THE FALL OF JOHN ARTHUR JONES

September 16, 2016

16 September 2016rebecca_logo_04TODAY ONE of Anglesey’s most controversial figures was finally brought to book.

John Arthur Jones — disgraced council official and failed politician — was given an 18 months sentence for endangering RAF training jets.

Judge Geraint Walters told him he was a man driven by “arrogance”.

A jury had earlier found him guilty of 13 counts of shining bright lights into the cockpits of Hawk jets taking part in night manoeuvres at the Mona airfield.

The jets fly over Jones’ Parc Cefni business park next to his home in the village of Bodffordd near Llangefni.

The prison sentence is the climax of a saga that started more than thirty years ago.

For three decades John Arthur Jones ruthlessly exploited the council in his attempt to create a multi-million pound property empire.

♦♦♦

IN 2012 John Arthur Jones started a campaign against the RAF.

He objected to jets from RAF Valley using the Mona Airfield near his business park for night exercises.

Valley is home to the RAF’s 208 Squadron which uses Hawk jets to train fighter pilots.

Mona has been used by the RAF for more than a century.

Jones’ Parc Cefni business park, which also includes his home, is under the flight path of the Hawks.

Jones initially asked the RAF to change the route to avoid the complex which includes a children’s nursery.

JAJ_01
“JESUS” ARTHUR JONES
IN 1998 John Arthur Jones gave an interview to HTV’s current affairs programme Wales This Week. He’d just been sacked as Anglesey County Council’s Housing Director because the authority had lost confidence in him. Jones compared himself to Jesus: “A man stood in front of Pilate two thousand years ago and Pilate said I can see nothing wrong in this man. But at that time the Pharisees said crucify him. Now then, the descendants of those Pharisees are living today on Anglesey – they’re saying crucify him.”

He felt that the flights intensified after he made this request — and complained to the newspapers.

In September 2012 the Daily Mail published  an article in which Jones threatened to step up his campaign.

He asked:

“Are our children being subjected, as some say in the village, to punishment by a gang of Hooray Henrys for daring to ask if they will fly over open fields instead of a children’s nursery?”

In another letter, he warned:

“Since you have refused to send independent observers to Parc Cefni I will be arranging for a weather balloon to be raised daily at the corner of our property. It will be taken down each evening at midnight.”

This prompted the RAF to ask North Wales Police to visit Jones — a move he branded “heavy-handed and sinister”.

He dropped the weather balloon idea — but in 2013 began to shine a bright light into the cockpits of the jets as they approached Parc Cefni.

Several landings at Mona had to be abandoned because of the danger to pilots.

Undercover police mounted a surveillance operation and, on one occasion, saw Jones tracking the planes with a powerful torch.

In October 2014 he was charged in connection with 13 incidents of endangering aircraft between November 2013 and September 2014.

Jones denied all the charges and called members of his family to give evidence.

His daughter Catrin Lloyd Davies, a solicitor, and her husband, army captain Gareth Lloyd Davies gave Jones an alibi for one of the incidents.

They said the family had had a meal together and Jones didn’t leave the house.

Jones denied his campaign was actually driven by his failure to sell any of the planned holiday chalets on the site because potential buyers were put off by the jets.

Jones’ barrister Lisa Judge compared her client to the TV character Victor Meldrew.

In June this year a jury of 11 found him guilty of all 13 counts.

♦♦♦

THIS AFTERNOON Jones’ barrister Lisa Judge asked for an adjournment, telling the court Jones had attended a medical examination this morning.

Another was booked tomorrow — with a biopsy scheduled for later this month.

She said he was “a man potentially facing death” with a possibility “he could die in prison”.

Judge Walters said that he’d been told nothing about these tests until this week.

He noted that it was John Arthur Jones who had commissioned the examinations — and that he was paying for them privately.

He’d heard nothing from a consultant telling him exactly what the problem was.

In the absence of a proper diagnosis, he said, the claim that John Arthur Jones might be dying was simply “courtroom advocacy”.

He dismissed the application.

He told Jones he was a man  of “arrogance”.

He did not believe his claim that his campaign against the RAF was motivated solely by concern for the children attending the nursery at Parc Cefni:

“That was only one of the many lies you told during the trial.”

His actions were “highly reckless”.

He sentenced him to 18 months in gaol for each of the 13 counts, the sentences to run concurrently.

Tonight he is on his way to Altcourse Prison in Liverpool …

♦♦♦

JOHN ARTHUR JONES’ interest in the Bodffordd area began in the 1980s.

He bought a piece of agricultural land on a hill overlooking the village.

It enjoyed a magnificent view of the island, the nearby Cefni Reservoir and Snowdonia.

In 1987 Jones applied for planning permission to build a bungalow at the top of the hill.

He wrote to the director of planning to say that “for 10 years I have been looking for a suitable site on which to develop a fish farm”.

This particular site was perfect for the operation, he said, but there  was just one snag — security.

Jones wrote:

” … the best possible deterrent is to live on the site and be in a position to see the ponds by day and which can be lit up at night.”

Planners were opposed.

DSC_0995
COUNCIL HOUSE
THIS IS Nant Garedig, the house John Arthur Jones built in the 1990s. It’s one of scores of houses constructed by Anglesey councillors on land that the council’s own plans say shouldn’t be built on. The current owners have no connection to John Arthur Jones.
Photo: Rebecca

The application was in “conflict with the approved Anglesey Structure Plan Policies”.

But approval was given by other officers using delegated powers.

By 1990, by which time Jones had been appointed Housing Director, the permission to build the bungalow had sprouted dormer windows.

The fish farm never materialised.

At present day values, the planning permission was worth between £125,000 and £150,000.

He did not start building the house —  known as Nant Garedig — until the mid 1990s.

The construction was to be as controversial as the planning permission …

♦♦♦

WHEN JOHN Arthur Jones finally built Nant Garedig he did it on the cheap.

The foundations included hardcore which came from the former Shell oil terminal at Rhosgoch.

The council took control of the terminal in 1990, the year John Arthur Jones became Director of Housing.

The site was managed by the Housing Department.

At that time there were some 15,000 tonnes of hardcore left on the site.

In the years that followed much of it disappeared.

John Arthur Jones placed an ad in the local paper calling for tenders for what he called the remaining “random rubble”.

One of the successful tenders — for 200 tonnes at 50 pence a tonne — came from John Arthur Jones himself.

It went into the foundations of Nant Garedig.

The Housing Department did not send its Director a bill until two and a half years later.

Jones said he had asked for an invoice on three separate occasions.

When the District Auditor investigated this issue, he noted that this invoice was finally raised “during the period when the Director was being investigated by the police”.

The council also accepted a bid for the “random rubble” from a builder called O J D Griffiths.

