” could read what she had done. With the near collapse of political reporting by the local press, Bonkers is the only source of such news in Bexley.
I did not reply. Councillor Fothergill had been told in an earlier email that news was news and I was not prepared to indulge in selective censorship.
Councillor Fothergill went to see her solicitor. He wrote to me on 7th December but did not ask me to do anything apart from not link to the UKIP Bexley website which carried the same story in rather more graphic detail.
Having failed to secure the support of her solicitor Councillor Fothergill went to the police and I was interviewed under caution on 18th December. I was told that a senior officer would make a decision regarding the next step.
On 5th January 2018 Kent Police called at my door (in London!) to tell me that a Sergeant Cooke at Swanley Police station had decided that reporting so much bad news about Councillor Fothergill was criminal harassment and I should expect a letter in the post with the date for my appearance at Sevenoaks Magistrates Court.
No such letter has been received.
If you should wonder why a Bexley (Greater London) Councillor should go to Kent Police, it is because Councillor Fothergill does not live in Bexley, neither is her business address in Bexley as would be required to legitimately stand as a Councillor in Bexley.