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Sexual assault Aberdeen councillor Alan Donnelly suspended for a year

image captionAlan Donnelly had denied sexual assault

An Aberdeen councillor who was convicted of sexual assault has been suspended for a year after the Standards Commission ruled he breached the code of conduct.

Former Conservative Alan Donnelly was found guilty last December and placed on the sex offenders register.

The 65-year-old former depute provost resigned from the Tories but resisted calls to stand down from the council.

A Standards Commission panel ruled his behaviour was "wholly inappropriate".

The suspension is backdated to March to cover an interim suspension that was imposed. Donnelly will continue to receive his full pay.

During a trial last year, he had denied kissing and touching a man who was working at an event in the city.

However, he was found guilty and ordered to pay compensation.

Solicitor-advocate Karen Cameron, for the councillor, requested that Friday's conduct hearing be adjourned in the interests of justice as she had only been newly instructed on Wednesday night, and her client was medically unable to take part in proceedings.

However, the Standards Commission panel rejected that on the grounds that public interest outweighed the risk of any unfairness.

Acting as councillor

Aberdeen City Council co-leader Douglas Lumsden told the hearing he had been invited to the 2018 event where the offence in question happened.

However, when he realised he was unable to attend, he asked Alan Donnelly to go instead in his place.

Panel chairwoman Ashleigh Dunn said members had ruled he had breached the code of conduct.

She said he had been convicted of sexual assault, and it could be reasonably perceived he was at the event acting as a councillor.

She said the panel did not consider censure was appropriate, but neither was disqualification - on the basis it appeared to be "a one-off" incident and Donnelly had never before been referred before - so the ruling was a maximum suspension of one year.

Aberdeen City Council said in a statement: "We note the decision of the Standards Commission. Councillor Donnelly will remain suspended for one year.

"While suspended, Councillor Donnelly will continue to receive his full pay. This is a legal requirement and not a decision of the council."

Donnelly was previously part of the ruling Conservative, Labour and independent administration.

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  • Aberdeen City Council
  • Aberdeen

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