In October 1996 John Arthur Jones drafted a letter warning the contractor that he had “carried a large quantity of stone” from the site “in direct contravention of the prohibition” not to enter the site without permission.

The implication was that he’d taken the stone without paying for it.

“Before I refer the matter to the Police for further investigation,” Jones continued, “I invite you to respond to these allegations.”

O J D Griffiths never got the chance to reply because the letter was never sent.

An official in the Housing Department, Paul Roberts, noted:

“John Arthur Jones … said letter not to go – speak to the contractor instead.”

The District Auditor investigated.

“I am particularly concerned,” he wrote in his report, “to discover that during this period Mr O J D Griffiths was undertaking work on the home of Paul Roberts … and later in the year sold and delivered hardcore from the [Rhosgoch] site to the Director of Housing and Property [John Arthur Jones] which was in the process of being constructed.”

“The apparent lenient approach taken by these officers towards this contractor represents, in my view, extremely poor judgement, particularly in the light of their personal contractual relationship with the contractor.”

At the same time the District Auditor was investigating, police began looking at some of the men working on the building of Jones’ new house.

Several were receiving housing benefit.

JAJ_02
“I DON’T BELIEVE IT!”
JOHN ARTHUR JONES — the man his barrister likened to Victor Meldrew — is no stranger to the police. In the late 1990s, after he’d been arrested by the North Wales Police investigating his use of builders on housing benefit, he went on holiday with a detective inspector from the same force. In the same period he also offered the former head of Anglesey police a contract — tracking down housing benefit fraudsters …

At the time his own housing department was mounting an operation to prevent housing benefit fraud.

John Arthur Jones was arrested in 1997 by detectives from the North Wales Police.

Eventually, he was charged with misuse of public office, intimidating witnesses and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The case later collapsed after prosecution witnesses admitted discussing the case during the trial.

♦♦♦

BUT MAKING a small fortune on his new home wasn’t enough for John Arthur Jones — he wanted to be a property tycoon.

In the early 2000s Welsh Water decided to sell its Bodffordd depot next to the Cefni Reservoir.

John Arthur Jones thought it was an ideal site for a private housing development.

He bought the five acre site for £241,000 in September 2003.

The previous month he’d sold Nant Garedig for £365,000 — and moved into the small bungalow that came with the Welsh Water depot.

He wanted permission to build 22 Canadian-style wooden chalets.

The council was happy to give him permission but insisted on conditions, the most important of which was that the park be managed as a single business.

This meant that Jones could not sell individual plots.

He has always maintained that this condition was unlawful and, many years later, a government planning inspector agreed and ordered the council to remove the condition.

Jones has always insisted that those people who criticised his plans  “… have a personal agenda based on malice and jealousy”.

Jones built two of the Canadian-style chalets but was never able to sell either of them on the open market.

The fact that the RAF conducted low-flying exercises was one of the reasons which put off potential buyers.

The remaining 20 chalets have never been built.

♦♦♦

IN 2004 John Arthur Jones was elected to the council.

A year later he had his own political party — the Radical Independents.

There were just four members — Jones was the leader and he was joined by Hefin Wyn Roberts, John Rowlands and David Lewis Roberts.

The group was small but held the balance of power on the island.

The glue that held the Radical Independents together was greed.

John Rowlands and David Lewis Roberts wanted the valuable planning permissions —  worth between £100,000 and £150,000 — which John Arthur Jones and Hefin Wyn Roberts already enjoyed.

John Rowlands got his almost immediately, despite objections from planners.

He’d given a field to his daughter and she was given permission to build a new house because she wanted to return to the island.

After she received the permission, she sold the site for £150,000.

David Lewis Roberts went one step further.

He secretly bought a plot of land near Benllech — and then tried to smash the council’s green belt policy preventing new building in the area.

When another councillor accused Roberts of corruption, Roberts complained to the Ombudsman who referred the matter to the council’s Standards Committee.

The committee decided that David Lewis Roberts was, indeed, corrupt.

It ruled that his conduct “had been within the generally understood meaning of ‘corrupt’ …”

and

“gave a clear impression that he had misused his position for personal advantage, and that it amounted to the criminal offence of misconduct in public office.”

The police were not interested in prosecuting Roberts.

But the electorate took a dim view of the chaos John Arthur Jones and his Radical Independents had unleashed.

In the election of 2008, John Arthur Jones lost his seat.

The turmoil he’d triggered continued for years afterwards, forcing the Welsh government to take over the running of the council in 2011.

The intervention lasted several years.

♦♦♦ 
Published: 16 September 2016
© Rebecca
♦♦♦

Note
This article is based on a series of pieces already published. They are:

MAY THE FARCE BE WITH YOU

♦♦♦ 

DONATIONS

If you would like to support the work of Rebecca, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

CORRECTIONS

Please let us know if there are any mistakes in this article — they’ll be corrected as soon as possible.

RIGHT OF REPLY  
If you have been mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let us have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory we’ll add it to the article.


MAY THE FARCE BE WITH YOU

September 24, 2013

rebecca_logo_04

THE BATTLE to force North Wales Police to launch a corruption investigation against a former Anglesey councillor is being lost.

The councillor was branded “corrupt” by the authority’s own Standards Committee last year.

It said his actions “amounted to the criminal offence of misconduct in public office”.

When the authority refused to report the bent councillor to the police, Rebecca Television did so.

For eleven months, two senior detectives did little but read council documents.

Finally, one of them claimed there were “inherent difficulties” in bringing a case “without the matter being subject of a formal complaint by an individual …”

This statement is false.

In April this year a local resident who claims he lost money as a result of the corrupt councillor’s actions wrote to the chief constable and asked him to investigate.

A few days after Rebecca Television pointed out this glaring error, detectives turned up on the resident’s doorstep…

This farce follows a long catalogue of questionable behaviour which suggests the force is institutionally devious.

north-wales-police-logo

IN OCTOBER last year Rebecca Television wrote to North Wales Police Chief Constable Mark Polin.

This letter asked him to investigate an extraordinary decision of Anglesey County Council’s Standards Committee in August 2012.

The committee — which polices the behaviour of councillors — found that former member David Lewis Roberts had acted corruptly.

He had spoken in favour of  planning applications in an area called Shepherds Hill where he had secretly bought land.

He paid just £15,000 for nine acres of land and tried to overturn tight controls on building new houses in the area.

Had he succeeded, the land would have rocketed in value.

(The full story is told in the article The Case of the Corrupt Councillor).

The committee said his “conduct gave a clear impression he had misused his position for personal advantage, and that it amounted to the criminal offence of misconduct in public office”.

It added “Mr David Lewis Roberts’ conduct in local planning matters in the public office of county councillor had been within the generally understood meaning of ‘corrupt’ …”

However, the Standards Committee decided not to take any further action against Roberts, partly because he was no longer a councillor.

