A COUNCILLOR convicted of harassing a former business partner has been cleared of breaking Chester City Council’s Code of Conduct.
Cllr Max Drury, owner of Chester Mobility, resigned from the Conservative Party on being found guilty after a trial of harassing former business partner James Meadows and his wife Joanne.
But it was Cllr Drury’s comments to Mr Meadows and police which prompted an investigation by the Standards Board for England following three complaints, including from presiding judge Nicholas Sanders.
During one incident Mr Meadows told Drury, of Clifford Drive, Chester, he would call the police, to which he claimed Drury responded: “I’m a councillor. They can’t touch me.”
An harassment order was served on Drury by police officers but he refused to read or to sign it. PC Mark Hughes said: “He said that as a councillor he should be treated differently to everybody else and that he was above suspicion.”
But ethical standards officer Jonathan Wigmore cleared Cllr Drury, who sits on the new Cheshire West and Chester Council, of failing to comply with the Code.
He noted that Drury disputed making the alleged comments but dismissed the case because the member was not conducting official council business when the incidents occurred.
Former city Cllr Bob Rudd (Labour), who brought a complaint against Drury, responded: “I am disappointed that the investigating officer has ruled that the behaviour of Cllr Drury, when he was found guilty at Chester Magistrate’s Court on 31st July 2008 of criminal harassment, fined and subjected to a two year restraining order, was not subject to any of the Code of Conduct provisions.
“No one should expect to be treated differently by the police or the courts because they are a councillor. Cllr Drury should resign from the new council and stand as an Independent if he feels that the public support his actions that led him to court last year.”
Sentencing Drury, District Judge Sanders said at the time: “It’s been a matter of surprise to me that Mr Drury’s reaction was to resort to relying on his status as a councillor in this matter when in reality it had absolutely nothing to do with anything in this case.”
In separate proceedings, Cllr Drury was cleared of harassing his next door neighbours last October. He did not wish to comment.