Investigation finds councillor swore at members of the public – allegedly calling them ‘idle sh*ts’

10:54 31 July 2014

Debden parish councillor Stewart Luck.

Debden parish councillor Stewart Luck.

Archant

A councillor was found to have sworn at members of the public – allegedly calling them “idle sh*ts” – following an investigation.

Councillor Stewart Luck, pictured, was reported to have breached Debden Parish Council’s code of conduct after losing his temper during a heated debate on the building of a new village hall.

He was cleared of shouting down the chairman Cllr Andrew Tetlow, calling district councillor Tina Knight “a liar” and bullying the parish council clerk.

The allegations relate to an extraordinary parish council meeting in February.

Michael Perry, Uttlesford District Council’s legal officer, carried out the investigation.

In a report, he concluded that Cllr Luck swore at the public for opposing a rise in the Council Tax precept to fund the new village hall, but said the exact words he used were unclear.

Witness accounts, according to the report, differed as to what Cllr Luck said. One alleged it was “you idle sh*ts at the back”, while another claimed it was “as for all you sh*ts at the back”. A third suggested it was “the people at the back had done sh*t towards getting the new village hall”.

The report also found Cllr Luck shouted down the parish council’s clerk, Christine Griffin.

Mr Perry wrote in his report: “Although the atmosphere at the meeting was undoubtedly heated, I consider Cllr Luck’s behaviour towards the public as being wholly unacceptable.

“I find that Cllr Luck’s remarks were directed at an identifiable section of the public and that the remarks were offensive not only by his use of bad language but also by his inference that the persons to whom his remarks would object did little or nothing for the benefit of the village.”

Cllr Luck was found to have breached three sections of the Code of Conduct.

The Standards Committee will now discuss the findings at a meeting next week and decide on possible punishment.

If the committee accepts the report, Cllr Luck could be censored and asked to apologise for his actions. Alternatively, the committee members may choose to dismiss the findings and take no action.

Cllr Luck declined to comment until after next Tuesday’s meeting.

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