The Advertiser this week reported on the issuing to Gerald Smith of a formal police caution for an election offence, can’t give you a link to the story as it is only in the print edition, not online, pity! I quote:
‘A police spokeswoman said Cllr Smith had admitted publishing a leaflet without his name on it. She added: “He was given a verbal caution which is a formal warning in respect of failing to put the relevant information on an election leaflet as required by law.”‘ My emphasis.
So far so good. The advertiser then reported Smith’s viewpoint:
‘Cllr Smith stood by the content of the leaflet this week, adding that the absent publication detail was a simple oversight. He said: “It was a mistake. The leaflet said it was published by the party but I had missed my name off. When I went to the police station they asked if I would accept a caution. I said yes, because we don’t want to waste taxpayers money on this by going to court. They had my other leaflets, which had my name on them. They were happy that it was just an error.’
Then I remembered Smith had a letter published in June in the Advertiser letters columns, pretty bad tempered and readers should note repeats the libels contained in the illegal leaflet itself, I quote it in full as it provides evidence of this councillors significant breach of all codes of conduct applicable to Smith!
‘Pilloried in letter
Sir-I am not the first nor will I be the last to be pilloried by Jim Fletcher (see Advertiser letters, June 10th) for telling the truth.
Fletcher states that information in the leaflet was untrue and libellous. As he did not mention all of what was in the leaflet I will.
It made the comment that David Gee, over 44 full parish council meetings in the four-year term of office, had neither made a comment nor asked a question and then went on to say: “Do you want to be represented by the silent man.”
As J. Fletcher has attended about two meetings in the four year he wouldn’t know either way.
David Gee was re-elected with just five votes over the nearest candidate. At the ensuing first meeting of the new term of office he had the opportunity to challenge me over the leaflet. He remained silent, as usual.
The comments on Paul Martin, who registered his last political affiliation at the parish council as Christian Democrat, Which to my information is a far right European organisation. This can be verified by the parish clerk.
This man also reported a fellow parish councillor to the police in 2010 for spying on him at a rally in the town centre organised by P. Thirlwall.
The councillor went to the rally to see if anything was to be done about the flooding in the area as he had been completely flooded out twice over two years.
This is not what one would call a Christian act, is it Mr Fletcher? But then, you would know all about right-wing politics as your political stance is right of Atilla the Hun.
The indent on the leaflet stated published and printed on behalf of Holderness Lab Party at 4 brook Close, Aston.
I think that should be sufficient and legal.
Cllr Gerald Smith, Rotherham Borough Council. Bramley.’
Tales from the Town Hall has reported on another interesting angle to this story:
‘The Cops, The Councillor And The Caution
There’s never a dull moment in Rotherham. A councillor slags off two hopefuls in a parish council election, he then gets cautioned by the police for his name not being on the leaflet, and now Rotherham Council claims the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire could himself have broken the law. Click for full story.’
Are we witnessing here, the abuse of the officers code of conduct, using council employees to provide legal advice and resources on political matters? It certainly looks like it to me!
One thing is quite obvious, at least to me, that Gerald Smith may have accepted a caution but he has not fulfilled the other criterion that of acceptance of guilt! Surely this makes the caution invalid?
The other issue that has not been adequately dealt with is the outrageous libels committed firstly in the leaflet that had a limited circulation but repeated casually in his letter above, published to a significantly larger number.
The current state of defamation law and the extraordinarily high cost of litigation makes protecting reputations through the civil courts prohibitively expensive and justice available to only the very rich indeed! Which makes Smith’s repetition of these outrageous lies about fellow parish councillors and opposing candidates egregious and totally intolerable in a member of a political party pretending to open democratic politics! This abuse should certainly be enough for the Labour Party to take issues of Smith’s unacceptable behaviour by their own members and elected position holders, I wonder? But don’t hold your breath!
This perhaps is the most serious of all the problems facing this egregiously arrogant, bullying and less than honest local politician whose time has clearly come to go! Doing nothing is no longer an option!
A big thank you to those of you who have already contacted Rothpol with background information on our Gerald. If you have your anecdote to share with us please see RikiLeaks. Termite is collating the information and working on suitable posts, you can contact him directly here, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the whole story in The Gerald Smith files.