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STANDARDS COMMITTEE JUSTIFIED IN INVESTIGATING WHAT COUNCILLOR CALLS HIS 'PRIVATE AND PERSONAL' LIFE

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A Crawley BC councillor who faced the borough council's standards committee on Monday took a battle to clear his na...
A Crawley BC councillor who faced the borough council's standards committee on Monday took a battle to clear his name to London's high court.

Dennis Wallis, of Caroline Court, Southgate, firmly denies accusations that he made unjustified claims for housing and housing benefit from the council on which he serves.

He faces claims that, when he applied for housing benefit and council accommodation in April 2001, he didn't declare that he lets out four properties to tenants.

Cllr Wallis says his father is the 'benefical owner' of the properties and denies any wrongdoing.

He pursued his defence when his case was heard by the council's standards committee.

Last Friday, he asked London's high court to rule he had an 'arguable' case that a statement of opinion prepared for the committee hearing by barrister, Richard Wormald, should be disclosed to him in full.

Cllr Wallis was given a copy of the statement, but details relating to an informant who gave an inquiry team evidence about him have been blanked out.

Although the council argued that the informant's evidence was not relied upon, Cllr Wallis claimed that knowing details of the informant could help his case.

He said the whole statement should have been revealed in the interests of justice and that the council denied him his fundamental right to a fair hearing by refusing to fill in the blanks.

Cllr Wallis argued that the standards committee hearing shouldn't have gone ahead as it will investigate matters relating to his 'private and personal' life that have nothing to do with his councillorship.

But Mr justice Burton said the case for adjourning the hearing on Monday was 'unarguable'.

After reading the barrister's statement of opinion he said he was 'entirely satisfied' the blanked out information 'can and should' remain undisclosed.

'I have come to the conclusion that I do not need to make the order (relating to the statement) that Cllr Wallis seeks,' he added.

Cllr Wallis was refused permission to seek judicial review of the council's decision to hold the hearing and not to release the blanked out information to him.

STRAND NEWS SERVICE

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