Thanet councillor Suzanne Brimm has today (September 17) been found not guilty on two charges brought by the Information Commissioner.
She had been accused of the criminal offences under the Freedom of Information Act of blocking, concealing destroying, and erasing records.
There was a separate offence under the Data Protection Act of not registering as a data controller to which she had pleaded guilty. However, the Magistrates issued an absolute discharge on this count.
Today’s hearing, and two previous days earlier this month, at Canterbury Magistrates’ Court followed on from a previous all day hearing at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court held before the same panel of three justices.
Cllr Brimm was issued a court summons by the Information Commissioner’s Office in March.
The independent councillor faced three charges related to Freedom of Information requests for details about last year’s dog dna scheme.
Cllr Brimm was defended against the charges by London-based lawyer Simon Natas, who has previously defended a number of Palestine solidarity activists and headed up the first successful joint enterprise appeal.
Cllr Brimm said she was ‘glad’ of the result. She added: “Justice has been served.”
An ICO spokesperson said: “We will take enforcement action when we feel it is necessary to defend people’s information rights. We note the verdict of the magistrates in this case.”
The two data destruction charges are thought to be the first brought under section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act, although there have been prosecutions under other sections.
Good TDC only instigated the charges out of spite .Absolutely crazy to waste such a lot of money of these silly charges .
I thought it was the Information Commissioner which had instigated these charges?
The Information Commissioner was tipped off by TDC. The Council would no doubt claim that they had to do this but that is debatable. TDC certainly spent a lot of time, effort, and money providing evidence. All to no avail.
Is that your opinion mr Twyman as TDC had previously said they had no part in this affair
Bod – I fear you may have been misinformed. It’s not my opinion. It’s a fact. I was in Court. I appeared as a witness. In the prosecuting barrister’s closing speeches I heard endless references to TDC involvement. I await with interest a statement from TDC’s press office.