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Barnet mayor Coleman held to account over blog insult

PUBLISHED: 18:32 10 September 2009 | UPDATED: 16:27 07 September 2010

THE outspoken Mayor of Barnet Brian Coleman was today found guilty of breaching the councillor s code of conduct for labelling one blogger an obsessive, poisonous individual. A standards subcommittee met at Hendon Town Hall and unanimously ruled that Cl

THE outspoken Mayor of Barnet Brian Coleman was today found guilty of breaching the councillor's code of conduct for labelling one blogger "an obsessive, poisonous individual."

A standards subcommittee met at Hendon Town Hall and unanimously ruled that

Cllr Coleman, who is also the London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden, had not treated Roger Tichborne with respect in an e-mail he sent to him.

The issues focused on an e-mail sent by Coleman in reply to Mr Tichborne, author of the blog www.barneteye,blogspot.com, saying his blog was "full of lies, half truths and misinformation."

Mr Tichborne had previously e-mailed Cllr Coleman and all the other Conservative Barnet councillors criticising leader of the council Mike Freer's comments he made in a podcast about bloggers.

Coleman asserted he sent the e-mail after being provoked during a sustained political and public campaign against him by the blogger, who is a member of the Labour Party.

On the blog he has described Coleman as "Barnet's favourite numpty", "arrogant, lazy and useless" and "addicted to cash and hospitality".

The Tory politician's defence relied on freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights and that freedom of speech is the "trump card that always wins."

Coleman will not face any sanctions as the sub-committee felt just finding Coleman in breach was sufficient. They will be issuing a formal notice within a fortnight setting out the reasons for their decision.

For the full story check next week's Ham&High.

Susanna Wilkey

Susanna.wilkey@hamhigh.co.uk

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