1st September 2016
The former chair of Wirral Council’s influential Audit and Risk Management Committee appeared in Wirral Magistrates Court today to answer a charge of…
“sending a grossly offensive or indecent message on a public communications network”.
Crabtree is no stranger to controversy, having once been in trouble for encouraging special educational needs schoolchildren to deliver his Labour Party leaflets when he was a councillor:
When we emailed him and his 65 colleagues for their thoughts on a proposition we’d been formulating, he described the prospect of Wirral councillors notifying with the Information Commissioner (in order to protect the public’s privacy rights) as follows:
However Council Leader and inveterate, unashamed liar (see here, here, here, here, here, and here) Phil Davies, noticing the potential for heavy fines, was on hand to quickly bail out all 66 councillors, none of whom had bothered to notify as data controllers, including Crabtree. The leader fired off a cheque for 66 x £35 (£2,310) and has been doing this every year since.
So, perhaps we’re not dealing with the sharpest tool in the box. But for some reason, he’s been living a very charmed life when you consider he never faced any noticeable action for exploiting the Meadowside children and was later promoted to a high profile post – Chair of the Audit and Risk Management Committee.
At one point on 8th October 2014, he chaired one of the most important meetings this committee had seen. Whistleblowers Nigel Hobro and James Griffiths brought before it serious, detailed and well-researched allegations of fraud on the part of council partner organisations, involving sums upwards of £2 million, only for Crabtree in concert with the then CEO Graham Burgess to scandalously fob them off.
Crabtree is no longer a councillor.
From the sketchy detail provided in the Wirral Globe article above, we’ve assumed that the charge Crabtree denied today is likely to be related to the following: