City councillor reported to ethics watchdog

David Walker. Picture: TSPL

David Walker. Picture: TSPL

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A CITY councillor who wrote a court reference for a man convicted of “an act of barbaric torture” then publicly challenged rivals to report him to the Standards Commission is set to have his wish granted.

Cllr David Walker stunned City Chambers by brushing off criticism of his legal support for a long-time constituent convicted of brutally assaulting a man by saying he would welcome a full probe into his controversial decision. The bizarre rant came days after he hit the headlines for requesting a non-custodial sentence for former security boss John Lindsay, 52, who was jailed for attacking a man by pouring boiling water over his groin and setting dogs on him.

Iain McGill. Picture: TSPL

Iain McGill. Picture: TSPL

It is understood a dutiful citizen has now answered Cllr Walker’s call with a complaint set to be registered with the watchdog today.
Addressing the chamber last Thursday, Cllr Walker, who represents Portobello/Craigmillar, said he had not been made aware of the “level of violence” meted out in the attack and refused to apologise for writing his letter of support on council-headed paper.

He said: “If any member of this chamber thinks I acted inappropriately then they have the right to report me to the Standards Commission and perhaps allow them to make a judgement.”

The News understands Cllr Walker’s wish has now been granted with the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland set to receive a complaint today.

It was sent by Edinburgh businessman Iain McGill, who claims the councillor made a “provocative apology” and breached guidelines by writing the mitigation plea using city council notepaper.

Mr McGill said: “Cllr David Walker wrote to Lord Turnbull on council stationery asking that someone 
be spared jail for what, in the judges’ words, was ‘an act of barbaric torture over a prolonged period’. What troubled the judge and myself ‘is the way in which this individual does so in his public capacity’. In his provocative ‘apology’ at council on December 12, he invited concerned citizens to refer his actions to yourselves – I am happy to do that.”

Lindsay was remanded in jail pending sentencing. His former security firm, JSL Services Ltd, secured more than £100,000 of council contracts between 2009 and 2011.

Cllr Walker was unavailable for comment.

WAITING IN THE WINGS

The Commissioner for Ethical Standards is the independent watchdog responsible for investigating complaints about the conduct of MSPs, local councillors and members of public bodies in Scotland.

The Commissioner decides if there has been a breach of the code of conduct.

If so, the case is referred to the Standards Commission which has the power to impose a sanction of censure, suspension or disqualification.