A councillor accused by a political rival of breaking town hall rules has been cleared.
Jim Hamezeian, leader of the Peoples Party on Barrow Borough Council, was alleged to have breached the code of conduct at the election count last May. Complainant Mike Ashburner, a British National Party candidate who stood against Cllr Hamezeian for the Ormsgill ward, claimed he was verbally attacked by Cllr Hamezeian after the result of the ballot was read out.
“He (Jim Hamezeian) held up to me a poster which read: ‘Down with the racist and fascist scumbags’ and then subjected me to a torrent of vile abuse,” Mr Ashburner told the Evening Mail.
Cllr Hamezeian admitted holding up the poster and chanting the words on it. But he said: “I didn’t subject anyone to any sort of abuse or whatever they’re accusing me of, absolutely not.”
Now the council’s standards committee has looked into the matter and cleared Cllr Hamezeian. In a statement, Ola Oduwole, corporate services director and monitoring officer for the council, said: “It had been alleged that after the count at the council elections in May 2008 for the Ormsgill ward, where he stood as a candidate, Cllr J Hamezeian thrust a poster in the complainant’s face with some words written on it and subjected him to incomprehensible abuse. The committee found that Cllr J Hamezeian was not acting in his official capacity when the incident occurred and therefore did not fail to comply with the code of conduct.”
Mr Ashburner has complained about Cllr Hamezeian before. Mr Ashburner reported Cllr Hamezeian to local government watchdog, the Standards Board for England, claiming the Iranian-born councillor was breaching the 1689 Bill of Rights. But the Standards Board for England decided not to investigate the complaint.
On Friday, following the standards committee’s decision, Cllr Hamezeian said: “I’m very annoyed that these people have got nothing better to do than constantly complaining and pestering me. They are wasting taxpayers’ money and they should be the ones penalised. As far as the result of the investigation is concerned, I knew there was nothing to investigate, I knew I had done nothing wrong and there was no reason for the complaint or the investigation.”
Mr Ashburner said of the standards committee’s ruling: “I think the decision is perverse and I will be challenging it.”
North-West Evening Mail