Conservatives call for independent investigation into jailed paedophile Derek Osbourne's Kingston Council leadership (From Surrey Comet)
Contact us: Got a photo? Text 'SLPICS' to 80360. Got a story? Call the newsdesk: 020 8744 4244
Conservatives call for independent investigation into jailed paedophile Derek Osbourne's Kingston Council leadership
Conservative leader Howard Jones has called for an independent review into jailed paedophile Derek Osbourne’s leadership of Kingston Council.
The Tory councillor has written an open letter to Kingston Council chief executive Bruce McDonald and leader Liz Green asking for a full investigation into Osbourne’s 10 years at the head of the ruling Liberal Democrat party.
Osbourne, 59, was jailed for two years last week after pleading guilty to downloading and distributing indecent images of children, animals and women being violently or sexually abused, under the online pseudonym Dave Strider.
Coun Green, who succeeded Osbourne as council leader, has repeatedly said both the Lib Dems and the authority have “moved on” since the shocking revelations.
But coun Jones said the council “cannot move forward without first drawing a line on the past”.
In his letter, coun Jones said: “The foundations of public confidence are built on open and frank disclosure of facts.
“We cannot move forward without first drawing a line on the past.
“Consequently, I am requesting that the Chief Executive of Kingston Council and the current Lib Dem leader Liz Green to commission an independent investigation into the ”Derek Osbourne” era of Council leadership.
“This investigation should have cross party involvement and findings should be made available to the public.”
Coun Jones said the review should examine all aspects of Osbourne’s tenure not covered by the police’s own investigation – which found no evidence of his illegal activities during his council work.
The investigation should look at Osbourne’s influence over children’s services managers in the wake of the damaging Ofsted inspections and to what extent he was involved in children’s activities, Coun Jones said.
He also demanded to know whether Osbourne, a keen amateur actor, had steered public funds towards “pet projects” such as the Rose Theatre and performing arts sectors.
Coun Jones said: “The public, especially parents, need to know the extent to which Mr Osbourne steered public funds towards his pet projects and whether he had any involvement in these outside his formal duties as Council Leader?
“Was due diligence followed when the recipients of these grants chosen? Were all those engaged in these activities properly covered by the necessary criminal records checking at the time?”
He added: “The damage caused by these events and Derek Osbourne’s admission of guilt needs to be scrutinised and any wrong doing publicly purged.”
Coun Green has previously dismissed the need for an investigation, telling the Surrey Comet: “Decisions made by the council are made collectively.
“The leader has no individual decision making powers.
“All decisions that have been made are decisions made by committee.
“This has been going on for the best part of six months and we’ve been getting on with the job of serving residents of the borough.
“The council has moved on – Derek is no longer connected to the council, and has not been since his arrest.”