Wednesday, 10 February 2010

REPORT FROM SITTINGBOURNE MAGISTRATES

 

 It would seem that our 'Strife' reporter is sitting in Sittingbourne this morning with Tom Betts from Your Thanet and Richard Spillet from IOTG.

Readers may have forgotten that our Margate Mayor and former Mayoress are facing alleged animal cruelty charges brought by the RSPCA and that the hearing was moved at the accused's request, from Margate Magistrates on the grounds that Cllr Watt-Ruffell was too well known to our local magistrates.

Other than a report that shared difficulty seems to have brought the couple closer together; they sat hand in hand as proceedings opened, there has been further delay in hearing the case. It would seem that the normal criminal checks on the background of two RSPCA witnesses had not taken place and this was objected to by the defending solicitor. There was a degree of annoyance from the Magistrate, as one could imagine, as this could and should have been sorted out sooner and perhaps brought to the attention of the RSPCA. It would seem that the hearing was adjourned for an hour so that necessary witness checks (criminal records etc) could be carried out and fax machines are busy as I write. The Magistrate was not happy to adjourn proceedings to a later date. 

UPDATE AT 12.32pm

Our Strife reporter has rung in to report that Cllr Watt-Ruffell has pleaded guilty to the charge brought against him. His wife pleaded not guilty but the RSPCA have withdrawn the charge and her case has been dismissed. The RSPCA has asked for costs of £5,600.
Cllr Watt-Ruffell's solicitor in his plea of mitigation on Cllr Watt-Ruffell's behalf, stated that Cllr Watt-Ruffell had been the subject of character assasination by 'blogs' and the local press which has made life very stressful and has made an impact on his marriage and they are presently having a trial separation. (There was no mention of Mrs Watt-Ruffell's indiscrete announcements on her since closed Facebook site.)

The Magistrates are presently adjourned to consider sentence and with Probationary Service reporting to them.

Final Update
A medium Term Community Order of 80 hrs and disqualification from owning or having anything to do with animals for 18 months was the penalty imposed by Magistrates. £2,000 of the RSPCA's costs were awarded against Cllr Watt-Ruffell to be paid at £40 per month. Evidence included by the RSPCA was that they counted 150 fleas on the 5 week old kitten that died in the arms of the RSPCA officer when called in.
Further details can be seen at Your Thanet :
http://www.yourthanet.co.uk/kent-news/Margate-mayor-guilty-of-animal-cruelty-newsinkent32683.aspx

Comment
 Well done to the RSPCA who persisted with this prosecution when it could have been justified on cost to have abandoned it.

Perhaps it would have been better had Cllr Watt-Ruffell resigned from his Mayoralty when he was first charged. I hope he will now do so. Is he the first Mayor of Margate to be in this position?  I wonder what his position as a Cllr now is?  I presume he will have to resign and that we can look forward to another interesting election campaign in Dane Valley Ward soon.?


38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good. At last one of this shower gets their come uppance.

Anonymous said...

The sentence imposed does not require resignation from public office. It has to be three months custodial (or suspended) or more to require resignation. See Chris Wright (Lab) in 1997/8

Anonymous said...

Just sums up the calibre of tory councillors chosen at the last election! another labour win in store for Dane Valley? That will certainly get Ezekiel on his way if he doensnt go before then! That will keep the election team busy although my guess is they will try and spin out his resignation for as long as possible so that it doesnt come at the same time as election time!

Anonymous said...

Resign, Bertie he and his cronies dont set a precedent for doing the "honourable thing"

Anonymous said...

How dare he use the blogs and papers as a mitigation plea - they didn't do the crime they just told us about it! Let's hope this will mean one less of the Ezekiel party in charge..... Bring on the Duck, Bruce and Moores!

Anonymous said...

Does this mean the bloggers did for the Ruby the cat? I thought I would ask as how can the blogs influence an act of cruelty (now not alleged).

England's finest Politicians, certainly not here in Thanet.

I wonder what the beak will hand down? I wonder if some other oik was dragged into court on the same charge would get the same treatment. I await the final outcome with great professional interest?

Anonymous said...

