Hancock puts out statement as QC’s report is leaked

Cllr Mike Hancock
Cllr Mike Hancock

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PORTSMOUTH councillor Mike Hancock’s spokesman has defended him after the contents of a report into his conduct was revealed.

As previously reported, Cllr Hancock, who represents Fratton, is being sued in the High Court over claims he sexually assaulted a woman who came to him for help.

A report in The Guardian says QC Nigel Pascoe, who put together a report into his conduct, had ‘no doubt’ that the alleged victim provided him with ‘compelling prima facie evidence’ about the way Mr Hancock behaved.

It says that Mr Pascoe was of the ‘clear view’ that her account is credible and merits both ‘compassion’ and ‘respect’. And it says that Mr Pascoe concluded ‘at no point did I form the view that she lied to me’.

Mr Pascoe’s report was reviewed by Portsmouth City Council while it carried out an investigation to see if the Liberal Democrat councillor was guilty of breaching its code of conduct.

As reported, a panel from the council’s governance and audit and standards committee has now decided it will wait until the outcome of legal proceedings before reaching an outcome.

It comes after Mr Pascoe said in a letter made public by the council that it was ‘a strengthening of his previous view that there should be no further delay to the council’s probe’ and that she was a credible witness.

The report was also analysed by Hampshire Constabulary and the Crown Prosecution Service before both parties decided not to take any more action.

A spokesman for Cllr Hancock, who is also the MP for Portsmouth South, said: ‘These matters have twice been looked at by the police, first in 2010, and in conjunction with the CPS, they have found that there is no case for Mr Hancock to answer and have taken no further action.

‘Mr Hancock looks forward to the civil case coming to court so that he can bring forward evidence to strongly and utterly refute the allegations made.’

It added: ‘The most suitable place to settle a civil case is in court and not in the newspapers.’

The spokesman said Cllr Hancock had asked to meet Mr Pascoe, but city solicitor Michael Lawther has claimed at a public meeting that Cllr Hancock declined to co-operate with him.