Aberdeen councillor suspended over sex attack conviction

Alan Donnelly was placed on the sex offenders register and fined £800 after being found guilty of sexual assault.

Aberdeen councillor suspended over sex attack conviction STV News

An Aberdeen councillor who was convicted of sexually assaulting a man has been suspended.

Alan Donnelly was placed on the sex offenders register and fined £800 over the incident in November 2018.

At his trial, the 65-year-old former Scottish Conservative councillor and depute provost denied touching and kissing a man who was working at an event he attended.

But despite being found guilty in December, Donnelly resisted calls to resign.

Donnelly had been under an interim suspension while the matter was investigated by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life.

At a public hearing on Friday, the Standards Commission imposed the maximum suspension of one year on the councillor.

Due to the interim suspension being in place for eight months already, Donnelly’s new ban will last until March 3, 2021.

Donnelly did not attend the hearing for medical reasons and his legal representative tried to have the hearing adjourned after only being newly instructed to take on the case on Wednesday evening.

However, while the panel continued with the case, Donnelly’s solicitor, Karen Cameron, did not take any further part in proceedings.

Donnelly said: “I am disappointed my solicitor was not able to put forward my position today.

“I will be reflecting upon the decision with my solicitor and will make no further comment until after that meeting.”

The panel agreed said it was satisfied an informed member of the public could have perceived that Donnelly was acting as a councillor at the event – so therefore their code of conduct could be applied.

Ashleigh Dunn, chair of the hearing panel, said: “The requirement for councillors to behave appropriately, and with respect for others, is a fundamental requirement of the code.

“A failure to do so can harm others and has the potential to erode not only the reputation of the councillor in question, but also that of their council and the role of an elected member.

“The panel emphasised that, when acting in a public capacity, councillors are expected to behave in a respectful, courteous and professional manner.

“The panel was of the view that individuals should be able to work in an environment where they are not subjected to harassment in any form.”

Aberdeen Council said Donnelly would remain on full pay during his suspension.

The council said: “We note the decision of the Standards Commission. Councillor Donnelly will remain suspended for one year.

“While suspended, Councillor Donnelly will continue to receive his full pay. This is a legal requirement and not a decision of the council.”

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