Your Thanet strife reporter Cllr poole sitting in on the Court case like a vulture waiting to pick the carcase, we now know that the Strife is the "Daily Bugle" for the labour group fed at regular intervals with more halftruths. bertie following your recent appearance on TV you are fast becoming a celebrity. As you obviously feel so passionate about local politics, why not stand when an opportunity presents itself and then you can practice what you preach, in the meantime try and be fair on those you currently seem to want to ridicule, after all their hard work may not be upto your very high standards, but at least they are trying to do their best and if you can do better have a go.

Annie said...

So what about it BB, you didn't print/answer my earlier question, does the expenses for being a Thanet Strife Reporter come out of Cllr Pooles TDC allowances?

Yours Annie

Dave Milne said...

Are the BNP on the rise there too? It's just that I've noticed that the RSPCA seem to prosecute some politicians and support others in areas where the BNP might win. Given that there are no controls over whether RSPCA private prosecutions are in the public interest, it's a great way of attacking politicians - like Paul Shotton, for example.

Anonymous said...

Had he not accepted the community order he would have been facing three months inside. He will lose his security guard licence so his life is turned upside down for his arrogance and refusal to accept advice regarding the animal's poor state of health.

Anonymous said...

14.09 sounds remarkably like an Ezekiel party member - who but a politician that has been in trouble would know that? This man has a criminal record - morality is enough reason to resign. Why don't the rest of them just throw him out (Ezekiel as well would be a good idea).

Anonymous said...

I'm with 16.06........bring on the Duck and the Docs!!!!

Jessica Billington, Strife reporter said...

As Bertie knows it wasn't Cllr. Poole who blogged any of this but a non-elected member of the public out to see what the outcome would be.

Cllr. Poole's attendance was a mere coincidence.

Bertie Biggles said...

12.57 and one commentator whose cooment, I pressed the wrong button on, please accept my apologies for not posting your comments.
Richard, no sorry but your 13.05 cooment was not really on!

14.11, I did not post your comment either.

My understanding is that Cllr Poole was at Sittingbourne today. He is not a member of 'Strife's' team and was not our reporter there. I assume that Cllr Poole as a Thanet citizen and fellow Councillor was there in a private capacity. Look over your shoulder for the 'Strife' reporter!

17.56 and 'Annie'of 18.08, I find it extraordinary that you regard reporting by this blog, of a story that will be featured highly in all our local papers and on radio and TV perhaps, as a 'political' issue and make un-pleasant comments about Cllr Poole.

I have decided to let your comments stand to illustrate to readers the depths that 'The Ezekiel'Party has sunk to. The issue is that a Conservative Mayor and Cllr from Thanet has pleaded to and been found guilty of a serious case of animal neglect.

Who was in court as a member of the public and who was in court 'reporting'for Strife, Your Thanet or IOTG is not news or an issue.

Anonymous said...

Of the two councillors at Sittingbourne Magistrates' Court today which one was the defendant in the dock, Cllr. Watt-Ruffell or Cllr. Poole?

Anonymous said...

Labour Deputy Mayor, unpaid fines, resigns and changes party.

Tory Mayor, criminal conviction..? Probably promotion within the Eze-kill party!

Look out Lib Dems, he'll be after you next!

Alan Poole said...

In reply to Anonymous 17:56 & 18:18

I was present at Sittingbourne Magistrates Court as an interested member of the Public and at my own expense. I am not a ‘Strife Reporter’. I note that none of Cllr Watt-Ruffell’s colleagues were present, all no doubt taking care to put plenty of clear blue water between him and themselves!

As an animal lover I was horrified by the appalling death suffered by the five week old kitten -180 fleas were found on its body, it had literally been sucked dry.

Cllr Watt-Ruffell, in the face of overwhelming evidence, pleaded guilty to the charges.

I believe Cllr Watt-Ruffell, currently the Mayor of Margate and a Thanet District Councillor, should do the decent thing and resign immediately for bringing the Office of Mayor and TDC in to disrepute.

Alan Poole

Anonymous said...

