Flintshire councillor Alison Halford 'misled' probe
Published: 20th May 2010 13:05:09
Flintshire councillor Alison Halford misled a watchdog's investigation into a former colleague, an adjudication panel hearing has ruled.
The panel said she gave "inconsistent" information to an investigation into a fellow Flintshire councillor.
In doing so, she tried "to mislead the ombudsman's investigation into the conduct of the other member", but she will not be suspended or disqualified.
Ms Halford said she had done nothing wrong and her conscience was clear.
The Adjudication Panel for Wales' role is to form tribunals to consider whether elected members have breached their authority's statutory code of conduct.
The complaint against former assembly member Ms Halford centred on an investigation by the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales into another councillor.
She was accused of breaching Flintshire council's code of conduct by "seeking to mislead the ombudsman's investigation into alleged misconduct by a fellow councillor and by failing to comply with a request to attend for interview".
Following hearings in March by the case tribunal, it was agreed unanimously that Ms Halford failed to comply with the code.
It was decided that "Cllr Halford volunteered a statement to the ombudsman which was inconsistent with, and contained discrepancies with, information she had previously given to others and was misleading, thereby attempting to mislead the ombudsman's investigation into the conduct of the other member".
It was also ruled that she "had unreasonably failed to comply with ombudsman's request to attend interview".
However, the adjudication panel concluded it was "neither necessary nor desirable" to suspend or disqualify Ms Halford.
Ms Halford, once the top ranking woman police officer in the UK, has the right to seek to appeal against the decision.
She said she was discussing the possibility of an appeal with her lawyers, and would be "seriously pushing to establish the whole cost of this to the public purse".
She added: "I'm £10,000 out of pocket. The whole system of how the ombudsman operates in Wales must be urgently reviewed.
"The chance of me being found not guilty was really very remote.
"I have done nothing wrong and my conscience is clear.
"I have spent my whole life fighting for justice. I shall be lobbying very hard to get the rules changed."
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2010. Flintshire councillor Alison Halford 'misled' probe. [Online] (Updated 20 May 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news.php/61115-Flintshire-councillor-Alison-Halford-misled-probe [Accessed 17th May 2013]
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