Rebecca Television asked the Chief Constable “to formally investigate this matter”.

Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Williams, based in Caernarfon, was given the job of establishing if there was enough evidence to start an investigation.

In November he wrote to say he had obtained all the papers involved in the Standards Committee hearing and promised an update “in the early part of next year”.

It wasn’t until April that he wrote again.

He said he had now assessed these papers and asked for further documentation.

“The relevant documents were received from the council in mid-February and the information is now being analysed to enable an accurate determination of whether there exists any evidence to support a claim of criminal conduct.”

He added, however, that he was moving to a different area and the matter would be passed to another detective.

This was Detective Chief Inspector Iestyn Davies.

By this time Rebecca Television had discovered that David Lewis Roberts had lied to the Standards Committee about the date he bought the land.

He had, in fact, actually purchased the site six months earlier — and had failed to declare an interest when he spoke up on a planning application from the family he had purchased his land from.

BENT Former Anglesey County Council David Lewis Roberts — branded corrupt by the authority's Standards Committee. But North Wales appear reluctant to launch a criminal investigation against him.

BENT
Former Anglesey County Council David Lewis Roberts — branded “corrupt” by the authority’s Standards Committee. But North Wales Police is reluctant to launch a criminal investigation against him.

This application was later approved, adding more than £100,000 to the value of the plot.

We sent the evidence to Iestyn Davies.

DCI Davies appears to have started from scratch.

In June he wrote to say “I am still reviewing a mountain of paperwork obtained from the council. I should get it done this week.”

In July he said he was planning to meet the council.

Earlier this month we wrote to him again, noting the “snail’s pace evaluation of the David Lewis Roberts’ issue”.

DCI Davies replied to say that he now saw “inherent difficulties in pursuing this matter to a court of law without the matter being subject of a formal complaint by an individual or a public authority such as the Council”.

On September 9 we emailed to say that he was wrong.

The matter had been the subject of a formal complaint.

In April this year Shepherds Hill resident Adrian Broad wrote to Chief Constable Mark Polin to ask him to investigate allegations of corruption against David Lewis Roberts.

Broad lives next to the parcel of land which David Lewis Roberts had bought.

He was convinced Roberts was going to obtain planning permission — and felt he had no option but to pay a high price for a small piece of land to create a buffer zone.

In May he received a reply from Polin’s office saying his letter “is currently receiving attention”.

A few days after Rebecca Television pointed out the mistake to DCI Davies, two detectives visited Adrian Broad.

If detectives had visited Shepherds Hill earlier they would also have found other residents willing to make formal complaints.

And there is one individual who would have been more than happy to talk to them — former councillor Barrie Durkin.

Durkin has openly been denouncing David Lewis Roberts as “corrupt” for seven years.

Durkin was a key figure in the Standards committee meeting.

The committee was hearing a report from Ombudsman Peter Tyndall which found that Durkin’s description of Roberts as “corrupt” was a breach of the council’s code of conduct.

Unlike the Ombudsman, the committee actually examined Durkin’s evidence against Roberts — and found it justified.

Rebecca Television will now lodge complaints against DCIs Andrew Williams and Iestyn Williams with the Professional Standards unit of North Wales Police.

“Going on past experience, the two officers will be exonerated,” commented editor Paddy French.

“And, on one level, that’s likely to be fair enough — both detectives were probably acting on orders from headquarters in Colwyn Bay.”

“But, once they have been cleared, Rebecca Television can appeal the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Committee.”

“That allows the possibility that the IPCC can consider if the force have been party to a cover-up of serious allegations of corrupt activity on its patch.”

♦♦♦

THIS IS the second time North Wales Police have examined allegations against David Lewis Roberts.

The first time happened by accident.

In 2008 the then Managing Director of Anglesey County Council, Derrick Jones, was trying to obtain anonymous letters from the ITV Wales This Week programme.

These appeared to come from within the council’s senior management.

One of them stated: “We are fairly senior people and are close enough to the action to see what’s really going on and thus are very unhappy especially in regard to the highly biased, political  … role that [some] … managers are willing to play for some pretty ruthless local politicians.”

ITV would not surrender the letters without a court order.

Derrick Jones asked North Wales Police to intervene.

NORTH WALES POLICEA long history of being economical with the truth.

NORTH WALES POLICE
A long history of being economical with the truth.

A letter from acting Superintendent Peter Gaffey, arrived at ITV Wales in Cardiff.

He wanted to see the letters to “assess the contents and ascertain if it warrants a criminal investigation.”

He promised he wouldn’t show the letters to the council.

ITV Wales told him that there would need to be a criminal investigation and a court application before the letters could be released.

The council never obtained the letters.

However Paddy French, then a producer with Wales This Week, thought that if the force was really interested in possible criminality, there was one obvious place to look.

“I wrote to Gaffey and asked him to look at the activities of David Lewis Roberts,” said French.

“I pointed out that the council had rejected a report from its own external auditors which said it was “imperative” the authority investigate alleged breaches of the planning rules by Roberts.”

“The council refused to do so.”

“I thought it was worth the force investigating to see if Roberts had also broken the criminal law.”

“I made it plain that residents of Shepherds Hill were saying that Roberts had bought the land and was determined to get planning permission on it.”

“What they were claiming turned out to be remarkably accurate — they correctly identified the land, the number of acres and the price.”

“I marked my letter “private & confidential” because I was concerned about the destruction of evidence.”

“I was shocked to discover Gaffey then gave a copy to the council.”

It took Gaffey less than two months to consider the issue.

He wrote that if Roberts “had failed to declare an interest as required in a planning application with the intention of making a personal profit, he would be guilty of misconduct in public office and possibly other corruption charges.”

“Those who had knowingly and dishonestly aided him in the scheme would fall for consideration as conspirators.”

“It is entirely possible that a criminal investigation might reveal written evidence or other evidence to support a conspiracy, but on the basis of your letter it is difficult to see that there is sufficient material to give rise to a reasonable suspicion that an offence has been committed.”

“Until such suspicion has been established, methods such as search warrants and production orders cannot be used.”

At that point, evidence of Roberts’ purchase of the land had not come to light.

However, the information that has since emerged — from the Standards Committee and the investigative work by Rebecca Television — appears to satisfy all the conditions in Gaffey’s letter.

♦♦♦

NORTH WALES Police has not covered itself in glory in its attempts to deal with corruption on the island.

In the 1990s a long criminal investigation was carried out into the activities of councillor Gareth Winston Roberts.

This Roberts is no relation to David Lewis Roberts.

The probe came to nothing.

Gareth Winston Roberts was awarded an OBE for his services to employment on the island.

Those awarding the gong appear to have been unaware that the councillor had stood by and watched as Amlwch businessman Bill Farrell was bankrupted by the council.

