Councillor Flower found guilty of voting at a meeting with a disclosable interest in a company

30/03/2015

Dorset County Council Leader, Spencer Flower, 72, was today found guilty at Bournemouth Magistrates' Court of participating in a vote at a meeting of Dorset County Council on 25 February 2013 when he had an interest in a matter considered at that meeting, being a Non-Executive Director of Synergy Housing Limited, under section 31 and 34 of the Localism Act 2011.

He was sentenced to a six month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay prosecution costs.

Following the conviction, Simon Jones, Senior Crown Advocate for the Crown Prosecution Service Wessex  said: "Councillor Flower knew that he had a pecuniary interest in Synergy Housing Limited (SHL) as he held the position of Non-Executive Director for the company between 2004 until 24th September 2013, for which he received remuneration. On July, 7, 2012, the councillor duly completed two "Registration of Pecuniary Interests" forms. On these completed forms he declared that he held interests with DCC, Dorset Fire Authority and with SHL.

As leader of Dorset county Council, Cllr Flower attended a meeting about the East Dorset County Council Strategy. The purpose of this meeting was to vote on whether to recommend the adoption of a Core Strategy on, amongst other matters, affordable housing in the Cuthbury site in Wimborne, in which SHL had an interest.

It was the prosecution case that Cllr Flower should have taken no part in the meeting.  It was incumbent on him as he clearly knew he had an interest in SHL as a Non-Executive Director.

It was the prosecution case that it was clear that SHL would benefit from the approval of the Strategy and there was no doubt that Cllr Flower was aware of this.

After hearing the prosecution and the defence case, the District Judge today was satisfied that Cllr Flower, having that interest in SHL, and without reasonable excuse, participated in the vote taken at the meeting and was therefore found guilty."