The harassment of local blogger Malcolm Knight, author of the "Bexley is Bonkers" blog by Kent Police continues unabated.
Bexley Councillor Maxine Fothergill (Bexleyheath & Crayford) objected to Malcolm publishing an account of a series of "unfortunate" events involving her and decided to report the matter to Kent Police, claiming that she was being harassed.
These events included being found guilty of breaching the council's code of conduct; falsely accusing two business colleagues of fraud; extending her home without planning permission (twice); accusing another colleague of fraud (this one resulted in the libel case and her having to admit she had lied. (again). This list is not exclusive.
None of the information contained in the "so called" harassing posts contained anything that was not freely available to the general public: this included information published by Bexley Council; reports taken from local newspapers; statements from her lawyer; letters published by Maxine Fothergill herself; or even the the High Court who published the details of the libel case. As far as I am aware, Sgt Cook has no plans to prosecute anyone other than Malcolm Knight.
This case is now very much in the public domain with Malcolm Knight receiving a great deal of support through social media and his blog is now being read by more people than ever.
Anyway, if reporting verifiable information from other sources is now a crime, here is my two pennies worth. My blog is nowhere like as well read as his but for what it's worth, here is a section of his most recent post about the Maxine Fothergill case.
"Part of Councillor Fothergill’s harassment complaint is that she has been featured here far too often, although not nearly as often as other Councillors who have become involved with the police.
There are several reasons for this…
• Found guilty by Bexley Council’s Code of Conduct Committee for using her position to obtain financial advantages. She allegedly negotiated the purchase of a house for a friend from an elderly elector she met while canvassing. The vulnerable lady was chauffeured around the borough in the Mayor’s car.
• Two business associates arrested by Kent police on fraud charges were told by them that their accuser was Maxine Fothergill. The police found no evidence of fraud.
• Reported a Conservative election candidate to the police alleging theft.
• Extended her home a second time without further planning permission and was ordered to remove the additional extension.
• Twice applied for planning permissions in Bexley and signed a declaration to the planning office that she was not a Bexley Councillor thereby evading scrutiny by the Planning Committee as required by Bexley Council’s rules.
• Accused an employee of fraud. The employee was under arrest by Kent Police for eleven months before being released without charge, no evidence of fraud having been found.
• Accused a business associate of an intention to poach her business.
The reports relating to the Code of Conduct Committee were discussed at a face to face meeting with Councillor Fothergill in 2016 and an agreement before witnesses was reached on how they should be presented. Despite that they now form part of her harassment accusation.
The employee accused of fraud (Hayley Warnes) and the business associate (Ray Robson) took libel action against Councillor Fothergill because she had distributed her accusations widely.
Councillor Fothergill lost that libel action because, as the solicitor Mark Lewis has publicly confirmed, she lied.
The High Court action was first mentioned on Bexley is Bonkers on 13th November 2017. The mention consisted only of a screen shot of the Court listing."
(Bexley is Bonkers. 18 Jan 2018)