(The story of Gareth Winston Roberts’ career is told in the article Dirty Rotten Scoundrel, OBE.)

In 1996 District Auditor Ceri Stradling carried out a detailed investigation into wrong-doing at the council.

By now, Gareth Winston Roberts was Leader.

Stradling produced two damning reports and found evidence of criminal activity in the council.

He called in the North Wales Police.

Stradling singled out the housing department, headed by director John Arthur Jones, for the most serious indictments.

Stradling criticised Jones for awarding contracts which were not good value for the people of Anglesey.

One of these contracts — for the investigation of housing fraud — was negotiated with the recently retired North Wales Police Superintendent Clive McGregor.

McGregor — who was later elected to the council and served briefly as Leader — has always insisted that everything he did was above-board.

The police investigation led to John Arthur Jones being prosecuted.

He was accused of using men to help build his house who he knew were in receipt of benefit from his own housing department.

He denied the charge.

The trial collapsed after witnesses admitted to talking to one another before they gave evidence.

Jones had been suspended as housing director and was later sacked.

It later emerged that Jones had gone on holiday with a North Wales Police detective while the investigation against him was taking place.

Detective Inspector Roy Gregson and his wife, a civilian police employee, had gone on holiday to Florida with Jones and his wife.

North Wales Police gave the officer “suitable advice” — one of the lightest forms of disciplinary action.

A spokesman added “we do regret, however, that the detective and the civilian employee acted so unwisely.”

John Arthur Jones became a councillor in 2004 and soon formed his own political party, the Radical Independents with four members.

In 2006 the party became the junior member of a new ruling coalition led by Gareth Winston Roberts.

Within months the administration was plunged into chaos when the Radical Independents spearheaded a surge in attempts to force through planning applications which were against the island’s structure plan.

These planning applications, if successful, turned small parcels of land worth a few thousand pounds into building plots worth over £100,000.

The most controversial of these schemes were the ones in Shepherds Hill.

They were strongly supported by David Lewis Roberts, a member of the Radical Independents.

He claimed that each of the Radical Independents were free agents.

“When we formulated the Radical Independents we had an agreement between the four of us — I’m sure the others would tell — that we’d do our own thing.”

The crisis came to an end in 2007 when the constitution was changed to prevent councillors from dealing with these applications.

As early as 2006 Barrie Durkin, who was a community councillor at the time, had sent a letter to every county councillor entitled “Nice Work If You Can Get It”.

BARRIE DURKIN  A county councillor between 2004 and 2008, Durkin branded David Lewis Roberts "corrupt" for more thsn seven years. Twice the Ombudsman found that he'd broken the authority's code of conduct but last year the Standards Committee decided he'd been right all along ...

BARRIE DURKIN
A county councillor between 2004 and 2008, Durkin called David Lewis Roberts “corrupt” for more than seven years. Twice the Ombudsman found that he’d broken the authority’s code of conduct but last year the Standards Committee decided he’d been right all along …

The letter accused Roberts of “failing to declare an interest and corrupting endless planning applications …”

Roberts complained about Durkin saying he was “outrageous, intolerable and psychotic”.

The then Ombudsman, Adam Peat, found the language Durkin used was a breach of the council’s code of conduct and referred him to the council’s Standards Committee.

In 2007 the committee “censured” Durkin for the language he had used.

Neither the Ombudsman nor the Standards Committee bothered to examine if there was actually any substance to Durkin’s claims.

The ruling did not stop Durkin calling Roberts “corrupt”.

So Roberts complained again in 2010.

The Ombudsman, by now Peter Tyndall, again declined to examine the deeper issues — and inevitably found that, in calling David Lewis Roberts “corrupt”, Durkin had once again breached the code of conduct.

“To suggest that a person is corrupt or the perpetrator of unlawful or criminal acts is a very serious allegation to make and one which I consider should not be made lightly.”

It was the Standards Committee meeting in August 2012 which finally broke the spell — and got to the heart of the matter.

“It seems to me,” says Rebecca Television editor Paddy French, “that the committee on this occasion showed itself a better investigator than either the Ombudsman or the North Wales Police.”

“Sadly, though, the committee’s good work was rendered meaningless by the decision not to call in the police.”

♦♦♦

IT IS not just in issues involving Anglesey County Council that North Wales Police has been found wanting.

There are also serious question marks about its role in the investigation of child abuse allegations.

Rebecca Television recently published an examination of a vicious paedophile ring operating on the North Wales coast.

The investigation comprised a video — Brothers in the Shadows — and an article The Missing Masonic Child Abuser.

The ring involved a retired detective who was also a freemason.

He was caught and gaoled — but the freemason he claimed invited him into the ring was never brought to book.

North Wales Police was devious in its dealings with Rebecca Television.

When we asked the force if it had sought the help of the brotherhood in its attempts to track down this missing abuser, a spokesman said it had.

But we had already asked the masons, both locally and in London, if the force had been in touch.

They said it hadn’t.

They confirmed that the police had been to see them only after we started asking questions.

In 2010 Rebecca Television editor Paddy French and a cameraman door-stepped the retired detective to ask him about the missing mason.

Afterwards the retired detective rang the police and said French was harassing him.

“This is nonsense,” said French, “I had written to him and he had not replied.”

“I called at his house and he wasn’t in. I got hold of his phone and talked to him — he wouldn’t be interviewed.”

“A couple of days later we caught up with him at a garage on the A55 — and he spoke to us.”

“This is perfectly standard broadcasting practice.”

Some months later North Wales Police sent French a caution.

“I find this offensive” says French.

“Here we have a North Wales Police officer taking the word of a convicted child abuser at face value.”

“The officer finds it justifiable to issue a caution without ever speaking to me.”

“It gives the impression that the force is more interested in protecting criminals than helping an investigative journalist bring a missing child abuser to book.”

♦♦♦

THIS IS not the first time the force has been caught out in its handling of freemasonry.

A classic example took place in 1995 when the then Chief Constable Michael Argent tried to insist there was no police lodge in the North Wales Police area.

As we revealed in the programme Brothers in the Shadows, local newspaper editor Mark Brittain raised the issue after he discovered the existence of a lodge called Custodes Pacis.

When Argent denied the existence of the lodge, Brittain sent him the entry for the lodge.

Argent then accepted that, yes, it did exist but that there were no serving officers in its ranks.

He was forced to retract that claim as well when Brittain proved there were.

Brittain nows wonders if this attempt to bury the existence of the lodge was connected to the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal which was set up in 1996.

One of the key issues before the Tribunal was the issue of masonic influence inside the force.

The existence of Cusdodes Pacis was kept from the Tribunal — despite the fact that its chief counsel Gerard Elias is a mason.

