Former Cllr Crabtree receives 12 week suspended sentence for phone call
Yesterday, former Cllr Crabtree received a suspended 12 week prison term (suspended for a year) and a restraining order for what he said during a phone call to Cllr Louise Reece-Jones last year.
I wasn’t there at the Magistrates Court yesterday afternoon to report on what happened, although there are some things I need to point out first.
In 2008 and 2012 I stood against Jim Crabtree in the election of a councillor in Bidston & St James ward. Both times, he received more votes than any of the other candidates and was elected as a councillor.
In that same year, in the Birkenhead County Court I was on the opposite side of a legal case not involving Cllr Crabtree, but a different Wirral Council councillor. Pressure was put on me to drop that case and it not to go a hearing.
The result yesterday, with the matter being so intertwined with politics, will have been one that the Labour Party wouldn’t have wanted to be aired in public. It is rare that a former councillor is put in a position where they have to explain themselves to the judiciary.
It is rarer to find a case involving two different people from the same political party on different sides.
There is a detailed write-up by the Wirral Globe as to what happened at yesterday’s hearing. The Wirral Globe has been independent in its reporting of Wirral Council matters and is it any wonder that Wirral Council launched a rival newspaper Wirral View to try to harm the Wirral Globe’s economic interests?
There is a mysterious figure of £19,000 referred to in the Wirral Globe article.
However, at the end of the article it implies that Cllr Crabtree won’t be able to stand as a councillor because of this suspended sentence.
Barring by elections, there are no elections to Wirral Council in 2018. However candidates are legally disqualified from standing if in the five years before they become a candidate they have received a sentence of three months or more (which includes suspended sentences). Jim Crabtree’s sentence appears to be a week shorter than this limit.
However the Crown Prosecution Service has been made aware of allegations involving candidates in the May 2016 elections that are about whether they were disqualified from standing as candidates and being returned as councillors. Jim Crabtree did not stand in 2016, nor was he an agent.
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