Call for CPS to step in over Hancock case

Cllr Mike Hancock outside Portsmouth Guildhall
Cllr Mike Hancock outside Portsmouth Guildhall
Councillor Roy Perry, leader of Hampshire County Council

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OPPOSITION parties in Portsmouth have called for a dossier on city councillor Mike Hancock’s conduct to be passed to the CPS.

It comes after a council sub-committee decided Cllr Hancock – who is also MP for Portsmouth South – should face a hearing over his conduct following an investigation by barrister Nigel Pascoe QC.

The top-secret report has only been seen by the three councillors on the sub-committee, Liberal Democrats Terry Hall and Les Stevens, and Tory leader Donna Jones.

In a letter to council chief executive David Williams, Labour leader John Ferrett and deputy Tory leader Luke Stubbs demand that the file is passed to the Crown Prosecution Service – even though it decided not to prosecute two years ago.

Cllr Hancock faces a civil action over claims he sexually assaulted a vulnerable constituent who asked for help. He denies this.

Both the signatories to the letter admit they have not seen the report and do not know Mr Pascoe’s conclusions.

But they say there may be a criminal case to answer.

Cllr Stubbs said: ‘We know the list of ways in which Mike Hancock is accused of breaking the Code of Conduct.

‘By the very fact that the committee has accepted this report, and has not just cleared the whole thing and aborted the investigation, they must think there is something in it.’

Cllr Hancock said: ‘The police have investigated it and passed the file to the CPS. They (opposition) are continuing to ramp things up all the time.

‘If they’re not calling for my resignation, they’re doing something else.

‘I have not seen the report so I don’t know what’s in it. The CPS have had everything about this. Are they saying that Mr Pascoe is better than the police? I’m surprised.

‘When the CPS investigated they had both sides of the story. I did not speak to Mr Pascoe. He only has one side of the story.’

But Cllr Ferrett says he believes there is a case to answer.

The letter also accuses council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson of a ‘cursory dismissal’ of the complaint since it first came to light in 2010.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said, legally, he was not allowed to play in part in the decision-making process of the regulatory panel.

He added: ‘The decisions that they reach are reached by them alone and so I can’t dismiss or not dismiss anything because, by law, I am not allowed to play a role in it.’