Powys councillor suspended for slapping woman's bottom

Image caption,
Independent councillor Edwin Roderick on his farm in Brecon

A Powys councillor has been suspended for four months after admitting slapping another councillor on the bottom.

Edwin Roderick went on to try to threaten colleague Emily Durrant not to pursue a complaint against him.

He had previously admitted breaching the council's code of conduct at an Adjudication Panel for Wales hearing.

Mr Roderick has since offered his sincere "heartfelt apologies" and said "nothing like it will happen again".

The panel heard he was "panicking" when he approached Melanie Doel, who chairs Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, asking her to arrange a meeting with the complainant because he had information about her.

In his summing up the chair of the panel, John Livesey, said the victim had felt degraded and humiliated.

He said Mr Roderick behaved in a way that had "long been deemed unacceptable in public life".

Mr Livesey said the "threats, some would say, were akin to blackmail" adding that he was "naive to think no action would be taken" because the conduct was serious.

Image source, Powys County Council
Image caption,
Green Party councillor Emily Durrant represents the Llangors ward

Mr Roderick has been suspended as a councillor, including from his role on the board of the national park authority.

He has also been asked to undertake further training in relation to his breach of the code of conduct.

David Daycock, representing Edwin Roderick, said he was a "rough hewn farmer who was not used to the heightened formality and niceties of committee meetings".

And character witness Councillor Timothy Van-Rees said any breach of the code of conduct was "completely out of character", but it "must be said that councillor Roderick is not a sophisticate".

Speaking after the hearing Mr Roderick said: "I fully respect the decision of the tribunal and felt I had a fair hearing.

"I apologise yet again to all affected by the case, particularly the complainant.

"I deeply regret the incident and will ensure nothing like it will happen again."

Ms Durrant said she was glad the process had ended and accepted Mr Roderick's apology.

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