Bertie,
The integrity of the Ezekiel party has sunk so low that all they can do is throw the flack at the labour party councillor, a very hard working one at that!17.56 and others. As for doing their best, all they mean is helping their cronies who account for 0.01% of the population ! They are so blinkered they can't see who is wrong, so filled with evil, all they can do is fight from the **** they are sunk into. Please please offer us a change, if you stand others will follow your moral high ground, there are enough Tories who are turning away in droves appalled at what Thanet calls the local Conservative party.The blame goes deeper it doesnt reflect very well on the national Conservative party either - the sitting MP or the prospective candidate both watching and using for their own promotion this local character and others of similar doubtful history and let them be within the heart of the party, canvassing at local and national elections! Surely a reject from the opposition with a criminal record should always remain as such!

Anonymous said...

20.49 well said Alan, your party saw him for what he was just a shame he has had to drag the name of the Thanet Conservatives through the mud. The damage would be limited quickly if he were to resign with immediate effect and a by election held, it will do even more damage to have another resignation fiasco like the Broadhurst one! Don't rate the chances of a Con hold in Dane Valley very high? Any Conservatives with a non-dubious history in the running?

Anonymous said...

Hang on. Wasn't the kitten a stray that had been taken in only days before out of kindness by Cllr. Ruffell? And didn't the tories stay quiet when a former labour councillor for dane park got sent to prison? And sent flowers to another when she was convicted of benefit fraud? So when labour councillors hang around a court like vultures and spit vitriol on your blog bertie, don't you feel just the tiniest bit guilty and ashamed that you are helping facilite this evil by people who seem to treat the misfortune of others a reason to act like morons themselves?

Bertie Biggles said...

21.36, I would have had far more sympathy at the personal level, if Cllr Watt-Ruffell had taken the actions expected from Conservatives by members of his party nationally in this situation. This was exemplified very recently by the Leader of Essex County Council who has resigned until he clears his name or otherwise, in respect of Westminster expenses claims as a member of The House of Lords.

How much more sensible it would have been to stand-down as Mayor and resign as a Councillor until the matter was resolved. Instead, he chose to continue as if nothing was amiss and presumably with the support of his Leader, yet again.

Whilst I respect your loyalty to a colleague on hard times, it is misplaced. You do the Thanet Conservative Party image no good by asserting that a principled Labour Cllr like Cllr Poole is hanging around Sittingbourne like a vulture and 'spitting vitriol'on this site. In the circumstances, his reply above, to attacks on him has been restrained and balanced.

It is long overdue for Conservative members at TDC to assert themselves and remove a Leadership team that in the past 2 years has brought the Thanet Conservative Party into disrepute locally and nationally.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

You have a very unbalanced view bertie. I don't think for a moment that you have ever taken a moment to meet or call any of those who you despise so much to really try to understand and rationalise their actions. Making judgements about people on heresay and reports in the press is aweakness that you are guilty of.

Bertie Biggles said...

22.10, my identity is well known, but if you wish me to accept your postings, then please humour me by using my accepted 'nom de guerre' on this site when posting.

I will post your comment with a small edit. I will leave others to comment on the fact that you think there is some doubt about an admission of guilty to a charge of animal cruelty! You clearly do not grasp the issue here. A Mayor of Margate represents us all as our chief civic dignitary for the year of office and it gives me no pleasure to find the present incumbent bringing that office into disrepute. Here is your posting for what it is worth:

Anonymous said...

21:36 sounds like a voice of reason in a sea of swill. Common decency would normally suggest that an element of pity or even sympathy should be extended to someone like TWR who has brought shame to himself and his family. I find the attitude of you and your correspondents to be extremely distasteful *****. It makes look as bad as the people you pillory and yet the councillor seems guilty of only one transgression, although it seems there may even be doubt about that. You on the other hand are guilty of repeated attempts at destroying the character of someone who must be at least part good. For I have sufficient faith in the voters of Dane Park to believe that they would not have elected an evil man to represent them. The shame truly is on you and your supporters and helpers.

10 February 2010 22:10

Bertie Biggles said...

22.51, it's late and I find your repeated whines, without counter argument or discussion, rather tedious. When will you grasp that it is not the individual that I despise, but lack of honesty, openess, integrity, corruption and downright lying? I have had enough of it from a Labour Government since 1997 and do not need it from my local council. Good night.

Anonymous said...

Good night bertie. But you are beginning to sound arrogant. You cannot always be right but you clearly think you are. Failing number 2. Failing number 3 is that you take one point of weakness and then extrapolate it to define even greater heights of weakness. You are an interesting case.

