An Oldham councillor bailed on suspicion of rape appeared in the Civic Centre last night for the first time since his arrest on 8th September, 2022.
The male elected Member, whose identity, and the name of the political party to which he belongs, has still not been made public, was arrested at his home after allegedly raping a woman. He is still on bail, after an extension was granted to Greater Manchester Police following the expiry of the initial 28 day pre-charge limit set out in the Policing and Crime Act, 2017.
He has not been charged with any offence and a presumption of innocence must continue to apply.
The subject individual continues to serve as an elected councillor in the Borough, although it is understood that his Party have removed the whip, and it was in this capacity that he attended a safeguarding meeting at Oldham Civic Centre yesterday.
A number of his fellow councillors who attended that same meeting, listed on the publicly available OMBC Calendar as ‘Personal Safety for Councillors – Member Training’, and a similar number who didn’t, contacted the author of this article, Neil Wilby, to express their disquiet both at the fact of his attendance and, more particularly, his behaviour within it.
The training session was very sparsely attended with only eleven out of sixty councillors turning up. Apologies from six councillors were noted, including Council Leader, Cllr Amanda Chadderton.
A number of other pre-arranged civic commitments kept significant numbers of councillors away.
The number of councillors present was almost equalled by the number of OMBC staff in attendance, most of them very senior, and included the meeting’s organiser and presenter, Chief Executive, Harry Catherall, and his Deputy, Sayyed Osman.
C/Supt Chris Bowen, Oldham Police’s District Commander, was also present. At the last Council meeting he attended, in June this year, he famously (or infamously) said (quite correctly): ‘This is a shitshow’; his views on last night’s debacle are unclear at present.
The next Full Council meeting takes place in Oldham on 2nd November, 2022. There are persistent calls for the subject councillor to identify himself, in a public statement, before that assembly takes place so as to, not unreasonably, remove suspicion from all other male councillors in Oldham.
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Page last updated Tuesday 25th October, 2022 at 0720hrs
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