Saturday, 14 July 2012

Sandy Ezekiel to be tried by high court judge.


Councillor Ezekiel former leader of Thanet District Council appeared at Maidstone Crown Court with his friend Philip Emanuel yesterday.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges, which allege:

"occupying a position as a public official, in which he was expected to safeguard or not act against the financial interests of Thanet District Council, dishonestly abused that position intending to make a gain or cause a loss to another, and by using council staff to enforce Town and Country planning legislation against 12a and 12b King Street, Margate, which led the owner to sell it in breach of section 4 of the Fraud Act 2006".

"while acting as a public officer, namely a local councillor, wilfully misconducted himself by improperly using privileged Thanet District Council information in relation to the sale of 12b King Street, Margate, and by directing enforcement procedure by council staff on 12a King Street, which led the owner to sell it to you".

12B King Street was a Grade II-listed council owned building in Margate.

The Judge Philip Statman said it the as it was a high profile case it would be tried by a High Court judge on February 18 2013.

I have added a table of councillors allowances for clarity because of the comments relating to this post, I hope i used the figures for the right year.


Position
 No.
Allowance 
Possible maximum expenditure 
Basic Allowance 
56
£4,360
£244,160
Leader
1
£18,082
£18,082
Deputy Leader
1
£10,776
£10,776
Cabinet Portfolio Holder
3
£7,990
£23,970
Chairman of Council
1
£2,188
£2,188
Vice Chairman of Council
1
£1,530
£1,530
Opposition Group Leader
1
£5,204
£5,204
Opposition Deputy Group Leader
1
£2,304
£2,304
Shadow Cabinet
3
£2,304
£6,912
Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chairman
1
£7,990
£7,990
Overview and Scrutiny Committee Vice-Chairman
2
£1,608
£3,216
Planning Committee Chairman
1
£5,204
£5,204
Planning Committee Vice-Chairman
1
£1,216
£1,216
Licensing Committee Chairman
1
£3,216
£3,216
Licensing Committee vice chairman
1
£805
£805
Governance and Audit Committee - Chairman
1
£5,204
£5,204
Governance and Audit Committee vice chairman 
1
£1,216
£1,216
Standards Committee - Chairman
1
£1,216
£1,216
Standards Committee – Vice-Chairman
1
£279
£279
Standards Committee – other Independent Member
2
£139
£278
JTB Chairman
1
£1,216
£1,216
TOTAL



excluding basic


£102,022

38 comments:

  1. So for another 8 months the people of Cliftonville East dont know if they have elected a councillor who is working for their best interest or his own. If it is the latter and he has not stood down, maybe he will have the decency to hand back the allowances he has received since the alleged offences occured.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I doubt if Ted Watt-Ruffell paid anything back either...

      What about the "Panama" guy, did he pay back money he wasn't entitled to?

      Delete
    2. Since he is still carrying out his duties as a councillor, attending council and comittee meetings and dealings with matters raised by peopled in his ward, why shouldn't he continue to receive his allowance. By the way, just how much do you think an ordinary district councillor gets?

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    3. Who we talking about, Sandy or Ted?

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    4. Sandy who is still a councillor, but then I think you knew that. I do agree that councillors who stand down from their duties should repay such proportion of their year's allowance as is applicable. On your query about Ted Watt-Ruffell it should be possible via a FOI inquiry to find out from the council or would you rather keep it up your sleeve so you can keep suggesting he ran off with thed loot?

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    5. I was going to send a FOI request but some (Tory) commentators pointed out that I'd be wasting TDC's time, money and resources (and there's me thinking that only criminal councillors do that!).

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    6. Well show a bit of guts and send one in. After all, Micharl hits them with them almost daily.

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    7. Peter from 6th December we enter the audit period and you can ask the district auditor Andy Mack questions about the accounts, i.e. any thing related to council expenditure between 1st April 2011 and 31st March 2012.

      This isn’t subject to the various regulations that restrict foi requests like commercial confidentiality, so you may wish to consider that route instead.

      Delete
    8. Thanks Michael, I may well do that.

      Delete
    9. Peter I meant the 6th of August i.e. next month, sorry about the error I am proof reading a new book about The Granville tonight and it is full of dates.

      Delete
  2. The basic allowance was £4360 but I think it has just gone up. Not bad for attending up to 10 council meetings a year, with more cash given for those that attend more meetings. But for cllr Ezekiel so far this year he has only attended 4 out of 6 meetings. He may still be working as a councilor but until this case is over the voters do not know if he was/is serving his own interest or theirs. If he had been an employee in both public service and working for a private company and charged with such an offence he would have been at least suspended until the case was over.

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    Replies
    1. What about if they're also mayors, do they then get a further allowance / wage?

      Delete
    2. Most councillors attend far more than ten meetings with the various committees they are on, then there are extra meetings and work for individuals in their wards. Also, only those holding cabinet or committee chairman appointments get extra. You are right that the allowance has just gone up but then it always does when Labour get their snouts back in the trough. The Conservatives voted againzst the increase.

      On your suspended comment, what you mean like Ali Dazael on full pay for months on end.

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    3. Not the mayor of Ramsgate, although the mayor of Margate does Peter. When Ramsgate town council rented out the palatial and expensive looking Custom House I looked into their finances, it transpired that none of the councillors get allowances and they sublet part of the Custom House, which completely cancels out the rent they pay.

      Delete
    4. Only partly right, Michael. Ramsgate Town Councillors were scheduled to get £500 per annum but that was put on hold until after the last election. Not heard whether it has been reintroduced yet or not.

      The Mayor on the other hand does get £11,000 per annum plus £1,000 mileage allowance although a meeting a while back recommended a 30% cut in that. It is substantially more than the Broadstairs mayor gets, but less than that of the lad over Margate way.

      Delete
    5. Thanks Tom, this contrary to what I had heard, mind you I only looked at the situation when they started out which was expenses only. Mind you I guess I am used to the business world where no receipt means no expenses.

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    6. Not the civil services then where any old picked up receipt complete with muddy footprints will do.

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    7. Tom after the MPs expenses business nothing much would surprise me, I guess out of all of the council’s expenditure it is the senior offices who are paid over £1,000 per week and pretty much exclusively live outside Thanet where they spend this money, that riles me the most.

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    8. Michael & Tom,

      You have raised the subject of Civil Service expenses: I cannot speak for all of the civil service but in my experience whether I was claiming expenses or approving them genuine receipts were essential. Additionally, there were heavy penalties for anyone caught fiddling. I knew two Officers who were sent to prison for falsifying there expense claims. The sums involved were not large.

      Michael, Surely you are not suggesting that no one in the 'business world' would ever fiddle their expenses. I have worked closely with the UK business community, mostly overseas, in my experience they are not unanimously paragons of virtue in the matter of expenses.

      [Michael, remember we are talking only of personal expenses and not the contract for Trident.]

      Delete
    9. The RTC councillors are allowed salaries and expenses - although apparently they choose not to accept them. As Charter Trustees presumably they did. As almost all of then are also TDC councillors it may seen as a minor financial loss in order to control TDC.

      There are no compulsory or automatic FOI exemptions (and certainly not for the annual audit) - a council can choose to seek an exemption. But why would it?

      The 0% salary raises for Samuel and White - signed off by Moores and Macgonegal hasn't been investigated as yet. It's hard to explain why.

      Delete
  3. Who gets taken to court for TDC property speculation, The chief exec ?

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  4. With such allegations of course he should be suspended until the court case is over anyone else would be indeed, even if he is cleared of all charges he should face a disciplinary hearing for bringing the council into disrepute. Lord D'arcy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lord D’arcy I guess it was the beheading for treason that has made your reincarnation so charitable. So it’s guilty until proven innocent and then once proven innocent, guilty. Does this approach extend to everyone or just politicians? Perhaps just Tory politicians?

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    2. Now that this case is going for trial I think we should keep in mind the presumption of innocence, which is paramount, even for anonymous and 'Lord D'arcy.

      Delete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Now that this case is going for trial I think we should keep in mind the presumption of innocence, which is paramount, even for anonymous.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I appreciate that it's a phrase trotted out by people who want to believe that we have a fantastic legal system but I've never been quite sure what the "presumption of innocence" means. If you are being prosecuted, surely this means that somebody thinks there is enough evidence to find you guilty? The prosecution certainly isn't working on the basis that you are innocent. And what about the defence lawyers? Well, my understanding is that they can only defend you as innocent if this is what you tell them. In other words, there is no "presumption" of innocence on their part - they just work with the facts they are given and ignore the ones they aren't told about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. anonymous @ 4:54, In our Law all that the matters is what the Jury believes. The view of the Jury is paramount. The Law requires the Jury to presume that the Accused is innocent. It is then the task of the Prosecution to prove to the satisfaction of the Jury that the Accused is guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden of proof is upon the prosecution. If the Prosecution fails in this task then the Jury must acquit.

      This is the Law. Whether the Police, Prosecution, the Judge, you or me agree with Jury is irrelevant in law. This is what is meant by the 'presumption of innocence'. A simpler term would 'innocent until proven guilty.