Anonymous said...

Anon.21.36 you seem to know a great deal about the case so here's some more you may be familiar with.

Cllr. W-R had the mother cat so if she had been a stray then she gave birth presumably in his property.

He had five days to seek help from a vet. after the RSPCA had been initially called but didn't and that is why the animal charity came back to remove a dying animal. This kitten was covered with fleas, all over its face and tiny body so no-one could deny there was a problem.

The young RSPCA animal collection officer had to nurse this poor animal until it died in her arms.

If you want to tell the story from your Tory point of view fine, but let's be accurate.

Anonymous said...

Bertie, most of us can guess who the sad character of 22.51 is - he will do his best to desperately deflect any criticism of his precious stalwarts because without their support he will loose any prospects. He is blind if he can't see the problem is at the heart of the Thanet conservatives themselves. A small minority you call the Ezekiel party, Winter gardens fiasco, Edinburgh wool mill, Broadhurst, Watt Ruffel, are they too stupid to see that it affects their local standing - is the loss of the Dane Valley seat some blip - i don't think so it is the start of a trend - the people of Thanet deserve better ! Those in Glass houses shouldnt throw stones, the opposition, recently has conducted themselves with dignity - a member of their party had every right if he chose to attend court.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but the the 'we will stand by our man attitude' grips my throat and physically assaults my senses...but then again I wonder what and who else did the same?

Anonymous said...

"They give me cat scratch fever
Cat scratch fever
I got it bad scratch fever
Cat scratch fever"

Ted ( Not Edwin )Nugent

Anonymous said...

"New Year Pantomime for Theatre Royal, Margate"

Instead of Dick Whittington where Dick's cat helps him become mayor;

we now have,

Dick Watt-ington, who'se cat loses him the Mayorship!

"Turn again, Watt-ington" will say the Bow Bells, and he'll turn into a LibDem!

Peter Checksfield said...

Good to see that Mick Tee is replacing him (at least for the immediate future according to YourThanet).

Richard Card said...

Bertie If you had published my 13.05 comment I would have been amazed.

But ECR might appreciate it ?

Anonymous said...

Let us not forget Mick Tee and the Bradgate-gate story!!

rebecca crine said...

would like to state that u people are truly sick. unless you know the man himself i dont see how you can critise him. the man does not have a criminal record at all in the slightest so where you got that information from please let me know.as for you alan poole i think you over exagerated the amount of fleas on the kitten as it was definatly not 180. to put facts straight ted watt-ruffell does not deserve the amount of abuse hes gettin as the animals never belonged to him in the first place. he deserves respect for protecting his wife and children from the press and shallow people like you lot. if you are gonna write on here i suggest you all get your facts straight. this is a politic thing and i suggest you all get your morals right before writing anymore rubbish

Bertie Biggles said...

I admire loyalty but your comment flies in the face of the facts. I did not make an issue of a certain Facebook site that has since been removed but having seen it, I certainly have sympathy for Ted in regard to his personal life. This is not a political issue but one of integrity. In public life there has to be a price to be paid for mistakes, and my respect for him would be enormous if and when he realises that. It is time to go and go quietly. This is a requirement for Margate, Dane Valley and himself. Only then can the matter be consigned to the past and new beginnings start.

Anonymous said...

Rebecca Crine, the number of fleas on this poor kitten was stated in court as over 180 so get your facts right. The RSPCA inspectors who had to deal with the death of this poor animal had to measure the pathetic amount of blood left in its body, count the fleas on its dehydrated flesh and chose to refrain from showing the court the photographs taken after its miserable death as being too distressing to view. Are you suggesting the eminent barrister was lieing?

Sorry, I don't know who you are but as you weren't in court on Wednesday you need to get YOUR facts right.

Whoever was responsible for looking after this kitten, its mother and the other offspring from the same litter that had, it is alleged, died, is guilty of animal cruelty and that was what Mr.Watt-Ruffell admitted to in court in a public hearing.

Anonymous said...

Bertie, your poster, calling ehrself Rebecca Crine is factually incorrect as Mr. Watt-Ruffell now has a criminal record of a very serious nature.