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News and Comment November 2011

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7 November (Part 2) - Bexley council - Dishonest, incompetent, vindictive

It was gratifying to note that the supporters of Olly Cromwell at Bexleyheath Magistrates Court this morning extended beyond “the usual suspects’ and included, if I may be permitted to use the phrase, ordinary concerned citizens of Bexley who had read here of Bexley council’s latest pathetic stunt. Proceedings began at 11:14 when Olly pleaded Not Guilty to the charge of “pursuing a course of conduct of harassing various Bexley councillors on social networking sites”.

It transpired that the case had been prepared by Detective Constable Thomas of Bexleyheath police who had failed to provide any particulars of the charges, exhibits or evidence. The lack of detail was noted by the District Judge. Olly’s defence is that what he wrote did not amount to harassment. There is more to it than that but I consider it best to withhold some details as to do otherwise might help his accusers.

Melvin and SandraIt was said that the police investigated Olly from March to July this year but decided not to prosecute. Whilst the charge did not reveal the names of his new accusers the Judge said they were councillors Melvin Seymour and Sandra Bauer, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in Bexley and councillor for Thamesmead East. Ms. Bauer has not been noticed by Bonkers until now (except at last week’s council meeting) so her involvement came as a surprise. One must wonder what her involvement is with Seymour.

Olly is bailed to appear at Bromley Magistrates Court on 6th January 2012 and three quarters of a day has been set aside for the hearing. Meanwhile Olly is under bail conditions that “he must not enter details on any social networking sites that make any direct or indirect reference to persons who are councillors of the London Borough of Bexley”. There was a short debate on whether the conditions should include everyone at Bexley council but the Judge said it should be restricted to councillors.

The hearing ended at approximately 11:30.

I don’t follow social networking sites so I don’t know what Olly Cromwell does on line apart from his blog. Someone told me he posted a picture of his neighbour’s house and Olly has alluded to that himself. I’ve looked on line for that picture and any ill chosen words without success. Significantly that neighbour is councillor Melvin Seymour, the painter and decorator favoured by Bexley council. He and the until now almost unknown Labour councillor Sandra Bauer must have imagined it represented some sort of threat.

Why is identifying Conservative Seymour’s house a threat that should concern Labour Bauer? You tell me.

The rot for such concerns set in when Bexley council decided to publish the names and addresses of its critics at council meetings on their website and to some extent place them in danger.

Councillor Chris Ball, Bexley’s Labour leader, said he wasn’t comfortable with the idea but it didn’t stop him voting for it. It was because of that decision that Elwyn Bryant and I visited the Civic Offices to take note of councillor addresses as is our democratic right and because we exercised that right a criminal blogged obscenely about us hours later. Bexley council continues to shelter the criminal.

Bexley council decided that posting people’s addresses on their website did not represent a risk, but when a house allegedly belonging to Melvin Seymour is identified, that is a serious criminal offence. Bexley council wants it all ways; they should be discredited at every opportunity.

House 1 House 2Councillors’ addresses always were public property but the internet makes accessibility so much easier. All councillor addresses are available on this website, my address is available with a few clicks and Google street view allows us to see what the address looks like. If that activity represents a danger to the occupant then it’s an acceptable one according to Bexley council. If it is not, what the hell are they doing publishing residents’ addresses on their website?

Anyone can get an address and take a look at the property, it doesn’t mean that malice is intended. My nonagenarian aunt uses Google street view to check up on old work friends she last met before 1977, to see if they live in better houses than she does! Here is a couple of examples of Bexley houses you can see on Google street view, chosen not altogether randomly.

Note 17th August 2012. At an appeal hearing where both Seymour and Bauer were called as witnesses and cross examined it became clear that it was Seymour who had dishonestly exaggerated the content of the Tweet in order to attempt a miscarriage of justice and Bauer had merely sent him a copy and took no part in its embellishment.


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