      Among other thingsn this presumption of innocence protects us all from the no smoke without fire herberts, that infest the likes of the Jeremy Kyle generation.

      Delete
    2. 4:54 is nearer the mark. A jury trial is - often - at the judge's discretion.

      So is legal aid for a defence. While a prosecution - as with Sandy - can be funded by the State.

      A judge can direct a jury's verdict - or change the jury.

      And rule in or out any evidence.

      Case laws are confused with acts of law. Foreign laws brought in or out as with USA extraditions.

      Beyond a reasonable doubt can be reduced to a balance of probabilities (whatever that means).

      The UK's laws and courts are less excellent than other countries eg there is no legal code as in France.

      And codes of conduct of lawyers and barristers and judges are so flimsy the various bodies are reformed every few years.

      And judges are the most unrepresentative body in UK ie all Eton and Oxbridge.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous,

      I have read your comments with interest and trepidation. You have a muddled and confused understanding of the law. Or else you are being deliberately obtuse; either for your own amusement or for some curious and half baked political doctrine. Using the test of the balance of probabilities I conclude that it is the latter.

      Delete
    4. Here we go again. Someone diagrees with you and you start slagging them off. Have you always been right, or this a trait which developed over time?

      Delete
  8. Mr anonymous,
    On the balance of probabilities I suspect that I have always been right, as far as you are concerned.

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  9. Anyone who claims not to understand the principle of innocent until proven guilty should not be debated with until they go back to school or gain another brain cell.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The principle is understood - the point made is that the proof required is less robust than is usually expected. Especially if there is no jury. What would balance of probabilities be? 30? 50%? 80%? And who introduced that into the legal system? And how does it differ from beyond a reasonable doubt?

    Glib phrases and insults above, but little of relevance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous,

      The balance of probabilities is the test used in Civil cases, whereas beyond a reasonable doubt is the test for Criminal cases. Think a while and you might be able to grasp this crucial tenet of Common Law. Balance of probalities has been used in law for a very many years. Rececently, the balance of probalities was defined by Lord Donaldson, Master Of The Rolls, as 51% is enough. Lord Donaldson was one of the greatest jurists of the last century. And he was certainly not one of your hated so called toffs. So anonymous, I suggest that you get yourself to the library and start to learn. Start of by finding what is meant by Master Of The rolls. I will give you a start: Master Of the Rolls is not the title of some arcane political party of toffs who are out to get you.

      Delete
    2. "Case law is confused with Acts of Law". ? Case law is a body of judgments given in former cases featuring the same issue of fact. The judge decides if the case law, cited by a party, is a model for the facts at issue in the Court. If it is decided to apply then it is an authority or precedent for the judgment to be given in the case.

      An inquest uses inquisitorial rules of evidence aimed at establishing Truth. The Coroner steps on barristers for parties trying to make an inquest a quasi adversarial system (Playing to the jury)

      The Civil and Criminal courts weigh evidence and testimony in an adversarial system. That means two artful dodgers (aka barristers) arguing their respective cases. Because only lawyers, via closed shop, have a right of audience they don't get tested beyond opponents from their own tribe. They have quaint little ways. Like barristers do not shake hands. Ostensibly this is because barristers trust each other by virtue of their office. It is more likely that barristers need to rest their hands for the sleights they will pull.

      Litigants in person really irritate judges and barristers. Some herbert from a more disciplined, more logical walk of life with aspirations to reveal truth and with expectations of justice.

      Against litigants in person the barristers have a range of tricks. First they seek to re-define the litigant's cause more to their own liking. The case as newly re-defined by the barrister will neatly fit an "Authority" (Precedent of case law).

      In Thanet County Court that barrister trick would come unstuck against Judge Hicks (You will gather that we liked and respected Judge Hicks ... pity he retired before the Dan O'Leary case reached final hearing but happy retirement). The trick there was to be humble as a litigant in person and let the opposition barrister try being cleverer than Judge Hicks. Then you get the Judicial nod as the layman interpreting law better than the Chief constable's barrister.

      But you have to hand it to the barrister tribe again though. Because they know they tried it on and came unstuck. And give but a wry smile before proceeding to their next piece of skulduggery.

      It is a system that has withstood the test of time though.

      Steven Spielberg said of Schindler that the people who really make the difference are not saints but are rogues who refuse to be made worse than they know themselves to be. Inside most British barristers is an Oscar Schindler. When it really matters (national security or constitutional monarchy which guarantees their own position) they come good.

      Delete

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