Monument to continue as deputy mayor despite assault conviction

Dereham deputy mayor Thomas Monument. Picture: ARCHANT.

Dereham deputy mayor Thomas Monument. Picture: ARCHANT. - Credit: Archant

Dereham Town Council has said that Thomas Monument will remain as the town's deputy mayor despite being found guilty of assaulting a former partner.

A spokesman for the town council said that there is nothing legally preventing Monument from continuing his role as a councillor or as deputy mayor and the council does not have the power to remove him from either of these positions.

They continued: 'As with all other councillors, councillor Monument can remain a councillor until the next ordinary election, and he can remain deputy mayor until the Annual Meeting of the Town Council in May 2018.

'It is then for the council to elect a mayor and deputy mayor for the coming year.'

Under town council rules, it does not have the power to suspend a councillor but if they have done something that in law means they could no longer be a councillor then they would be removed automatically and no decision would need to be made.

The council said that in Monument's case the conviction relates to his personal life rather than public and therefore does not constitute a breach of the town council's code of conduct.

A spokesperson for Breckland Council added: 'In accordance with the Local Government Act, serving councillors found guilty by the court will only be disqualified from continuing in their role if they receive a custodial sentence of more than three months' imprisonment.'

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Monument was convicted on Monday of attacking his ex-girlfriend after their 18 month relationship ended.

During the trial Norwich Magistrates Court heard the victim was punched twice, head butted once and picked up off the floor and 'slammed into the wardrobe' during the attack on September 11.

Monument claimed he was 'terrified for my life' during the incident and acted in self-defence when she attacked him after he ended their relationship.

Breckland Council confirmed that he has been suspended from the district's Conservative Party pending a later decision.

'Part of Breckland Council's core corporate agenda is to tackle domestic abuse and we are working closely with our partners to eliminate this issue,' they said.

'Under UK law, the court decision does not preclude councillor Monument from continuing in his role as a councillor.

'However, William Nunn, Leader of Breckland Council, has taken immediate action and suspended this councillor pending a Conservative Group decision.'