♦♦♦

THE MOST serious question mark against the force is its role in the failure to call a key witness before the Tribunal.

This was Des Frost, joint number two at the Bryn Alyn complex of privately-owned children’s homes in Wrexham.

(This story is told in the article Silent Witness.)

Bryn Alyn’s boss, John Allen, had been gaoled for six years in 1995 for abusing children in his care.

Frost had given an interview to HTV in which he claimed that he had gone to the police with allegations against Allen more than a decade before the paedophile was finally brought to book.

The Tribunal warned HTV it would be in contempt of the Tribunal if it broadcast any allegations from Frost.

The allegations were not reported.

But Frost was never called to give evidence before the Tribunal.

Ten days after Frost had been interviewed by HTV, he was visited by North Wales Police Detective Inspector Neil McAdam and a statement taken.

When Rebecca Television emailed McAdam in 2009 to ask about this interview, he acknowledged the letter but never answered the questions.

We complained to the force Professional Standards department and were eventually told McAdam had been instructed not to reply.

“It is reasonable that DI McAdam has sought advice and guidance from his line managers expecting that ownership to respond …  rest with someone higher within the organisation,” noted the investigation report.

Rebecca Television had already written to Chief Constable Mark Polin about the matter.

He never replied.

And there the matter would have rested had it not been for Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision, last autumn, to reopen the investigation into child abuse in North Wales.

Rebecca Television had made a statement about the Frost affair to the Macur Review which is conducting an examination to see if the Tribunal did its work properly.

♦♦♦

© Rebecca Television 2013

CORRECTIONS  Please let us know if there are any mistakes in this article — they’ll be corrected as soon as possible.

RIGHT OF REPLY  If you have been mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let us have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory we’ll add it to the article.

DONATIONS  If you would like to support the work of Rebecca Television, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button.

Donate Button with Credit Cards


THE END OF THE GANG OF FOUR

May 12, 2013

rebecca_6a
THE ANGLESEY council election on May 2 saw the end of an era.

The last member of the political group responsible for the planning crisis of 2005-2007 lost his seat.

The introduction of large multi-member wards saw the defeat of other controversial politicians.

But the reform failed to replace the dominance of the Independent group system with a more disciplined traditional party set-up.

The Independents have taken control and there are signs that the seeds have been sown for another crisis in the years ahead…

GANG OF FOUR  The defeat of Hefin Wyn Thomas and John Arthur Jones' failure to gain a seat in the May  2 election means an end to the power of the old Radical Independent group. In the 2008 election John Rowlands retired and David Lewis Roberts was defeated.

THE GANG OF FOUR
The defeat of Hefin Wyn Thomas (bottom left) and the failure of John Arthur Jones (top right) to gain a seat in the election means the end of the four-strong Radical Independent group. In the 2008 election John Rowlands (bottom right) retired and David Lewis Roberts (top left) was defeated.

WHEN THE count got under way at the Leisure Centre in Llangefni on May 3, the key question was — would the grip of the Independents on the island be broken?

The elections had been delayed for a year after the Welsh Government took control of the council in March 2011 to allow a programme of “democratic renewal” to take place.

The government hoped that the introduction of large multi-member wards would allow mainstream parties to take over from the Independents who were seen as the cause of the island’s instability.

In the Canolbarth Môn ward, which covers Llangefni, Plaid Cymru mounted a sustained campaign to take all three seats.

The strategy succeeded, taking more than half the votes.

In the process, the party’s three candidates kept out the controversial Independent, John Arthur Jones.

Jones is the disgraced former Director of Housing (1990-1998) and the leader of the Radical Independents who were the junior partners in the ruling coalition of 2005-2008.

He’s featured in several Rebecca Television reports, including The Gospel According to “Jesus” Arthur Jones and A Plague On All Their Houses.

Despite his chequered career, he came fourth with 915 votes, 11 per cent of the vote. This means that he remains a force to be reckoned with — and likely to stand for the council again in four years time.

His former Radical Independent partner, Hefin Wyn Thomas, didn’t fare so well.

He was standing in the new three-member Lligwy ward and could only manage 426 votes, coming 9th out of 12 candidates. His chances of making a comeback in the new order look slim.

His departure means that the last sitting member of John Arthur Jones’ four-strong Radical Independent group has disappeared.

The group was the junior partner in the administration led by veteran politician Gareth Winston Roberts, OBE between 2005 and 2008.

Roberts was the subject of the highly critical Rebecca Television article Dirty Rotten Scoundrel, OBE. He did not stand in the elections.

Also defeated was the arch-enemy of the Gareth Winston Roberts – Radical Independents axis, Barrie Durkin, who came fifth in the Lligwy ward.

His decision to live off the island probably cost him many votes.

Plaid Cymru became the largest of the mainstream political parties with 12 seats.

Labour’s campaign was less visible and the party fared badly.

It won only three seats and lost one of its key figures — sitting councillor John Chorlton, who could only manage fifth place in the three-member Ynys Gybi ward.

Chorlton had been an independent member in the past and an ally of Gareth Winston Roberts and John Arthur Jones in the 2005-2008 administration.

Overall, however, the Independents proved more than a match for the new government-imposed electoral regime.

Even though they lost their leader Bryan Owen, the group still topped the poll with 14 members.

The Independents have now struck a deal with the three Labour members to form a new administration.

♦♦♦

THE FAILURE to break the power of the Independents is a major blow to the Cardiff government’s hopes of restoring good government on the island.

The Independents, of course, are not a naturally cohesive group and have shown a tendency in the past to fragment and form new alliances as ambitious  councillors jockey for supremacy.

In addition, the decision by the Executive in April to give councillors back their power to “call-in” controversial planning applications is another recipe for trouble.

The power had been removed in 2007 to bring an end to the planning crisis in which scores of applications were approved against officers’ recommendations.

What has tended to happen in the past is that slowly but surely the calling in of these planning applications — which can add between £100,000 and £150,000  to the value of a plot — become more common and more blatant.

This is what led to the crisis of 2005-2007 which itself followed an earlier scandal in the early 1990s.

In the process, ordinary people — like Bill Farrell, the victim in the 1990s crisis (see Dirty Rotten Scoundrel, OBE) — are ruined.

There is no reason to believe this won’t happen again.

The lesson of the past seems to be that, no matter how outrageous a councillor’s actions are, the chances of him being brought to book are virtually nil.

Take the case of former councillor David Lewis Roberts, the Radical Independent member who lost his seat in 2008.

Last year the council’s own Standards Committee decided he had been corrupt in his attempts to pervert the planning system in 2006-7 (see The Case of the Corrupt Councillor).

But the committee, inexplicably, decided not to call in the police to investigate.

Our attempt to persuade North Wales Police to mount a criminal investigation of David Lewis Roberts continues.

The force is sifting through documents supplied by the council and has yet to come to a decision.

