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THREE NEW WITNESSES IN CROFTON APPEAL

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Local government ombudsman Jerry White is among three witnesses called to the appeal of former Hackney LBC housing ...
Local government ombudsman Jerry White is among three witnesses called to the appeal of former Hackney LBC housing director Bernard Crofton against his dismissal in February.

The witnesses have been asked to give evidence on Sunday after Mr Crofton made surprise allegations against them on the first day of his hearing last week. Mr Crofton's union representative, Keith Veness, said: 'He set off a bomb, but the allegations can't be repeated outside the council.'

Andrew Arden QC, who has worked regularly for Hackney over the past 10 years, and former head of legal services Christopher Hinde have also been called to give evidence.

The original grounds of the appeal are that the dismissal hearing was biased and oppressive. Mr Crofton said three of the five-member panel had dropped out by the final decision, and the last session ran for 17 hours until 2am, by which time one of the panel was asleep.

He claims the panel's findings were not justified by the evidence, that evidence was interfered with, and that Mr White, who as chief executive of Hackney took the case against Mr Crofton, excluded evidence. Crown immunity means Mr White does not have to attend the appeal.

The appeal is being heard by a new Labour administration led by Nick Tallentire, who took over from John McCafferty in April. 'I am confident I will get a fair hearing,' said Mr Crofton.

Mr Crofton was accused of racial harassment after investigating immigration and benefit fraud.

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