As from today former Vale of Glamorgan Council ‘cabinet’ member Rob Curtis (Labour Gibbonsdown Ward, Barry) – who was convicted of common assault on a 17-year-old girl last year – is being suspended from both the Vale Council and Barry Town Council.
The suspension will last three months, after which the Vale Council has declared that Curtis will be allowed to resume his seat on the council.
The suspension follows the decision of the Adjudication Panel for Wales which has announced that Cllr Curtis has brought his office as a councillor into “disrepute”.
The adjudication follows an incident which took place on a nature reserve on Skomer Island off the Pembrokeshire Coast in 2014 in which Curtis “touched the leg” of a 17-year-old-girl “with whom he was bird-watching in a bird hide “.
At the time the offence was committed, Cllr Curtis was a £30,000 a year member of the so-called ‘cabinet’ of the Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council. At the time he was also Deputy Mayor of Barry . He also had a day-job as an NHS hospital electrician working for the Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust and was – amongst other appointments – a school governor.
In February 2015 Cllr Curtis abruptly stepped down as a member of the Vale ‘cabinet’ claiming it was because of pressure of work . Only later did it emerge that he was due to appear in Haverfordwest Court .
On May 27th 2015 a charge of sexual assault was dropped and Cllr Curtis pleaded guilty to common assault .
In October 2015 the Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust said Cllr Curtis was no longer employed by them.
Cllr Curtis’s conduct was referred to the Ombudsman for Wales – who, on 22 February 2016 referred the matter to the Adjudication Panel for Wales.
The Adjudication Panel’s “Case Tribunal” has now found by “unanimous decision” that Cllr Curtis has “failed to comply with the Vale of Glamorgan Council Code of Conduct and the Barry Town Council”.
The adjudication says “ The Case Tribunal considered all the positive testimonials and evidence provided by Cllr Curtis of his work as a councillor . The Case Tribunal had regard to all the mitigating features of the case including the effect these proceedings have had on Cllr Curtis and his family and the steps he has taken to apologise. However the Case Tribunal considered that in order to uphold public confidence in democratic institutions and maintain proper standards of conduct it was necessary in this case to suspend Cllr Curtis for a period of three months. “
The ruling says “Cllr Curtis should be suspended from acting as a member of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Barry Town Council for a period of 3 months or, if shorter, the remainder of his term of office with effect form the date of this notice”.
However, Cllr Curtis states on his profile page on the Vale Council’s website that he also occupies positions on a number of other public bodies including :-
- Trustee of the Gibbonsdown Children’s Centre
- Vice Chair of the Gibbonsdown Community Centre
- Co-ordinator of Friends of Barry Beaches
- Co-ordinator of Barry Town Council’s Fairtrade status
- Chairman of White Farm Conservation Group
- Trustee of the Colcot Community Centre
- A Governor of Oakfield School.
These public bodies have yet to make any statement on Cllr Curtis.