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Councillor violated code of conduct with "intimidatory" behaviour

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Councillor Dave Neave

A FORMER Conservative councillor was found to have breached a local authority’s code of conduct by using “intimidatory” behaviour against a colleague.

Two complaints were filed against Councillor Dave Neave about his conduct at a debrief meeting at Telscombe Town Council offices last September concerning the fireworks on The Tye event.

Lewes District Council’s Standards Panel advised Cllr Neave yesterday to write an apology to the town council and to solve his “anger” at issues affecting him personally through alternative channels.

Councillor Mike Chartier, chairman of the panel, said: “His choice of language was totally inappropriate and disrespectful. His conduct didn’t amount to bullying but could be perceived as intimidatory.”

Lewes District Council leader Andy Smith and Councillor David Wright submitted complaints alleging Cllr Neave behaved in a threatening and abusive manner directed at Cllr Smith.

The two provisions of the code breached by Cllr Neave relate to councillors behaving in a respectful manner and not acting in a way regarded as bullying or intimidatory.

In her witness statement, included in Cllr Smith’s complaint form, Councillor Gwen Maskell wrote: “Cllr Neave shouted at councillor Smith and said ‘I wanted to punch you hard up the a***’.”

She also wrote in her statement that Cllr Neave “started shouting and aggressively punching his fist at Cllr Smith.”

The incident took place following a dispute over an email about the planning and implementation of the fireworks event.

Monitoring officer Catherine Knight investigated the claims, finding evidence of Cllr Neave standing and leaning towards Cllr Smith but that there were discrepancies over his perceived body language.

Cllr Neave admitted he shouted at Cllr Smith, saying he had wanted “to shove the email up Cllr Smith’s f****** a***”.

He disputed Cllr Maskell’s reference to him “aggressively aiming and punching at Cllr Smith”.

Cllr Neave said he would like to attend a Telscombe Town Council meeting to apologise to members.

He defected to the Independent Group on the district council, left the Tory Party and resigned from Telscombe Town Council prior to yesterday’s meeting. He still sits on Peacehaven Town Council.

Cllr Neave declined to make any additional comment.


Source: The Argus