1. ITV Report

Fraud charges against Caerphilly Council bosses dropped

Chief executive of Caerphilly County Borough Council Michael Anthony O'Sullivan arrives at Bristol Crown Court in January. Credit: PA

Fraud charges against three senior members of staff at Caerphilly Council have been dropped.

The chief executive Anthony O'Sullivan, his deputy Nigel Barnett and the council's head of legal services, Daniel Perkins, were arrested on suspicion of fraud and misconduct in public office and questioned by Avon and Somerset police in 2013.

The three appeared in Bristol Crown Court in January.

Caerphilly County Borough Council deputy chief executive Nigel Barnett (left) arrives at Bristol Crown Court with Daniel Perkins where they appeared alongside chief executive Michael Anthony O'Sullivan to face a single charge of misconduct in a public office between June 25 2012 and October 10 2012. Credit: PA

Today Caerphilly Borough Council told ITV Cymru Wales they had received confirmation that the charges against the three senior officers have been dropped.

The three will remain suspended while the council now deals with matter in accordance with its own procedures.

Many people will be extremely concerned and frustrated about the length of time this process has taken and the costs that have been incurred to date.

There are serious questions to be asked of the CPS about the length of time taken and we will be seeking to recover the salary costs of the suspended officers which are now in excess of £1million.

– Cllr Keith Reynolds, Leader of CCBC
Caerphilly Council workers demonstrated when the chief executive was awarded a pay rise. Credit: ITV News

Caerphilly MP Wayne David said, “I am appalled that it has taken so long for this decision to be arrived at. It is disgraceful that the Judiciary and the Crown Prosecution Service has allowed this case to drag on for so long.

I have previously raised this matter with the CPS and now I intend to raise it in Parliament and seek reimbursement from the Ministry of Justice of the millions which have been spent.

It is outrageous that the failings of the CPS and the criminal justice system have cost a local authority so much money, especially at a time of public expenditure cutbacks.

– Wayne David MP, Caerphilly

The Crown Prosecution Service says the case was dismissed after an application from the defence.

This was a complicated, wide-reaching and lengthy investigation into serious allegations against council employees. The investigation was conducted by Avon and Somerset Constabulary at the request of Gwent Constabulary.

CPS South West’s Complex Casework Unit took the decision to charge the three defendants following extensive consultation with the police. Since that time the prosecution team has pursued the case within the proper judicial process.

– CPS spokesman