With the government in Cardiff, the council, the Ombudsman — and,  so far, the police — seemingly unable or unwilling to tackle the root causes of the problem, the chances are that Anglesey will, after a period of peace, soon be back in the limelight…

♦♦♦

FORMER LEADER Clive McGregor has written to us about the article The Gospel According to “Jesus” Arthur Jones which was published on April 26.

That article featured the 1997 report by the District Auditor which criticised John Arthur Jones — then the council’s Housing Director — for awarding a contract to a firm of private investigators in which McGregor was a partner.

At the time McGregor had just retired as the North Wales Police superintendent in charge of Anglesey.

McGregor insists that no contract to investigate housing benefit fraud was ever signed and that he was disappointed that the District Auditor had not spoken to him or his partner.

“Had he spoken to us, he might well have had a stronger case against John Arthur Jones,” he says.

JOHN ARTHUR JONES  A profound sense of infallibility ...

JOHN ARTHUR JONES
The former housing director and councillor has always insisted he’s never done anything wrong. He says that the District Auditor’s reports which led to his sacking in the 1990s were “unfair” and “irrational”. He has branded other criticism of his actions as “false” or “misleading”.

McGregor says that in May 1997 John Arthur Jones had rung him at home and offered him a job as a Benefit Fraud investigator.

McGregor refused because he was about to set up his own firm, Môn Investigations.

He told Jones that the firm might be interested in bidding for the work if the council advertised for tenders.

“The next contact that I received from John Arthur Jones was about a month later in early July in which he said that he was keen to appoint our partnership and as Director he did not need to go to tender if the contract value was below £3000.”

“With those assurances I agreed that we would undertake some work for the Council within the delegated sum at the rate of £20.00 per hour. John Arthur Jones confirmed these arrangements in writing.”

“I was unaware that he was under investigation by the Fraud Squad otherwise I would not have touched him with a barge pole.”

McGregor says that he considers John Arthur Jones and Gareth Winston Roberts as the main architects of Anglesey’s troubles: “the ills of the Council are directly attributable to these two characters [as is] the total lack of governance within both the [pre-1996] Anglesey Borough Council and the Isle of Anglesey County Council for almost three decades.”

♦♦♦ 

© Rebecca Television 2013

CORRECTIONS  Please let us know if there are any mistakes in this article — they’ll be corrected as soon as possible.

RIGHT OF REPLY  If you have been mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let us have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory we’ll add it to the article.

DONATIONS  If you would like to support the work of Rebecca Television, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

COMING UP

POACHER TURNED gamekeeper Rhodri Williams is the Welsh Director of the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom. In the article — A Man Of Conviction  Rebecca Television will chart the story of his rise to power and his dramatic departure from the television company he helped to found. In the television programme — Hidden Agenda — his former partner Ron Jones tells the story of the dramatic days leading up to Williams’ dismissal. 


THE CASE OF THE CORRUPT COUNCILLOR

March 31, 2013

 rebecca_6aJOHN ARTHUR JONES is one of the most controversial characters ever to have graced local government in Wales.

Now he’s standing for the council in the May elections on Anglesey.

But he has a problem. Last August the council’s Standards Committee delivered a damning verdict on one of his closest political allies.

Elected as a councillor in 2004, Jones went on to form his own political group, the Radical Independents. For three years the group held the balance of political power on the island.

Jones’ deputy was the retired estate agent David Lewis Roberts.

Last August the council’s Standards Committee delivered a damning indictment on the way David Lewis Roberts handled planning applications.

The committee said his conduct “had been within the generally understood meaning of ‘corrupt’ …” and “gave a clear impression that he had misused his position for personal advantage, and that it amounted to the criminal offence of misconduct in public office.”

The committee’s judgement has never been reported properly — until now …

JOHN ARTHUR JONES
His career in local government has been stormy — he was sacked as Housing Director in 1998 and ten years later lost his seat on the council.

THERE HAVE been two major crises in the political life of Anglesey — and John Arthur Jones has been at the heart of both of them.

Now he is standing again as a councillor in the forthcoming May 2 local elections.

The election was delayed for a year because of the Welsh Government’s dramatic intervention in the affairs of the authority.

His election leaflet doesn’t mention his role in either the crisis of 1996-1998 or the more recent 2005-2008 planning scandal.

He dramatically lost his job as the council’s Housing Director in 1998 after the District Auditor delivered a devastating verdict on the way he ran the department.

Jones personally awarded contracts worth millions of pounds, by-passing the council’s own tendering rules.

The police were called in to investigate the way Jones had built a house on the island. Some of the work was done by men who were receiving housing benefit from the council’s housing department.

Jones was charged with misuse of public office, intimidating witnesses and attempting to pervert the course of justice. He pleaded not guilty – and has always insisted that he was completely innocent.

The trial was stopped after prosecution witnesses admitted discussing the case among themselves.

Jones was elected to the council in 2004 and formed his own political group, the Radical Independents, in 2005.

The four-strong group became the junior members of the coalition that ruled the island for the next three years.

Jones’ deputy was David Lewis Roberts who had already started a campaign to smash the planning rules in the Shepherds Hill area a couple of miles from Benllech.

In a television interview in 2008, Roberts claimed that each member of the Radical Independents was a free agent.

DAVID LEWIS ROBERTS The retired estate agent from Benllech who tried to drive a coach and horses through Anglesey's planning rules.

DAVID LEWIS ROBERTS
The retired estate agent from Benllech tried to drive a coach and horses through Anglesey’s planning rules…

“When we formulated the Radical Independents,” he told ITV Wales, “we had an agreement between the four of us – I’m sure the others would tell – that we’d do our own thing. In other words, we didn’t comply with a whip in any form.”

Planning was one of the group’s major areas of interest. David Lewis Roberts was a member of the planning committee, John Arthur Jones was the vice-chairman and a third member, Hefin Wyn Thomas, was the Cabinet member in charge of planning.

♦♦♦

SOON AFTER Roberts was elected, planning applications began to be submitted to build new houses in the quiet country lanes of the Shepherds Hill area of his ward.

Under the existing Local Structure Plan, new houses were not allowed and the normal practice was that planners would refuse the applications using delegated powers.

Councillor Roberts began “calling in” these applications — known as “departures” because they were departures from the  council’s structure plan —  which meant they would be determined by councillors rather than planners.

Roberts called in at least ten departure applications in his ward. Had all of them been successful, the total value added to the land involved would have been in the region of £1,200,000.

The small community of Shepherds Hill became divided between those who saw a chance to make a financial killing and those who wanted to preserve the character of the area.

Some residents couldn’t resist the lure of a planning permission that would add more than £100,000 to the value of their property.

