A high profile Labour councillor convicted of assault has overcome one hurdle in the fight to clear his name but will face an appeal at Chester Crown Court later this month.
Cllr Matt Bryan, who represents Upton on Cheshire West and Chester Council, was sentenced to 100 hours’ unpaid work last November after being found guilty of assaulting a bouncer while on a night out at Kuckoo bar in Watergate Street, Chester.
But Cllr Bryan, who denied spitting at and kicking doorman David Keating on February 13 last year, is appealing against conviction and sentence at Chester Crown Court on March 31.
However, the councillor, best known for his campaigning work against fracking, may be buoyed up by confirmation from council monitoring officer Vanessa Whiting that he was not in breach of the members’ code of conduct, following a complaint by Tory opposition leader Lynn Riley.
Cllr Riley approached Labour council leader Samantha Dixon urging her to persuade him to resign as a councillor. She was particularly incensed after it emerged during court proceedings that Cllr Bryan was convicted of drink driving in 2012 yet allowed to sit as deputy chairman of the licensing committee, a position he held at the time of the assault although he stepped down following his arrest.
Ms Whiting, who did not address this specific point, said in a recent statement: “We are aware of an open letter from Cllr Riley to the leader of the council concerning Cllr Bryan, including the request that the leader refer the issue of Cllr Bryan’s recent conviction to the monitoring officer for investigation.
“We can confirm that neither this conviction or the conviction dating from 2012 would prevent Cllr Bryan from being an elected member. Under the Local Government Act 1972 only a custodial sentence of three months or more would result in a member’s disqualification.”
Cllr Bryan, whose postal address is Cambrian Avenue, Vicars Cross, told The Chronicle: “I am happy to have been cleared by the council and look forward to being cleared on appeal.”