Portsmouth City Council to appeal bid to release QC’s report into Mike Hancock’s conduct

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PORTSMOUTH City Council will appear before the High Court to contest a report into Mike Hancock’s conduct being used in a civil case against him.

As reported, the Fratton councillor is being sued by a woman who claims he sexually assaulted her.

The matter has been investigated by the council, which commissioned QC Nigel Pascoe to carry out a report into whether Cllr Hancock broke the council’s code of conduct.

The alleged victim has now asked for the report to be used as evidence in her case – but the council is arguing that releasing it is not necessary since evidence can just be heard from both sides.

It also says the report is part of the council’s investigation, which has been adjourned, so it would be wrong for it to be released before councillors reach their final decision.

And it’s been said that it’s not the council’s practice to disclose material as part of a court case in which it is not involved.

As previously reported, Portsmouth’s Labour and Conservative parties are asking the council at the next meeting of the full council on January 21 if Mr Pascoe’s report can be made public.

But Michael Lawther, city solicitor, has since said this is inappropriate since information about the complainant is very personal.

He also said the complaints procedure is still not finished, but the council – which is led by the Liberal Democrats – will review its procedures once the situation has been sorted out.

The court hearing will take place on January 24.