Their opponents felt that the narrow country lanes — many of them one way tracks with passing places — couldn’t cope with increased traffic. Some also feared that a rash of new houses would reduce the value of their properties.

In May 2006 an application was submitted by a retired policeman for a new property next to the house known as Pant y Bugail.

This land was owned by local landowner and community councillor Dewi Wyn Roberts.

Dewi Wyn Roberts is not related to David Lewis Roberts but the latter “called in” the application to stop it being refused by planners under delegated powers.

As he had done with other applications, Councillor Roberts argued that Shepherds Hill was a “cluster” within the meaning of the Anglesey Local Structure Plan and that the application should be approved.

Planners told him he was wrong, Shepherds Hill was not defined as a “cluster” and recommended refusal.

The owner of Pant y Bugail, Adrian Broad, became concerned about what was happening at Shepherds Hill.

Broad told journalists there were widespread rumours that David Lewis Roberts had bought land in Shepherds Hill from Dewi Wyn Roberts — and was determined to smash the planning restrictions to get planning permission on the land he had bought.

Broad said the rumour was that the land Councillor Roberts had bought was a field of rough grazing land known as The Bonc. The boundary of The Bonc was close to Broad’s home.

Broad decided that he had no alternative but to buy a strip of land from Dewi Wyn Roberts to create a “buffer zone” between his property and The Bonc. It was less than an acre but the “ransom strip” cost him £4,500.

Eventually, in July 2006, the planning application was rejected — with John Arthur Jones voting against it.

But another application, just across the road, was finally approved at the same meeting. Again John Arthur Jones voted against.

This was a paddock next to a house called Bwthyn ar y Bryn owned by an elderly couple, George and June Green.

THE PADDOCK — BEFORE

THE PADDOCK — BEFORE
This field of grazing land was worth a few thousand pounds …

DSC_1021

THE PADDOCK — AFTER
… with planning permission, the value rocketed to £125,000.

They spoke to Councillor Roberts who came to see them.

“I said I would do my best for them,” Roberts told ITV Wales two years later  “…they said we want to move because the garden is getting too big and I said OK then and that’s what I went on. I got them the planning.”

Another  resident, David Armour,  claimed that Councillor Roberts came to see him and other residents to try to persuade them that it was council policy to build new houses in Shepherds Hill.

“To my knowledge there must have maybe been ten or twelve objections,” he told reporters, “but as far as he was concerned he was pushing it through and he actually told me on the phone that as far as he’s concerned it would be passed.”

Councillor Roberts spoke up for and voted in favour of the Greens’ application.

When it was finally approved, John Arthur Jones voted against.

The Greens never built anything on the paddock. In October 2006 they sold the site to local businessman Tony Hargreaves for £80,000.

Hargreaves had signed David Lewis Roberts’ nomination papers when he decided to stand as a councillor in 2004.

The Greens later sold their existing bungalow to Hargreaves – and moved to Spain.

Hargreaves later sold the paddock for £125,000.

♦♦♦

BUT BY NOW it was becoming clear that Councillor Roberts was breaking the council’s constitution which does not allow members of the planning committee to lobby for or against applications.

They can do so ‚ but only if they declare an interest and take no further part in the planning committee’s determination of the application.

Planning meetings in the summer of 2006 became heated. After one , a senior council official wrote to committee members to say that ” … if the current trend continues a point will be reached where the committee will lose the confidence of its officers let alone that of the public or even the National Assembly.”

In July John Arthur Jones resigned as vice-chairman of the committee saying that he was fed up with committee members making decisions on personal rather than planning grounds. He remained a committee member.

He stopped short of openly criticising David Lewis Roberts. Roberts resigned from the committee — a move that allowed him to openly support applications at Shepherds Hill.

In December 2006 the council’s external auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, produced a report about the large number of departure applications which were coming before the planning committee.

The report noted allegations that David Lewis Roberts was breaking the planning procedure rules and stated:

” … it is imperative that the Council should investigate all alleged breaches of the code of conduct in line with its own procedures.”

The council said it wasn’t its responsibility to investigate.

But opposition to David Lewis Roberts was growing.

The man who acted as the main “whistleblower” was former demolition contractor Barrie Durkin from Benllech who was a member of the community council which covered the Shepherds Hill area.

In 2006 Durkin sent a letter to every councillor. Entitled “Nice Work If You Can Get It”, the letter accused Roberts of “failing to declare an interest and corrupting endless planning applications involving developments worth millions …”

Roberts complained to the Ombudsman saying that Durkin was “outrageous, intolerable and psychotic”.

The Ombudsman, at that time Adam Peat, condemned Durkin:

BARRIE DURKIN For years the retired demolition contractor was a thorn in the side of the Radical Independents.

BARRIE DURKIN
For years the retired demolition contractor was the main “whistleblower” on Anglesey. He became a thorn in the side of the David Lewis Roberts and John Arthur Jones.

“In my view, the language he has chosen to use is more than ‘colourful’, it goes far beyond what could reasonably be regarded as the normal currency of political debate and is clearly libellous.”

He sent the matter to Anglesey’s Standards Committee in 2007 for determination.

The committee “censured” Durkin, ruling that the language he had used against David Lewis Roberts failed to “show respect and consideration” and had brought the office of community councillor into “disrepute”.

In 2008 Durkin was elected to the council. In the same poll, David Lewis Roberts and John Arthur Jones both lost their seats.

In April 2010 David Lewis Roberts made another complaint to the Ombudsman about the language Durkin used against him.

Roberts complained that two weeks earlier Durkin wrote a letter to all councillors in which the whistleblower claimed: “it’s little wonder that the likes of ex, Councillor David Lewis Roberts, was being able to corrupt the Planning Committee on a number of occasions, with complete immunity (which he has now admitted to)”

Roberts also complained that Durkin had also claimed, on the Druid of Anglesey blog, that Roberts had “openly admitted” that he’d told lies, and admitted to everything i’d (sic) accused him of.”

Durkin added:

“Unfortunately because of the ambience of immunity which still exists, David Lewis Roberts is now – through his corrupt activities – sitting on some nine acres of land in one of the most prestiges (sic) area of natural beauty on Anglesey worth with Planning permission without laying a brick some, £10,000,000 or so. Who said crime doesn’t pay?”

The Ombudsman — by now it was Peter Tyndall — was not impressed. He concluded that Durkin “uses phrases (sic) such as ‘corrupt’, ‘lies’ and ‘crime’ when referring to Mr Lewis Roberts. Each of these words gives rise to negative connotations about a person’s character.”

“To suggest that a person is corrupt or the perpetrator of unlawful or criminal acts is a very serious allegation to make and one which I consider should not be made lightly.”

The Ombudsman did concede that it was possible that Roberts had broken the council’s constitution and that he may have failed to declare an interest.

