Man who harassed Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock speaks after court hearing

0
Have your say

THE campaigner who accused Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock of being a pervert has spoken out after he was yesterday barred from contacting him again.

Salisbury Crown Court was told yesterday that Les Cummings, 70, confronted the MP on the steps of the city’s Guildhall and shouted at him he was a ‘pervert, cheat and a liar.’

141734_CUMMINGS_10/6/14''Les Cummings.'Picture: Allan Hutchings (141734-743c) PPP-140312-155742001

141734_CUMMINGS_10/6/14''Les Cummings.'Picture: Allan Hutchings (141734-743c) PPP-140312-155742001

Following the result of the case, Cummings has said ‘justice has been served all the way round.’

The court heard Cummings’ behaviour was motivated by his belief Mr Hancock had blocked Portsmouth City Council giving him a public apology for being abused in a council-run care home in the 1950s.

Cummings, of Sydenham Court, Fratton, denied stalking Mr Hancock and producing and distributing offensive leaflets.

Those charges were dropped after Cummings pleaded guilty under Section 2 of the Protection from Harassment Act.

141734_CUMMINGS_10/6/14''Les Cummings.'Picture: Allan Hutchings (141734-743c) PPP-140312-155742001

141734_CUMMINGS_10/6/14''Les Cummings.'Picture: Allan Hutchings (141734-743c) PPP-140312-155742001

Judge Keith Cutler CBE imposed a restraining order and a two-month suspended prison sentence, to be activated if he is brought back to court for similar behaviour within the next 12 months.

Speaking to The News after the case finished, Mr Cummings said: ‘Justice has been served all the way round.

‘I have got my apology, and Mr Hancock has got his justice.’

Mr Hancock (pictured second) said Cummings’ harrassment had a ‘devastating’ impact on his health after the pensioner called him a ‘pervert’ and referred to him as a ‘cancer growth that won’t go away’ in one of six offensive e-mails to the MP’s associates.

143403_HANCOCK_3/12/14''Mike Hancock at his hoem in Portchester.''A restraining order has been placed on a man who harassed Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (143403-419) PPP-140312-191706001

143403_HANCOCK_3/12/14''Mike Hancock at his hoem in Portchester.''A restraining order has been placed on a man who harassed Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (143403-419) PPP-140312-191706001

‘It has been devastating,’ Mr Hancock said.

‘I have had to explain to people that this chap has been running a vendetta against me.

‘It really did run me into the ground.’

He said Cummings’ abuse between February and September last year was a ‘major factor’ behind him having a mental breakdown.

‘I ended up spending nearly five months in hospital,’ Mr Hancock added.

‘And I am not afraid to say now that I was suffering from a mental illness, and a breakdown, but I got over it and I am working through it.

‘What has happened now is a step towards my recovery.’

Salisbury Crown Court heard Cummings’ behaviour was motivated by his belief Mr Hancock had blocked Portsmouth City Council giving him a public apology for being abused in a council-run care home in the 1950s.

Cummings, of Sydenham Court, Fratton, denied stalking Mr Hancock and producing and distributing offensive leaflets.

Those charges were dropped after Cummings pleaded guilty under Section 2 of the Protection from Harassment Act.

Judge Cutler said: ‘Politicians deserve and will get the protection of the courts from criminal acts.’

Court decision follows man’s campaign for justice

CAMPAIGNER Les Cummings spent eight years seeking an apology for abuse he suffered as a boy.

The 70-year-old said he was abused from the age of three to 18 while in foster care and at the former Children’s Cottage Home in Cosham. He was given a settlement by the former Lib Dem council of £3,000 in return that he would not pursue legal action. But Cummings was denied an apology until the Tories took over in June. Cummings was fined £500 by Southampton Magistrates’ Court in 2011 after he produced leaflets falsely claiming MP Mike Hancock was a paedophile.

MP has recent history of scandal and battles

MP Mike Hancock has been no stranger to legal battles in recent times.

Yesterday saw Mr Hancock finish his lengthy court dispute with Les Cummings.

But the independent Portsmouth South MP has already had to apologise in a statement issued through the High Court this year for his inappropriate behaviour towards a vulnerable woman who came to him for help.

It followed an investigation held by Portsmouth City Council into his conduct during his time as a councillor.

The purpose of the inquiry was to determine if the allegations regarding Mr Hancock’s behaviour, which were reported to the police in 2010 but never amounted to any criminal case, was a breach of the authority’s code of conduct.

The outcome was delayed due to High Court proceedings, and was dropped after Mr Hancock lost his seat on the council in

May.

Mr Hancock’s apology came despite saying to The News previously he was ‘100 per cent innocent’ and would defend himself in court.

He also apologised for any distress and anger he caused, as well as any worsening of a psychiatric condition the woman had.

The apology formed part of a settlement agreement and a small undisclosed fee was paid by Mr Hancock to his victim.

Prior to the case being settled, Mr Hancock had resigned his Lib Dem parliamentary whip, which resulted in him becoming an independent

MP.

He was suspended from the Lib Dems in January after details of a report by QC Nigel Pascoe, used by the council in its investigation, came to light.

He then went on to quit the party.

Mr Hancock was also voted out of the former Lib Dem council cabinet earlier this year, backed by its leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, because of the information about the MP’s conduct in the QC’s dossier.

The council has now sent Mr Hancock a letter demanding he pay back the £38,236 it spent investigating his conduct after the move was backed by the authority’s complaints panel.

The full council agreed it was happy that was the total sum to be paid.

Mr Hancock is however refusing to pay a penny back.