But he chose to concentrate on the words Durkin used  that Roberts had “corrupted the planning committee” – and said there was no evidence to support this allegation.

He added “that the manner he employed to express his concerns can only have the effect of lowering the public’s expectations and confidence in their elected members.”

He ended by saying  ” … I am satisfied that his actions in commenting on these issues in the way that he did could only have the effect of bringing the authority into disrepute at a time when it is trying to recover from the problems of the past.”

He referred the matter to the Standards Committee which, in August last year, met to consider the matter.

This time around, the committee’s hearing was to be dramatic and its conclusion electrifying.

♦♦♦

THE STANDARDS Committee ignored the nit-picking stance taken by the Ombudsman and got straight down to the core of the issue — was there any substance to Barrie Durkin’s claim that David Lewis Roberts was corrupt?

The Committee rejected an attempt by the council to hear the case in private.

The committee heard from both Durkin and Roberts.

Although Durkin was “not a strong witness as a number of his broad assertions were not supported by evidence”, Roberts was an “unreliable and evasive witness”.

The committee homed in on the relationship between David Lewis Roberts and Dewi Wyn Roberts.

DAVID LEWIS ROBERTS
An “unreliable and evasive witness.”

When he gave evidence to the Standards Committee, David Lewis Roberts said he signed a legally binding agreement to buy 9 acres of land called The Bonc at Shepherds Hill on 20 April 2007. The price was £15,000.

The committee then looked at his conduct at the full council meeting on 5 April 2007 where David Lewis Roberts had spoken up in favour of a planning application in Shepherds Hill.

The committee concluded “that, contrary to his evidence, Mr David Lewis Roberts had been in negotiation to acquire the option on the 9 acres at Shepherds Hill for significantly longer than the ‘3 or 4 days’ which he stated, before the completion of the option on 20 April 2007.”

The committee bluntly concluded “… this conduct gave a clear impression he had misused his position for personal advantage, and that it amounted to the criminal offence of misconduct in public office.”

It found that “the substance” of Durkin’s comments “were correct” … “Mr David Lewis Roberts’ conduct in local planning matters in the public office of County Councillor had been within the generally understood meaning of ‘corrupt’ …”

It added that “he had acquired 9 acres of land in a prime location and, if he obtained planning permission for the residential development of that land, it would have very considerable value; and his conduct gave the impression that it amounted to misconduct in public office.”

The Committee also took a dim view of Robert’s activities while he was a member of the council’s Local Development Panel in 2006 and 2007.

The panel was considering where new building would be allowed in the future. Shepherds Hill was discussed as a possible area for new housing but Roberts did not declare an interest.

In January 2008 Shepherd’s Hill resident Peter Day, a friend of David Lewis Roberts who had made several unsuccessful applications to build new houses in the area, submitted a request that the councillor’s 9 acres should be considered for housing development. Day said he was doing so on behalf of David Lewis Roberts.

In December 2011, David Lewis Roberts himself submitted the site for inclusion as housing land in the next Local Development Plan.

Although he had said that his ambition was to build a log cabin for him and his wife, now he was suggesting that 10 houses might be built on the site.

If the council ever give permission to build these 10 properties David Lewis Roberts’ investment of just £15,000 would be worth more than a million pounds.

Inevitably, the Standards committee rejected David Lewis Roberts’ complaint against Barrie Durkin.

♦♦♦

IN FACT, the situation was far worse than the Standards Committee believed because David Lewis Roberts lied when he gave evidence to it— just as he had earlier lied to the Ombudsman.

His claim that  he bought The Bonc in April 2007 is false — he actually bought the land six months earlier in September 2006.

Rebecca Television has obtained a copy of an email from his solicitors Edwards & Lane which states: “We confirm the date of exchange of contracts was 13th September 2006.” The email identifies the plot as “Land lying to the north of Pant y Bugail, Tyn y Gongl”.

That plot is The Bonc.

The reason why David Lewis Roberts was desperate to conceal the actual date of purchase was that he had supported a key application on land owned by Dewi Lewis Roberts after he had bought The Bonc.

Early in 2007 he had called in an application to build a house on land at Tan Y Marian, not far away from Shepherds Hill. When it came before the planning committee in March 2007, Roberts supported the development.

The application was finally approved by the planning committee in June 2007. Roberts did not declare an interest.

TAN Y MARIAN A new house being built on the second plot David Lewis Roberts helped

LAND NEAR TAN Y MARIAN
Planning permission for this house  was granted after the man who owned the land secretly sold another plot to Councillor David Lewis Roberts …

John Arthur Jones voted in favour as did another member of Radical Independents, Hefin Thomas.

The permission turned a plot of land that was worth only a few thousand pounds into a site worth £125,000.

But, even though David Lewis Roberts had successfully pulled the wool over the Standards Committee’s eyes over the date he purchased The Bonc, it did him no good.

The Standards Committee verdict was utterly damning.

But the committee then fatally undermined the power of its own verdict by deciding that no further action needed to be taken.

It said that planning procedures had been tightened up and local members could no longer “call in” applications after the council changed the rules in September 2007.

It also noted that the membership of the council had changed.

“Accordingly, the Committee concluded that no action needs to be taken in respect of the matters which were the subject of the hearing.”

The wider message is clear. Get elected to the council and try to corrupt the planning process.

David Lewis Roberts broke the rules — and managed to drive through two planning permissions each worth £125,000.

Even if you’re caught, the council will do little or nothing to stop you …

Last October Rebecca Television wrote to the North Wales Police to ask them to carry out an investigation into David Lewis Roberts’ activities to determine if he has broken the criminal law.

In November Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Williams wrote to say that he was studying the Standards Committee papers.

He promised to “update you further in the early part of next year.” He has not been in touch since.

We asked David Lewis Roberts for a comment. He did not reply to our email.

When the local press reported the Standards Committee verdict it didn’t include its conclusion that Roberts’ conduct  “amounted to the criminal offence of misconduct in public office”.

Instead, it reported that Durkin had been cleared.

It quoted David Lewis Roberts “I’m disappointed. I thought the committee was biased in his favour.”

We also asked John Arthur Jones to comment. There was no reply by the time this article was published.

♦♦♦ 

© Rebecca Television 2013

CORRECTIONS  Please let us know if there are any mistakes in this article — they’ll be corrected as soon as possible.

RIGHT OF REPLY  If you have been mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let us have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory we’ll add it to the article.

DONATIONS  If you would like to support the work of Rebecca Television, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

COMING UP

LAST YEAR Winston Roddick, QC was elected the first police commissioner for North Wales. For many years Roddick was a member of one of Wales’ most powerful masonic lodges until he decided to stand down after he took up a judicial appointment. But why didn’t his election campaign make it clear he’d once been a mason? And did the masonic vote in North Wales play any part in his victory? 


%d bloggers like this: